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How will this Wizards season affect Scott Brooks' future?

How will this Wizards season affect Scott Brooks' future?

This week at NBC Sports Washington, we are looking at the five biggest storylines for the Washington Wizards as they get set for 2019-20 training camp, which begins next week. Today, a look at Scott Brooks' future...

As the Wizards get set for a transition year, one in which they hope to make progress in player development with an eye on the long-term, a major question is whether their timeline to win matches up with some of the holdovers. Bradley Beal is the most obvious one, but head coach Scott Brooks can be included for some of the same reasons.

Traditionally, a team in the Wizards' current state probably wouldn't have a coach like Brooks, one that has the resume he has and the salary to match. He is used to coaching playoff teams going back to his days in Oklahoma City and, with two years and $14 million remaining on his contract, he makes considerably more money than a lot of coaches would if they were hired to coach a young team predicted by most to fall short of the postseason.

With Beal, it's about what he thinks and how he views the big picture because the Wizards clearly want him to be part of it. With Brooks, there are reasons to point to on both sides for why the partnership isn't as great a fit as it once was when he first took the job.

That makes Brooks' future extra interesting as it pertains to this season in particular. By the end of it, the Brooks dynamic could go several different ways. 

There is a chance it could work out well, of course. There are a few examples around the league of accomplished coaches sitting through transition periods of varying lengths. You can look at Rick Carlisle of the Mavericks, Doc Rivers of the Clippers to a certain extent and now Alvin Gentry of the Pelicans.

Brooks could find fulfillment in overseeing the development of the Wizards' bevy of young prospects. It is pivotal for the Wizards' future to see progress in guys like Rui Hachimura and Troy Brown Jr., their last two first-round picks. If any number of the recent draft picks on their roster can emerge, the Wizards could take a big step forward the following season either with them on the roster or as trade assets.

Brooks came to Washington with a reputation for being good at player development, but so far has a checkered history of trusting young players with minutes. Last year, he deserved credit for Thomas Bryant's emergence but also took criticism for not playing Brown even when it seemed likely he could help.

Though it may not seem like it in the context of his career, Brooks has an opportunity in 2019-20 to prove his worth as an NBA coach. If he can guide the Wizards to a season that exceeds expectations, it could extend his career in Washington. It could also help his cause in landing another job.

Coaches going into the final years of their contracts is not a common occurrence in sports. They then get the 'lame duck' label and questions, fair or not, arise about their leverage with players. Mike D'Antoni of the Rockets is about to serve out the final year of his deal, but it is unusual.

After this season, the Wizards and Brooks will have to take a look at their options. Either side could decide it is time to part ways. The Wizards could fire him or he could broker a mutual parting to coach somewhere else like Mike Budenholzer did with the Hawks to join the Bucks last summer. 

The Brooks storyline is one that likely won't be in the forefront this season unless things go truly terrible for the Wizards. But whether the question is in the background or not, it remains a question whether Brooks will be coaching the Wizards beyond this season.


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With Zion Williamson next, a look at NBA phenoms' first games against the Wizards

With Zion Williamson next, a look at NBA phenoms' first games against the Wizards

The Wizards are expected to get their first look at No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson on Friday night as they battle the New Orleans Pelicans at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. This should be their first glimpse of the phenom in any type of game, though they were supposed to see him last summer in Las Vegas, if you recall. Williamson hurt his knee in a previous Summer League game that was famously cancelled due to an earthquake.

There was anticipation then and there is plenty of it now, as Williamson has since become a sensation in the NBA. Though he has only played in 23 games, he has already done some extraordinary things. Williamson is averaging 22.4 points and 6.2 rebounds in just 27.9 minutes.

Against the Kings on Thursday night, Williams had 24 points on 12 shots in 21 minutes. His efficiency is not the type of stuff you see often, especially for a rookie.

And those are just the numbers. Anyone who has watched him play can attest to the unusual athletic gifts that he has.

"Explosive. Just dynamic," Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said. "His athleticism is off the charts. His second jump is as good as everybody's first jump. He's a quick jumper. He's going to be a problem. He's going to be a problem for a lot of years. It's impressive what he's done in the limited minutes that he's played here."


Williamson may be one of a kind with his strength, first step and leaping ability, but he's just the latest in a long line of star prospects to reach the NBA level. As he gets set to face the Wizards, here is a look at how some other rookie phenoms have fared in their first games against the franchise...


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (MIL) - Nov. 9, 1969

24 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, 10-22 FG, 48 minutes; Bullets won by 11

Larry Bird (BOS) - Oct. 19, 1979

12 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 6-14 FG, 22 minutes; Celtics won by 37

Magic Johnson (LAL) - Jan. 9, 1980

14 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, block, steal, 4-6 FG, 26 minutes; Bullets won by 2

Michael Jordan (CHI) - Oct. 26, 1984 (NBA debut)

16 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 steals, 5-16 FG, 40 minutes; Bulls won by 16

Shaquille O'Neal (ORL) - Nov. 7, 1992 

22 points, 15 rebounds, 4 blocks, 8-16 FG, 40 minutes; Magic won by 5

Allen Iverson (PHI) - March 4, 1997

18 points, 13 assists, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 7-20 FG, 45 minutes; Bullets won by 1

Tim Duncan (SAS) - Nov. 26, 1997

18 points, 14 rebounds, 5 blocks, 5 turnovers, 9-15 FG, 41 minutes; Wizards won by 4

LeBron James (CLE) - Nov. 8, 2003

17 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds, steal, block, 8-19 FG, 44 minutes; Cavs won by 13

Kevin Durant (SEA) - Jan. 6, 2008

19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 7-12 FG, 35 minutes; Wizards won by 22

Derrick Rose (CHI) - Dec. 6, 2008

15 points, 8 assists, 2 steals, 6-12 FG, 37 minutes; Bulls won by 7

Blake Griffin (LAC) - March 12, 2011

26 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 8-17 FG, 30 minutes; Clippers won by 21

Luka Doncic (DAL) - Nov. 6, 2018

23 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, steal, 9-16 FG, 33 minutes; Mavericks won by 19

Ja Morant (MEM) - Dec. 14, 2019

18 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, block, 5-11 FG, 28 minutes; Grizzlies won by 17

Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.


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76ers' Ben Simmons diagnosed with partial dislocation of the left kneecap

76ers' Ben Simmons diagnosed with partial dislocation of the left kneecap

After exiting the 76ers-Wizards matchup early Wednesday night, Ben Simmons was diagnosed with subluxation of the left patella on Thursday.

Simmons left the game during the third quarter and did not return. The injury occurred after he grabbed an offensive rebound and dribbled to the corner to pass to Al Horford in the post. Following the play, he began flexing his left leg and left for the locker room. Simmons was seen walking gingerly in street clothes minutes later.  

Before leaving the game, Simmons recorded eight points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in 23 minutes.

Simmons’ diagnosis of a partially dislocated kneecap leaves him out indefinitely as he and the team consider treatment options. He has already been ruled out of Philadelphia’s game against the Orlando Magic on Friday. However, his MRI showed no ligament damage in the knee, which leaves him optimistic to return later in the playoffs.

His knee injury is not the only injury Simmons has had to overcome this season. He also missed the final eight games before the NBA’s hiatus with a nerve impingement in his lower back, but fully recovered before the restart began.

Playing without an All-Star player will be a challenge for Philadelphia, but the team has proven successful thus far in Orlando. The Sixers have gone 2-1 in the bubble and currently trail the Indiana Pacers by one game for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and are two games behind the Miami Heat for fourth. 


Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.