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John Wall embracing role as assistant coach during injury rehab

John Wall embracing role as assistant coach during injury rehab

WASHINGTON -- John Wall has already made enough money during his basketball career to last a lifetime and his new supermax contract worth $170 million is just kicking in. When he is done playing in the NBA, he doesn't have to do anything at all if he doesn't want to.

But there is at least a small part of Wall that believes coaching could be in his future. He loves the game enough to not rule out the possibility.

This year will give him a taste of what being a coach is all about. While he rehabs his ruptured left Achilles, he will serve as an unofficial assistant to head coach Scott Brooks. Wall will be asked to break down film with players, advise on plays to run and help the team's young point guards in practice.

Wall isn't sure as of today whether he wants to coach when his playing days are over. But he may have an answer in just a few months.

"I think this year will tell me whether I can be a coach or not," Wall told NBC Sports Washington on the Wizards Talk podcast. 

"I think you have to have a lot of patience and you've gotta know how to interact with every player. Every player's attitudes and character and mood swings are totally different. I learned from when a coach tried to coach me when I was young and I wasn't the guy to coach."

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard envisions Wall as an important part of the locker room, even when he isn't playing. Part of his role may include some tough conversations with players. As Sheppard says, Wall may be able to deliver some messages that resonate more from a peer than if they came from a coach. 

Wall knows he can help in that regard. He has long been a vocal presence for the Wizards and had to assume the role as a team leader at an early age. After coming in as the No. 1 overall pick, he was a franchise player from the time he was 19 years old.

Wall's personality may also lend itself to those duties. He is very honest, whether it be with teammates or the media. 

"I like to speak my mind," he said. "It's like my momma always told me, 'I'd rather you speak your mind and say what you want to say, but say it in a respectful manner and a respectful way.'"

Wall, in fact, has a detailed philosophy on being honest. He doesn't like to lie whether it's in a media setting, to teammates or in everyday life.

It's not quite a Jim Carrey in 'Liar, Liar' deal, but Wall sees no point in beating around the bush. If he has something to say to a teammate or the media, he will say it.

"I don't know how to not give you the truth," he said. "What I've learned is that when you lie, you've gotta remember that lie exactly the way you said it for the next 12 people you tell it to. So, why make it that tough?"

Wall is set to miss at least the first few months of the Wizards' 2019-20 season and he could be sidelined the entire year. He said he hopes to have a similar impact that Kristi Tolliver did with the Mystics this past season where she remained active as a veteran leader in the locker room despite not being able to help the team on the floor for weeks due to a knee injury.

Missing so much time due to injury is not the ideal situation for Wall, but he plans to make the most of it.

"It will make my game a lot smarter and better for when I come back," he said.

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Wizards vs. Spurs Game 12: TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

Wizards vs. Spurs Game 12: TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

The Wizards host the Spurs Wednesday at Capital One Arena with both teams looking to get back into the win column.

Scott Brooks' squad was unable to grab the victory on the road in Orlando Sunday as the Wizards (3-8) fell to Magic, 125-121. Bradley Beal put up 34 points and eight assists in the effort but that was not enough. C.J. Miles and Davis Bertans contributed 21 and 15, respectively.

The Spurs fell to the Mavericks on Monday night, 117-110. The Spurs have now lost eight of their last nine games and are sitting at 5-9 in the Western Conference. DeMar DeRozan scored a season-high 36 in the losing effort. 

In their last matchup on Oct. 26, the Spurs came out on top of D.C. with a 124-122 victory. 

Here is everything you need to know: 

SPURS @ WIZARDS HOW TO WATCH

What: San Antonio Spurs @ Washington Wizards, Game 12

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.

When: Wednesday, November 20 at 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Spurs @ Wizards will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington Plus (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Spurs @ Wizards on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports MyTeams App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

SPURS @ WIZARDS TV SCHEDULE

6:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

6:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

7:00: Spurs @ Wizards (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

9:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

10:00 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

SPURS @ WIZARDS INJURY REPORT:

Spurs: Dejounte Murray (Day-to-day, illness)

Wizards: John Wall (OUT, Left Achilles rehab), Ian Mahinmi (OUT, Right Achilles strain)

SPURS @ WIZARDS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bradley Beal, G, Wizards (30.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 6.9 apg): Over Beal's last three games, the star shooting guard is averaging 40.7 points, 8.0 assists, and 4.7 rebounds.

Rui Hachimura, PF, Wizards (13.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.7 apg): Hachimura struggled against the Magic, shooting 3-for-7 in the losing effort. 

DeMar DeRozan, SG, Spurs (19.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.8 apg): DeRozan's season-high 36 points was not enough to put the Spurs ahead of the Mavericks on Monday night. Luka Doncic led the Mavs with 42 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists. 

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Loss to Magic shows how Wizards have few ideal options on defense

Loss to Magic shows how Wizards have few ideal options on defense

Wizards assistant coach and defensive specialist Mike Longabardi referred to them as "dare shots" on the NBC Sports Washington broadcast. Head coach Scott Brooks said after the game the Wizards were "playing the percentages." Basically, they gave Markelle Fultz and the Magic distance when playing defense, asking them to earn respect for their range. Orlando, to be fair, entered the game shooting 29 percent from three, dead-last in the NBA, and Fultz is a career 20-percent three-point shooter.

But the whole plan backfired. The Wizards instead met an unintended consequence in their 125-121 loss to the Magic on Sunday night. Fultz and his teammates not only made threes early, they kept it up all night, apparently finding a rhythm as a result of taking what the defense was offering. 

Fultz, the former No. 1 pick maligned for his so-called broken shot, sank two from the perimeter to tie a career-high. The Magic as a team made 15 threes, tying a season-high, and shot 39.5 percent from long range.

The Wizards went under screens and played off of Magic players they felt were unlikely to beat them with outside shooting, and it cost them. On one hand, it is easy to kick the Wizards while they are down. They didn't properly respect an opponent that, after all, is still an NBA team. 

Even guys who supposedly can't shoot can make them if left open. Even non-shooters practice and make threes all the time outside of games. Show up early to any NBA game and watch warm-ups and you can see that for yourself. 

But in a sense, the Wizards' reasoning can be understood. Even against a team like the Magic, a team that entered Sunday night averaging only 100.3 points per game (29th in the NBA), they may have to get creative.

That is because the Wizards have been and likely will continue to be a bad defensive team. They currently rank 29th out of 30 teams in defensive rating (114.4) and are dead-last in points allowed (120.1/g.). 

Without prototypical defensive personnel, the Wizards will need to think outside the box to get stops. Overloading one way or the other based on percentages may be the answer on a given night. 

The problem is that the Wizards didn't do their job in other areas. In addition to giving up too many threes, they didn't shore up things on the backend, either. Even with their manpower shifted closer to the rim, they still couldn't protect it.

The Magic had 42 points in the paint and outrebounded the Wizards 52-38. That included Orlando center Nikola Vucevic pouring in 30 points to go along with 17 boards all by himself.

The early goings of this season have demonstrated how the Wizards have no easy answers on the defensive end. The good news is that they do have a high-powered offense. While their defensive rating ranks second-worst in the league, their offensive rating is the best of any team and they are third in points scored.

Right now, the only way the Wizards can win is if they score a ton of points, as even broken Metro cars make more stops than them.

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