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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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Jeff Green 'would love to come back' to Wizards, add stability to journeyman career


Jeff Green 'would love to come back' to Wizards, add stability to journeyman career

With six different teams in the past five years, Jeff Green has become one of the NBA's most itinerant journeymen.

Including his early-career move from Seattle to Oklahoma City, when the franchise transitioned from the Sonics to the Thunder, Green has played in eight different cities. Among active players, only Ish Smith (10), Marco Bellinelli (nine), Shaun Livingston (nine) and Anthony Tolliver (nine) have played for more teams.

Being in Washington this past season, though, was different. That's because Green is from the area, having grown up nearby in Maryland. He starred at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, then at Georgetown University in Northwest D.C.

At 32 years old (he turns 33 in August), Green does not prefer being a basketball nomad. He would like to stay with the Wizards this summer as he aims for a new contract in free agency.

"I would love to come back," Green said. "Great set of guys on this team. I loved playing with Brad [Beal], John [Wall]."

Green also mentioned playing for head coach Scott Brooks, for whom he played in Seattle and Oklahoma City. Brooks was an assistant on the Sonics staff when Green was a rookie, then took over as head coach in the middle of Green's sophomore season. Green left the Thunder after his third season and, 10 years later, was reunited with Brooks in Washington.

The biggest draw for Green to the Wizards, though, is the fact it is his hometown team. Though playing at home is a drawback for some players, Green found major benefits in being around family and in the town where he played college ball.

"Being in front of family every night was great for me. It allowed me to see my daughters more than a couple of times a year, which was great," he said. 

"Being in a familiar setting from my Georgetown days was great. Being able to go up to Georgetown and watch the guys get better, it was great. [Those are] things I haven’t been able to do since being in the league."

On the court, Green found individual success with the Wizards amid a disappointing season overall. He averaged 12.3 points and 4.0 rebounds while setting a career-high in effective field goal percentage (55.5). 

He did all of that while making the league minimum of $2.4 million. On a Wizards team that was in some ways defined by bloated salaries, Green proved a bargain. 

Hoping to come back to the Wizards was a familiar refrain from impending free agents during the Wizards' media exit interviews. Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker, Thomas Bryant and others all suggested they would like to return. 

But with a new front office leadership structure set to be installed, certainty isn't offered for anyone. For Green, the Wizards' new general manager will need to evaluate whether he was part of their problems. 

While Green probably exceeded expectations this season, he was on the floor when the team struggled to rebound the ball and defend just like his teammates were. The Wizards were 27th in the NBA in defensive rating this season at 112.8, according to NBA.com. Green's defensive rating was 112.6.

The Wizards and Green may ultimately not prove a fit in the eyes of the new GM. If that is the case, Green could move on to play in a new city, the ninth of his career. 


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Former Wizards Mike Scott, Jared Dudley deliver the drama in Sixers-Nets Game 4


Former Wizards Mike Scott, Jared Dudley deliver the drama in Sixers-Nets Game 4

The 76ers-Nets playoff series has been wild from the start, but the trash talk and physical play reached the next level in the Sixers' Game 4 victory Sunday. 

The contest featured two ejections as well as a game-deciding shot with 19.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter. In the middle of it all? None other than Jared Dudley and Mike Scott, who played for the Wizards in 2015-16 and 2017-18, respectively. 

Tensions between Dudley and the Sixers had been simmering since he slammed Ben Simmons in the media after Game 1.

With 7:42 left in the third quarter Saturday, Joel Embiid committed a flagrant foul on Jarrett Allen under the basket. An incensed Dudley shoved Embiid, prompting Jimmy Butler to push Dudley away.

When Simmons to try to separate the two, he and Dudley got tangled up and tumbled into the front-row seats. Both Dudley and Butler were ejected on the spot. 

The Nets held a 67-61 advantage when Dudley and Butler were tossed, but that lead dwindled to one point with under a minute left to go. 

Brooklyn made the mistake of leaving Scott open in the corner, where Embiid set him up for a go-ahead three-pointer with 19.7 seconds remaining.

A pair of Tobias Harris free throws sealed the Sixers' 112-108 win, putting them up 3-1 in the series. Scott and company can finish off Dudley's squad in Game 5 on Tuesday. 

In the meantime, listen as Scott goes 1-on-1 with Chris Miller in the latest Wizards Talk Podcast.