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With Wizards' playoff seed official, should their starters play or rest?

With Wizards' playoff seed official, should their starters play or rest?

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- To rest and prepare for the playoffs or go for their first 50-win season in four decades will be answered soon by Wizards coach Scott Brooks, who will hold shootaround Monday morning at The Palace.

The Wizards (48-32) are locked into the fourth spot in the East with nothing to play for but the benchmark which could go alongside their first division title in 38 years. It'll be the Detroit Pistons final game at the venue which they've played at since the 1988-89 season.

But the bigger issue for the Wizards isn't rest. It's playing well. They've played badly as soon as they ended their weeklong All-Star vacation, losing to the Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz in abysmmal performances.

That supposedly was because of too much rest.

Then when the Wizards began a five-game road trip 4-0, they lost four of their next five. 

That allegedly was because of fatigue. 

"It's very rare in my opinion," Brooks said recently of the need to rest otherwise healthy players in an 82-game seson. "You're talking basketball. It's 32 minutes a night. This is not hard work. This is fun. Rest? To me, rest is a good night's sleep."

Brooks has a difficult decision because while it won't hurt to allow John Wall and Bradley Beal, among others, to get a breather then they're out of step with the other starters.

There will be a few days between the end of the regular season and the start of the first round of the playoffs where Brooks can squeeze in practices. He has been lenient with his team in the second half of the season and has cut practice time to compensate for the road trips and back-to-back sets at the end. 

"The rest thing, it's blown out of proportion in my opinion," Brooks said. "You're talking about a game that we love. We do it every day in the summer. These players play every day in the summer for two hours. Some of them go back at night and play another hour-and-a-half working on their game individually. So the rest, I get it certain cases. If you're banged up and your body needs to recuperate and get healthy, absolutely. We have to do that. To me if you're just resting as a badge of honor I don't kow if that's the right thing to do."

Otto Porter (back spasms) and Markieff Morris (ankle) have sat, but Wall and Beal haven't been healthier this late in a season in their careers. Marcin Gortat, at 32 the oldest on the roster, had been logging heavy minutes but has recently seen his court time decrease to about 23 minutes in his last 15 appearances.

It would be surprising to see Wall and Beal play much more than 30 minutes, but these are games where Brooks might feel more comfortable in experimenting with new combinations or tweaks in the play-calling for the postseason run. He can do both: Cut their minutes but fine-tune his key players while getting role players more work. 

What's the good of resting starters for the playoffs if they return to play with the same disconnect that they've shown at times on the offensive end and repeatedly on the defensive end?

Brooks has his team's pulse better than anyone. He sees things and knows things about them that no one else will. If he thinks his starters need to play, it's rather arrogant to suggest from the armchairs across America that he's wrong.

The Golden State Warriors didn't lose the NBA title last year because they went for 73 wins. They lost because they were undisciplined with a 3-1 series lead, Steph Curry threw a brainless behind-the-back pass at the end of Game 7 that went out of bounds and before that Draymond Green got suspended for stupid after kicking LeBron James. Only when they lost came the convenient narrative that they ran out of gas going for the single-season wins record.

Given how many things Brooks has gotten right in what's a 48-win season thus far, a height that no one projected before the season began, he has earned that benefit of the doubt. And if they want to go for 50, so be it.

If the Wizards lose a series, it's going to be because the other team was better. It won't be because they didn't take off tonight vs. Detroit and Wednesday in Miami.  

[RELATED: Whiteside accidentally earned Gortat career milestone]

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Wizards working out Kentucky's Hamidou Diallo another sign the two sides might be a good fit

Wizards working out Kentucky's Hamidou Diallo another sign the two sides might be a good fit

The University of Kentucky was well-represented at the Wizards' first pre-draft workout on Tuesday at Capital One Arena, as All-Star point guard John Wall sat courtside to watch a young player who could join him next season in Washington.

The Wizards hosted Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo just days after interviewing him at the NBA Combine in Chicago, Ill., another sign the 19-year-old is a legitimate option for their second round pick, set for 44th overall in next month's draft.

Diallo, who is originally from Queens, NY., said he is friends with Wall, as the two have crossed paths due to the Kentucky connection. 

"I feel like he knows what I'm capable of," Diallo said.

