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Wizards players, Brooks and Van Gundy remember Craig Sager

Wizards players, Brooks and Van Gundy remember Craig Sager

The passing of legendary broadcaster Craig Sager on Thursday brought condolences from all across the game of basketball. His death affected many in the NBA, including members of the Wizards. Here are reactions from Wizards players, head coach Scott Brooks and Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy, as expressed on Friday:

SCOTT BROOKS

"He will definitely be missed. When he has those short moments with you, he makes you feel like you guys are best friends. I thought I was one of his best friends, but as I'm reading and listening to all the people talk about him the last couple days, he's had a lot of best friends. He's had an impact not only in the job that he does, but also in how he did it. He's had an impact with me and the coaching world and players and my kids when they were a lot younger. They used to always say 'who's the crazy guy with the crazy suits?' He definitely will be missed, but what an impact around the league.

"You always only had a few minutes either during a game, before or after, but he always made you feel like you knew each other for a long time. I think when you look back you always think about people how they treat not only you, but how they treat people around you. He was always very friendly to everyone that I introduced him to.

"I think we're going to all take a lot from [his fight against cancer], his positive attitude going through some tough times and being there and being strong for his family. That's inspiring. Hopefully his life is going to help somebody find a cure for cancer. What he's done with his time is a lot more than what people have done with more time. It's pretty powerful to say that about a man's life."

STAN VAN GUNDY

"It's sad. I think Craig taught us all a lot of lessons, even before he got sick. Just in the way he approached everything. He had fun and understood what it was all about, this whole experience of living. Even more so when he got sick. His whole approach. He was more positive with that going on than I am with the basic ups and downs. You have to be impressed with the way he lived his life and hopefully you learn something from it."

OTTO PORTER

"I remember as a little kid getting to watch him on the Christmas games and he was in the crazy suits. Just his overall demeanor and how great of a person he was to everybody. He treated everybody with love and respect. For the players and coaching staff to show love back, that doesn't come around often."

MARCIN GORTAT

"Craig was a legendary icon in this league. I've been in this league 10 years and I've seen him since Day 1. He had an incredible impact on people. He was an incredible personality. The way he dressed, the way he talked and the way he kept cool about all those comments people made about how he dressed, he was just a tremendous person."

TREY BURKE

"You could just tell he had spirit and that he was content with his job and that he took it very seriously. I think we can all look at him as an example, how he came to his job every day and never changed. He always sounded the same and was very energetic about what he did."

BRADLEY BEAL

"He's meant a lot to so many people. He kind of changed the game for us. What he did, his character and the guy he was, that was a reflection of how everybody should live. He was a strong guy with strong beliefs and a very unselfish person. We definitely lost a good one yesterday."

MARCUS THORNTON

"[His fight] was very inspirational, especially to me because my mom had cancer, too. It was a different cancer than he had, but they went through similar things. To see him battle, he was a true soldier."

[RELATED: BEAL HITS 500TH THREE, ONE OF 3 WIZARDS TO REACH MARK]

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Why (and how) your NBA Cares Community Assist Award vote should go to Bradley Beal

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Why (and how) your NBA Cares Community Assist Award vote should go to Bradley Beal

Voting has officially begun for the season-long NBA Community Assist Award, and Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal is a finalist. 

Chosen by fans and an NBA executive panel, the award honors a player’s strong commitment to positively impacting his community through sustained efforts over the course of the season.

In December, Beal visited Ron Brown College Preparatory High school in D.C. to give away two pairs of shoes to every member of the JV and varsity basketball teams.

It didn't stop there. Beal took his role as a mentor to the next level by checking in with the kids multiple times a month to make sure they are on the right track in both athletics and their academic studies.

Later on in February, Beal invited 10 students from RBHS on a private tour of the National African-American History and Culture Museum.

The seven-year NBA veteran also made a point to donate game tickets to community groups and toys to the Salvation Army during the holiday season. 

Here's some key information about the voting process: 

  1. Voting begins: Wednesday, April 24th at 12:01 p.m.
  2. Voting ends: Sunday, May 5th at 11:59 p.m.
  3. How does voting work? Through the above date range, every tweet posted using both of the hashtags #BradleyBeal and #NBACommunityAssist counts as one vote.
  4. Retweets of tweets using the above hashtags also count as one vote

This all comes following another All-Star season that saw the 25-year-old finish with career-highs in points (25.6), rebounds (5.0), and assists (5.5). He played in all 82 regular-season games. 

The winning player will receive $25,000 to their charity of choice, a donation from the NBA and Kaiser Permanente.

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The next Damian Lillard will be drafted this June, Ja Morant

The next Damian Lillard will be drafted this June, Ja Morant

On Tuesday night, Portland guard Damian Lillard broke #NBATwitter with his 37-foot, series-clinching buzzer-beater against Oklahoma City. 

It's not the first time we've seen him do that, but it's by far the biggest impact his play has had on the NBA world to this point.

Fair or not, Lillard's image has always been the overlooked underdog.  Even after being named All-NBA First Team last season, it's rare you hear his name mentioned among the NBA's most popular players. 

That attitude is what fuels the Portland Trail Blazers though. It's what the entire roster uses as motivation every game. It's a mindset every team in the NBA should be emulating too, and it starts with their star. 

If you're an organization in the middle of a rebuild, you should be looking no further than Ja Morant if you want this same organizational mindset going forward.

Ja Morant is the next Dame Lillard.

Ja Morant is going to be a star. 

The Wizards are one of those teams, and with the NBA Draft Lottery coming May 14, if the ping pong balls land in their favor, Morant needs to be their pick at No. 2 in the NBA Draft.

Don't worry about any other point guards on the roster and what that means. Don't pass on Morant.

Obviously, No. 1 would mean Zion Williamson, and anything past No. 2 means both are probably off the board, so we'll stick with that No. 2 pick in this case.

Both Lillard and Morant come from small schools in Weber State and Murray State, respectively. Both were under-recruited with Lillard being just a two-star and Morant not even being ranked by recruiting services ESPN, 247Sports, or Rivals.

Lillard was the better three-point shooter coming out of college, but Morant still has range, and can jump out of the gym.

Neither has a ton of size (Lillard 6-2, 185 lbs., and Morant 6-3, 175), but both aren't scared of the spotlight, and step on the court ready to eat the other team alive.

In a star-driven league based so much around player's brands and recognizability, there's something to be said for the guys that have the talent, but haven't been given the stage to show it yet. You get that combination of "chip on their shoulder" mentality with the star potential and work ethic biggy backing it. 

One of the best movie lines ever spoken was in Remember the Titans when Julius tells Gerry "attitude reflects leadership", and it's a mantra any successful team, business, volunteer group, club, or literally any collection of people should follow. 

If you want the right attitude in your locker room, you want leaders that can create it. 

Morant and Lillard share that same leadership, and the results are there to prove it. 

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