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Wizards make it official with G-League team for 2018-19 season

Wizards make it official with G-League team for 2018-19 season

The Wizards have officially purchased their own second division team in what is now called the G-League, and it'll be made official later today by the NBA, according to league sources to CSNmidatlantic.com.

The team, which has yet to be named, will begin play in 2018-19 and the Wizards' new practice facility that will open in Ward 8 in southeast.

This will raise the number of NBA teams with their own affiliates or one-to-one-relationships to 27.  It was formerly known as the D-League, short for Developmental, until Gatorade became the primary sponsor going into 2017-18. 

It'll be a major hurdle cleared for the Wizards, who haven't been able to get the full benefit from their younger players absent their own developmental team. Instead, they were using the flex assignment system. Sheldon Mac went to the Delaware 87ers, run by the Philadelphia 76ers, on several occasion as rookie last season. Chris McCullough was sent to the Northern Arizona Suns (Phoenix Suns).

The benefit to the Wizards is obvious: They'd have their own coaches and staff teaching their players their system and it'll be easier to evaluate their progress when it's a quick drive from Chinatown rather than taking flights to harder-to-reach areas such Fort Wayne, Ind.

[RELATED: CSN to broadcast Wizards' summer league games]

With the Wizards set to pick at No. 52 in Thurday's draft, that'll likely be a player who'll need development -- not a rotation player -- which has been a major focus under Scott Brooks who completed his first year as coach in Washington. Mac, Daniel Ochefu and Danuel House were undrafted rookie free agents who had difficulty getting on the court.

Even Tomas Satoransky, who had four years pro experience in Spain, went through long stretches on the bench and could've benefitted from playing time in a second division to work on his jump shot. As the 82-game NBA season drags on, practice time lessens because of the schedule.

The team comes at a time when development is taking on heightened importance around the league. In the 2017 collective bargaining agreement, two-way contracts are a new wrinkle that will allow NBA rosters to grow from 15 to 17 players. 

It'll pay those designated two-way players more which should make staying in the U.S. more likely rather than going overseas. The carrot dangled is the chance to move up and have that two-way contract converted to a full NBA deal. 

Of course, to do this a G-League team is required and the Wizards will have that base covered after one more season of going without. 

[RELATED: Wall on Paul George: 'He would be a great piece for us']

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Wizards coach Scott Brooks issues strong defense of John Wall after win over Clippers

Wizards coach Scott Brooks issues strong defense of John Wall after win over Clippers

After his team showed resilience in erasing a 24-point lead to beat the L.A. Clippers on Tuesday night, head coach Scott Brooks swept aside an opportunity to fire back at critics of himself and his team following a barrage of negative headlines in recent days.

Brooks did, however, take the time to address one particular angle of the whole mess. He issued a passionate defense of his star point guard, John Wall, who has been at the center of the controversies surrounding the organization.

Brooks and Wall had an altercation last week during practice that led to Wall receiving a fine from the team. Brooks spoke at length about the incident itself at shootaround. After Tuesday's win, he honed in on a specific criticism of Wall, that he is out of shape and not giving an honest effort on the floor.

"John, he's been taking hits. Let's face it," Brooks said. "You hear all the reports that he's heavy. The guy has seven percent body fat..."

"He's in great shape. I like the way he plays. He plays hard."

Brooks went on to point out how Wall hasn't been playing at 100 percent for much of this season. Wall has dealt with a deep thigh bruise and it's partly to explain for the Wizards' 6-11 start.

The overall numbers look about how they should for Wall.

He's averaging 21.5 points, 7.9 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.2 blocks while shooting 44.4 percent from the field. But his defense has been lacking and he's not getting the assists he usually collects because he hasn't had the same burst in transition.

Playing through injuries is always tricky for professional athletes. When people know they're hurt, that effort is often appreciated. But when the injuries aren't disclosed, fans and members of the media can only draw conclusions based on what they see.

Brooks explained in detail why he thinks Wall should be cut some slack for his start to the season.

"He's a warrior. There's a lot of guys that I've seen in my playing career that they love to sit out. They're just talented and they've got talented contracts. They sit out and you can't do anything about it. You admire and you appreciate and you celebrate the guys that play hard. You don't have to tell the world that he's banged up," Brooks said.

"He didn't say one word and I wasn't gonna say it. It's over. He's feeling great. He's fought. He's not gonna tell the world 'look at me, I'm sore.' He doesn't want your sympathy. He just fights and he plays the right way. He plays hard."

Brooks is clearly trying to stick up for his star player and change the current media narrative.

As long as the Wizards win, that shouldn't be hard to do.

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Emotional John Wall opens up about trade rumors, coming arrival of son after comeback win

Emotional John Wall opens up about trade rumors, coming arrival of son after comeback win

The subject of trade rumors and reports of in-fighting at Wizards practice over the past few days, John Wall proved his worth to the Wizards on the court Tuesday night. 

Washington trailed the Clippers by as many as 24 points, but Wall helped orchestrate a furious comeback which concluded in a 125-118 Washington win. Wall led all scorers with 30 points and dished out eight assists. 

After the game, Wall opened up to NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller about the cloud of controversy which has surrounded the Wizards this week, as well as a far more serious matter in his personal life: he's gonna be a dad soon!

"It's amazing, man. All the heart and effort and drive I've had for this organization, this team, to hear certain things like being traded, I try to stay focused," he told Miller. "Focused on getting ready to have my new son, trying to turn this organization around, this franchise around and win some games."

"All it is is go out there and compete, dog. All of us go out here and compete, that's one thing I always did since day one is give everything I got. And to hear those type of things, it's kind of funny. It's frustrating at the same time, but I've been through worse things. I just stand over top of all that."

And as his coach, Scott Brooks, has been preaching over the last few weeks, Wall believes the only way the Wizards turn around their season is if they show one thing: effort. 

"It's just about effort, man. Effort and heart," he said. "I've been preaching that since I've been here from day one, and in the second half we gave a lot of effort and heart. That's why we came back and fought hard, and got a great win that we needed."

"In the first half, we didn't play with no energy, no sense of urgency, and they beat the brakes off of us. We got to find a way to dig deep, and we made some big shots and got some big stops."

"It's not where we want to be, it's not where we started. Dealing with injuries, dealing with those type of things, you make no excuses. Whoever step between these lines, you go out there and compete, and that's all I ask for the14 guys, including myself, is to go play hard.

It's far too early to declare it as such, but if the Wizards can build off of Tuesday's performance, it may very well be looked at as the night Wall and Washington turned their season around. 

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