He now hopes the Wizards front office understands what he can do. Diallo is a defensive-minded wing who measured 6-foot-6 (with shoes) at the combine and with a 7-foot wingspan. He had the fifth-best max vertical leap at the combine, coming in at 40.5 inches. He was also the 12th-ranked player in the class of 2017 out of high school.

The measurables and pedigree are impressive, but Diallo's potential has yet to be realized. He didn't play a game despite attending Kentucky in the 2016-17 academic year. He tested the NBA Draft waters last summer before returning to Kentucky to average a modest 10.0 points and 3.6 rebounds.

Diallo has already worked out for the Chicago Bulls and will meet with plenty more teams, but is currently projected by most mock drafts to be a second round pick. This time he hired an agent and will definitely be making the leap.

"It feels good this year going through it with both feet in. It's been a great process," he said.

The Wizards like Diallo's defensive ability, his speed and awareness in the open floor and his potential to improve as a shooter. Diallo shot 33.8 percent from three on 2.1 attempts per game in the 2017-18 season.

"I hope to show my athleticism and how that plays a big part on the defensive end," Diallo said of his goals in pre-draft workouts.

"[The Wizards] are a team that wants to play fast and they have a fast point guard that needs players to keep up with him. That's what I tried to show in this workout, to show how fast I can play and show how composed I can play."

If the Wizards deem Diallo worth taking a chance on, he would provide a nice fit positionally. Though their second round pick could spend much of next season in the G-League, Diallo plays shooting guard and they have a need behind starter Bradley Beal. 

The Wizards see Tomas Satoransky as a possibility at backup shooting guard and Jodie Meeks is expected to return next season on a player option. But those guys were on the roster in 2017-18 and couldn't fill the void behind Beal, who logged more minutes than all but three players in the league. Meeks is also set to begin the 2018-19 season serving a suspension.

Diallo played at a big-time program and has the athleticism to compete at the NBA level early on. He could help a team improve long-term at guarding the perimeter, an area the Wizards have made strides in but still have a ways to go. That was seen in their playoff series against the Raptors when Toronto averaged 11.0 threes made per game and shot 41 percent.

Though it's early in the draft workout process, the Wizards have made it clear they are interested in Diallo.

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout to feature possible first-round pick, NCAA star

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout to feature possible first-round pick, NCAA star

The Wizards will have some recognizable names at their second pre-draft workout on Wednesday including potential first round pick Aaron Holiday of UCLA, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Here is the list with some notes on each player...

Aaron Holiday, guard, UCLA (6-1, 185)

The brother of two NBA players (Jrue and Justin), Holiday played three years at UCLA and averaged 20.3 points, 5.8 assists and 1.3 steals as a junior. He also shot 42.9 percent from three on 6.2 attempts per game. He registered a 6-8 wingspan at the NBA Combine.

Potential fit with Wizards: possible first round pick, likely won't be there in second round; would solidify backup point guard position

Devonte' Graham, guard, Kansas (6-2, 175)

The Big 12 player of the year, Graham averaged 17.3 points and 7.2 assists as a senior. He posted a 6-6 wingspan at the combine. His uncle played for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1990s.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; would provide backup point guard depth

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, forward, Kansas (6-8, 195)

A big-time three-point shooter, Mykhailiuk shot 44.4 percent from three on 6.6 attempts per game as a senior. He averaged 14.6 points and 3.9 rebounds.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; could be a three-point threat off the bench

Moritz Wagner, center, Michigan (6-11, 241)

Originally from Germany, Wagner was a standout in the NCAA Tournament as the Wolverines went all the way to the final. He averaged 14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.0 steals as a junior. He also shot 39.4 percent from three and measured at nearly 7-feet in shoes at the NBA Combine.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; could develop into a capable stretch-five

Johnathan Williams, forward, Gonzaga (6-9, 225)

Williams began his career at Missouri before transferring. He averaged 13.4 points and 8.5 rebounds as a senior. 

Potential fit with Wizards: undrafted free agent; possible G-League forward

Zach Thomas, SF, Bucknell (6-7, 228)

Thomas was the Patriot League player of the year with averages of 20.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game as a senior. He shot 40 percent from three for his college career.

Potential fit with Wizards: undrafted free agent; possible G-League forward

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