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Wizards' perimeter defense compromises Marcin Gortat at rim

Wizards' perimeter defense compromises Marcin Gortat at rim

The record is broken. It's a different day -- Saturday to be exact -- and the same old problems for the Wizards. They can't defend the perimeter properly, they know it and the latest proof comes in the form of a 114-111 loss to one of the worst offenses in the NBA. 

"We're not on the same page defensively at all," said Beal, who had 34 points on 12-for-26 shooting and playing 40 minutes vs. the Miami Heat. "We can't just guard our guys individually, just keep them in front of us. We got to work with that first. I think we rely too much on our help. We're putting too much pressure on our other teammates when we're just letting our guy go by us. We're just not having that effort or we're slow on some of the rotations."

This is exactly what Marcin Gortat said two years ago, which drew the ire of then-teammate Paul Pierce, about them compromising the frontline by allowing too much pentration into the lane.

That was then, after a 38-point loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015:

You just got to man up and play defense. Each one of us needs to step in and play one-on-one defense. Simple as that. Just stop your guy in front of you. That’s it. You can’t rely constantly on help, and help, and help, and stuff like that. You just got to man up and play defense, and do whatever it takes to win your matchup.

This is now, with teammates echoing Gortat's concerns:

Miami, 3-8 entering the game, was the NBA's 22nd-ranked three-point shooting team at 33.6% but went 13-for-27 to finish at 48.1% vs. the Wizards. They made 43 of 85 shots overall for 50.6% and scored 19 points more than they averaged per game this season (94.5) which was third-worst. 

"They were beating us off the dribble, straight-line drives and they were getting offensive rebounds," said Wizards coach Scott Brooks, whose team gave up 18, including nine alone to Hassan Whiteside. "Then we were scrambling and they were getting open threes. We have to be better defensively. We've talked about this many times. It's a process that we're going through and we have to figure out together. But we're getting beat off the dribble."

[RELATED: Film study: Marcin Gortat responsible for Dwight Howard's outburst ... fact or fiction?]

The Wizards led 42-35 midway through the second quarter and then Miami went on a run that included five layups to take the lead 60-59 entering the half. 

"A lot of the times we're switching and still getting beat," Brooks said of the pick-and-roll defense as Goran Dragic (22 points), Dion Waiters (16) and Josh Richardson (15) took advantage. "That's usually the safeguarrd, to just get out of the coverage, man up and guard your man. Dragic was doing that. Waiters was doing that. Richardson was doing that. They were just attacking us. ... When you give up layups, all of a sudden the basket becomes big and you're a three-point shooter and that's what happened tonight. They had guys who normally don't make threes, make threes."

John Wall also had 34 points for Washington, but his focus was what they didn't right on the defensive side of the ball.

"Those basically were workout shots. There was nobody there to contest them," Wall said of the perimeter defense. "Our scoring wasn't the problem for us. We couldn't keep them from getting to the paint. Coach told us before the game they're one of the best teams in the league getting to the paint. They did a great job of spacing the floor and making wide open shots."

Derrick Williams, who shot 14% from three coming into the game, was 2-for-4 (50%). Richardson was shooting 31.3% and shot 4-for-6 (66.7%).

"We could've battled a little bit better," Wall said of being outrebounded 48-38. "March did a great job, still having 16 rebounds. You give him credit for that because he was helping sometimes on the drives. He was just there by himself getting rebounds, getting putbacks."

[RELATED: Takeaways from Wizards' blown chances in loss to Heat]

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Wizards waive three, sign 2017 first-rounder Anzejs Pasecniks

Wizards waive three, sign 2017 first-rounder Anzejs Pasecniks

As the NBA regular season approaches, the Washington Wizards seek to finalize their roster.

The Wizards announced on Wednesday that they have waived Phil Booth, Justin Anderson and Jemerrio Jones. The team also signed 2017 first-rounder Anzejs Pasecniks and small forward Jalen Jones, the team announced.

Pasecniks and Jones were signed to Exhibit 10 contracts, meaning that if they are waived, they will have the opportunity to play for the Go-Go, the Wizards' G-League affiliate. Booth was on an Exhibit 10 deal, so he will report to the Go-Go after being waived.

Pasecniks, a 7-foot center from Latvia, was the 25th overall selection from the 2017 draft. The Orlando Magic drafted him and moved him to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for draft picks. The 76ers renounced his rights in June.

Pasecniks played on the Wizards summer league team, averaging 4.0 points and 5.3 rebounds. Jalen Jones has averaged 4.8 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting 37 percent from beyond the arc in 32 games over two seasons with three teams.


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John Wall embracing role as assistant coach during injury rehab

John Wall embracing role as assistant coach during injury rehab

WASHINGTON -- John Wall has already made enough money during his basketball career to last a lifetime and his new supermax contract worth $170 million is just kicking in. When he is done playing in the NBA, he doesn't have to do anything at all if he doesn't want to.

But there is at least a small part of Wall that believes coaching could be in his future. He loves the game enough to not rule out the possibility.

This year will give him a taste of what being a coach is all about. While he rehabs his ruptured left Achilles, he will serve as an unofficial assistant to head coach Scott Brooks. Wall will be asked to break down film with players, advise on plays to run and help the team's young point guards in practice.

Wall isn't sure as of today whether he wants to coach when his playing days are over. But he may have an answer in just a few months.

"I think this year will tell me whether I can be a coach or not," Wall told NBC Sports Washington on the Wizards Talk podcast. 

"I think you have to have a lot of patience and you've gotta know how to interact with every player. Every player's attitudes and character and mood swings are totally different. I learned from when a coach tried to coach me when I was young and I wasn't the guy to coach."

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard envisions Wall as an important part of the locker room, even when he isn't playing. Part of his role may include some tough conversations with players. As Sheppard says, Wall may be able to deliver some messages that resonate more from a peer than if they came from a coach. 

Wall knows he can help in that regard. He has long been a vocal presence for the Wizards and had to assume the role as a team leader at an early age. After coming in as the No. 1 overall pick, he was a franchise player from the time he was 19 years old.

Wall's personality may also lend itself to those duties. He is very honest, whether it be with teammates or the media. 

"I like to speak my mind," he said. "It's like my momma always told me, 'I'd rather you speak your mind and say what you want to say, but say it in a respectful manner and a respectful way.'"

Wall, in fact, has a detailed philosophy on being honest. He doesn't like to lie whether it's in a media setting, to teammates or in everyday life.

It's not quite a Jim Carrey in 'Liar, Liar' deal, but Wall sees no point in beating around the bush. If he has something to say to a teammate or the media, he will say it.

"I don't know how to not give you the truth," he said. "What I've learned is that when you lie, you've gotta remember that lie exactly the way you said it for the next 12 people you tell it to. So, why make it that tough?"

Wall is set to miss at least the first few months of the Wizards' 2019-20 season and he could be sidelined the entire year. He said he hopes to have a similar impact that Kristi Tolliver did with the Mystics this past season where she remained active as a veteran leader in the locker room despite not being able to help the team on the floor for weeks due to a knee injury.

Missing so much time due to injury is not the ideal situation for Wall, but he plans to make the most of it.

"It will make my game a lot smarter and better for when I come back," he said.