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How drawing up a play in the interview process helped sell the Wizards on Troy Brown

How drawing up a play in the interview process helped sell the Wizards on Troy Brown

While meeting with Oregon's Troy Brown during the pre-draft interview process, evaluators from the Washington Wizards issued him an on-the-spot challenge. Head coach Scott Brooks pulled out a dry-erase clipboard and a pen. He wanted to see Brown draw up a play.

This is a test Brooks has administered before to other players. Some have failed miserably.

"It sounds easy to throw a board at somebody in front of a big group and say 'okay draw a play' and I have seen many plays drawn, and I have seen it where there are not five players on the floor," Brooks said.

That wasn't the case with Brown. He didn't just draw up one play, he drew up several. One in particular came to mind when asked by reporters on Thursday night soon after the Wizards took him 15th overall in the first round of the NBA Draft.

“I think it was a situation where we were down by two or something like that," he said. "It was like a back screen into a slip, and then the fade three and they gave you a lot of various options to cause mismatches on the court for a last minute shot to either go ahead, or even attack the basket for a layup to go into overtime.”

NBC Sports Washington analyst Cory Alexander, a veteran of seven NBA seasons, demonstrated what Brown's play looked like on a whiteboard:

The Xs and Os of basketball flow effortlessly for Brown and Wizards' brass couldn't help but be impressed.

"He really understands the game. I think for a kid that is 18 years old, that is rare but he just has a good feel," Brooks said. 

"We were impressed with his character and the type of person he is and his basketball knowledge," team president Ernie Grunfeld said. "Obviously, like any young player, he has a lot of work to do but he has a lot of the intangibles that I think you need in today's game."

Smarts are a big part of what makes Brown a good basketball player. He isn't a particularly explosive athlete, with a modest 33-inch max vertical leap, but he boasts a 6-foot-10 wingspan and solid agility. Being in the right place at the right time and knowing how to operate an offense helps him make the most of his natural abilities.

Passing is where his basketball IQ comes in handy. Brown is unusually good at distributing for a 6-foot-7 small forward. He averaged 3.2 assists as a freshman at Oregon and nine times had five assists or more in a game.

He can pass like a point guard and the Wizards are excited to implement that skill into their offense.

"Passing is contagious. We’ve been pretty good the last two years and with talking about that how we even want to take another step," Brooks said. "He has the ability to make a lot of quick plays and his ball handling is pretty good for a guy his size. That is one thing I was impressed in his workout last week or when we had him. He is able to take the contact and use his strong frame to get inside the key and make plays.”

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Jeff Green happy to reunite with head coach Scott Brooks on Wizards

Jeff Green happy to reunite with head coach Scott Brooks on Wizards

The city of Washington, where he grew up near and was a star in college at Georgetown University, isn't the only factor that makes joining the Wizards familiar for Jeff Green. He is also reuniting with his former coach, Scott Brooks, who now leads the Wizards.

Long ago, Brooks was cutting his teeth on the sidelines while Green was finding his way on the court. When Green was a rookie on the Seattle Supersonics in 2007, Brooks was a 42-year-old assistant coach. The team moved to Oklahoma City the following year and by late November of 2008, Brooks was the head coach after P.J. Carlesimo was fired.

Brooks helped oversee Green's first four seasons as an NBA player and Green remembers those days well.

"He looked way better than he does now," Green joked.

Brooks, now 53, has a knack for taking playful shots at those he works with, whether that be players, fellow coaches or the media. Green is clearly on that level and feels comfortable ribbing his head coach, knowing he can both dish it out and take it.

All jokes aside, Green is still appreciative of the tutelage he received from Brooks back in the day.

"Scotty was my No. 1 guy, he’s always been, but when I first stepped foot on an NBA floor, he was there for me. He was a coach with Seattle when I first got into the league," Green said.

The NBA has taken Brooks and Green to very different places in the seven years since they split ways. Green left for the Celtics and has since played for the Grizzlies, Clippers, Magic and most recently the Cavaliers. Brooks stuck around with OKC through the 2014-15 season before he was let go. After taking a year off, he joined the Wizards.

Much has changed in Brooks and Green's lives. They have lost and gained jobs. Their families have grown. Now, they are back on the same team and Green is excited about it.

"We’ve been close and tight ever since. We never lost contact. So, I’m looking forward to being coached by him again. I know he’s going to put us all in great positions to succeed. We just have to do our part on the floor," Green said.

Green spoke with Brooks on the phone before deciding to sign with the Wizards as a free agent in July. His presence was one of the many reasons he felt Washington was a good fit.

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NBA MVP odds are out, with some names missing

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NBA MVP odds are out, with some names missing

Bovada's 2018-19 NBA MVP odds were released, and there's a few head-scratchers on the list. 

First, let's keep in mind that these odds are to get you to place a bet more than anything. They want you to see something, and tempt you to throw your money at it.

That being said, John Wall comes in tied for 14th, while Bradley Beal doesn't show up on the list.

Now, let's look at who else was on the list over Beal.

Lonzo Ball has 100/1 odds to win MVP, DeMarcus Cousins who is still recovering from a torn Achilles, and  Kristaps Porzingis, recovering from a torn ACL also appear over Beal.

Just thinking out loud here, but that seems like maybe a bit of a stretch right?

Porzingis may not play at all for the Knicks this coming season, and Cousins is expected to miss months before making his debut in Golden State. 

Cousins also plays on a team with Steph Curry (15/1) and Kevin Durant (9/1). 

Also missing from the odds was Klay Thompson. So, yeah. 

New Raptor Kawhi Leonard also comes in at 11/1. 

2018-2019 - NBA MVP - Odds to Win

LeBron James                        10/3
Anthony Davis                         4/1
Giannis Antetokounmpo        9/2
James Harden                         11/2
Kevin Durant                            9/1
Kawhi Leonard                        11/1
Russell Westbrook                  14/1
Stephen Curry                         15/1
Joel Embiid                              16/1
Kyrie Irving                               16/1
Ben Simmons                           35/1
Damian Lillard                          45/1
Karl-Anthony Towns                50/1
DeMar DeRozan                       80/1
John Wall                                  80/1
Donovan Mitchell                     85/1
Jimmy Butler                            100/1
Nikola Jokic                              100/1
Victor Oladipo                          100/1
Chris Paul                                 100/1
LaMarcus Aldridge                   125/1
Paul George                              125/1
DeMarcus Cousins                   150/1
Gordon Hayward                      150/1
Jayson Tatum                           175/1
Blake Griffin                              225/1
Devin Booker                            275/1
Kristaps Porzingis                    275/1
Kyle Lowry                                325/1
Lonzo Ball                                 450/1

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