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Wizards impressed by longevity of Bucks' Jason Terry

Wizards impressed by longevity of Bucks' Jason Terry

With an average player age of 25.5 years old, the Milwaukee Bucks are the seventh-youngest team in the NBA and that is despite featuring guard Jason Terry, who at 39 years and 85 days old is the third-oldest active player in the league. Only Vince Carter (39 years, 318 days) and Manu Ginobli (39 years, 134 days) are older.

Terry made his professional debut in 1999, just one year after Wizards head coach Scott Brooks, 51, played his final NBA game as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now 18 NBA seasons later, Terry is still logging 17.4 minutes a night for the 11-10 Bucks, who visit the Wizards on Saturday night (6:30 p.m. on CSN).

"For being a smaller guard, that's really incredible. That guy, his career should be celebrated," Brooks said.

"That's amazing. That's amazing to see a guy like that in this league still getting after it. He's an O.G.-vet," 23-year-old forward Otto Porter said.

"He's an OG, man. All the respect to him," 21-year-old forward Kelly Oubre, Jr. said. "J.R. [Smith] showed his respect when he was in the game and he went to go shake his hand. Everybody likes to show respect to the guys who have been doing it in this league longer than us. So, it's nothing but love over here."

Oubre was referring to Smith's infamous lapse in focus in a November game against the Cavaliers when he allowed an easy basket because he was out of bounds embracing Terry on the Bucks' bench. The Wizards won't go that far to show their respect for Terry, but they are impressed with the longevity he has created for himself in the NBA.

"It's a testament of his commitment to prepare every day," Brooks said. "It doesn't happen just because a player wants to stay in this league for a long time. You have to prepare every single day. Every day is a work day. Knowing players that played with him and coaches that coached him, he does his job every day. It's a full-time job to be an NBA player. You just don't practice for an hour-and-a-half. You have to get in early, you have to stay after. You have to upkeep your body and put good stuff in your body. You have to train all summer long."

John Wall, 26, says he has learned a lot about maintaing his body through his seven NBA seasons. The process has changed since he was a rookie back in 2010.

"Massages, sleep and eat healthy. It's all the little things," Wall explained. "You have to change your diet as you start to get older because the stuff you can eat when you're young you can't when you're older because it takes a longer time to lose weight and get it off of you."

Wall and his teammates would like to stick around as long as Terry has. But they know it's not easy to do.

"I'm pretty sure everybody would love to be in the league that long, but only a few have the opportunity," Porter said.


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Potential coaching staff changes rocket into discussion for Wizards

Potential coaching staff changes rocket into discussion for Wizards

We can begin free agent watch with the Washington Wizards way before July 1.

This isn’t about players. Coaching changes can happen whenever.

News broke Saturday out of Houston that the Rockets would not retain associate head coach Jeff Bzdelik. Considered one of the league’s top defensive minds, Bzdelik’s relationship with Scott Brooks along with comments made by the Wizards head coach at the NBA Combine makes this transaction interesting.

Bzdelik, 66, gave Brooks his first NBA coaching job when the then Denver Nuggets head coach hired the former player in 2003.

"I'm thankful for coach Bzdelik," Brooks told the Houston Chronicle in 2016.  "He gave me my first NBA coaching start. One of the best coaches I've ever been around. He has great understanding of the game, both ends of the floor.”

Fast forward to Thursday inside Chicago’s Quest Multisport facility. Amid 5-on-5 games involving 2019 draft prospects, players holding court with media members and the general convention vibe that comes with the NBA Combine, Brooks spent a few minutes chatting with reporters.

Among the non-draft or general manager search topics, whether any changes to the coaching staff were forthcoming.

"I’ve talked to Ted. I definitely talked Ted,” Brooks began his reply, referencing Wizards owner Ted Leonsis. “I have a lot of respect for our organization. I have to get better, first and foremost…Will the staff remain the same? Every year, staffs change. Every year staffs change. We're probably going to make some changes. I don't know if it's for sure. Everything is still up in the air.”

Brooks also noted change could come from members of his staff seeking opportunities elsewhere. Tony Brown, Brooks’ lead assistant during his three seasons with the Wizards, became a coaching free agent following Washington’s 32-50 season, according to NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller.

Two days after Brooks’ comments came news of Bzdelik’s exit in Houston.

Bzdelik, a former Bullets assistant from 1988-94 and three-time college head coach, retired following the 2017-18 season. He returned to the Rockets in November following Houston’s slow start. The associate head coach is credited with guiding the team’s defensive improvement as the Rockets rose up the Western Conference standings.

The Houston Chronicle reported Bzdelik, whose contract expired after this season, remained uncommitted to returning. The Rockets announced Saturday they would not renew his deal.

The Wizards do not want a repeat of their defensive struggles. Only the Atlanta Hawks allowed more points per game than the 116.9 Washington surrendered last season. The Wizards ranked 28th in opponent field goal percentage (48.0) and 27th in 3-point shooting percentage (37.0).

It’s unclear how the Wizards fix those defensive concerns based solely on personnel. The current roster with five healthy players does not include any forwards or mobile big men. Point guard John Wall is expected to miss the majority of the upcoming season following February’s surgery for a ruptured Achilles. Wall, an erratic defensive presence in recent seasons, was previously selected to the NBA’s all-defensive team in 2015.

Coaching strategies could become the primary driver of change on the defensive end. The man who brought Brooks into the coaching fraternity would make for an obvious addition if both sides are interested.

"The accountability that [Jeff] taught me with the coaching staff and the players is second to none,” Brooks told the Chronicle in 2016. “I learned about work. I learned how to transfer my playing career into a coaching career with his help."

News of the next front office leader likely comes before coaching staff tweaks.

Nuggets President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly was offered the same position with the Wizards Saturday after Denver granted Washington permission to meet. In the interim, the Wizards sent a contingent of scouting personnel along with Brooks to Chicago as the team conducted player interviews and watched scrimmages.

“Ted is going to make a decision and I trust that I going to be the best for the program moving forward,” Brooks said Thursday. “As of right now, (interim GM Tommy Sheppard) is doing a great job leading the group. We all feel comfortable with what’s going on. Hopefully, things work out and we move forward as an organization. We all have to get better, myself included.”


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Five things to know about Wizards general manager search candidate Tim Connelly

Five things to know about Wizards general manager search candidate Tim Connelly

The Washington Wizards have reportedly offered their vacant general manager position to Tim Connelly. The news was first reported by the Athletic.

Here are five things to know about him...

1. Connelly is a Baltimore native who transferred to Catholic University in D.C. during his junior year in college, graduating from there in 1999. 

2. Connelly began his NBA front office career with the Wizards, starting as an intern in 1996. He spent a decade with the organization, holding such roles as assistant video coordinator, head scout, and director of player personnel. 

3. After leaving the Wizards, Connelly spent three seasons serving as the assistant general manager of the New Orleans Pelicans. 

4. Connelly joined the Nuggets organization in 2013 as the executive vice president of basketball operations. He was promoted to President of Basketball Operations in 2017. Connelly has been part of a Denver front office that has drafted the likes of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Gary Harris over the last five years. 

5. Connelly has six siblings, including four brothers: Joe, Pat, Dan and Kevin. All four of them have also worked in basketball in some capacity, Joe, Pat, and Dan all following Tim into the NBA ranks.