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John Wall injury news was 'punch in the gut' for Scott Brooks

John Wall injury news was 'punch in the gut' for Scott Brooks

The 2018-19 season has been filled with trails and tribulations for Wizards head coach Scott Brooks.

After starting the season 5-11, Brooks lost All-Star point guard John Wall to a season-ending heel injury back in December but in return saw Bradley Beal emerge as their newfound leader and young talent off the bench step up.

But earlier this week Brooks was dealt another bad hand when he got word Wall would be out for at least 12 months after tearing his Achilles in a freak fall.

"It was a bad day all the way around," Brooks said on getting the news after Monday's 137-129 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies. 

"I talked to Ernie [Grunfeld] in the afternoon and he told me the news and it was definitely a punch in the gut. It was a surprise. I mean he was on his way and had the surgery and was on his way to a recovery...just a freak deal. Fell. Slipped." 

Exactly what he was doing that caused the slip wasn't something Brooks pressed Wall on. As a former NBA player himself, Brooks knew the point guard wouldn't want to continue to go into detail. Instead, the head coach turned his focus on supporting his player.

"I feel bad for John," Brooks added. "That guy loves the game. He competes. Plays through everything and this one he can't play through, and it hurts him.

I did exchange a bunch of texts messages. I felt bad. He actually apologized. He said, 'I'm sorry, coach.' And I mean that hurt me because he knows he wants to be out there. He knows it's hard on all of us that, you know you're talking about one of the best players in the league, and he can't play. And like I said earlier, he's never been in this position many times where he cant play through everything and this one he's not able to play for up to maybe a year." 

Historically, players just aren't quite the same as they once were after coming back from an Achilles injury. Brooks knows there's nothing he can do at this point to change what happened to Wall and that the future of how the team is shaped going forward is in jeopardy. But considering his history of returning from previous injuries, Brooks has faith in him.

"The only thing that I'm going to continue to encourage John and his group of people around him and our staff is just continue to just focus on the day-to-day recovery," Brooks said.

"Continue to be positive and do your job every day and let the outcome remain what it is. One thing about John, he's going to give the effort, he's going to be diligent. Unfortunately for John, he's had a a couple of these knee surgeries so he knows how to rehab. He knows how to come back from injuries and he's just going to have to do it everyday. It's going to be a long process and he's going to need a lot of support from myself, our staff, our organization, the fans, his friend, everything. But John, he's tough. The guy is tough and he's built for this and he's built to be able to handle this obstacle that's in front of him. And once he gets through it, he's going to have some tough days and he's going to have some good days. He's just going to have to keep piling up those good days."

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    Wizards District Gaming takes JBM with No.1 pick in 2020 NBA 2K League Draft

    Wizards District Gaming takes JBM with No.1 pick in 2020 NBA 2K League Draft

    Sixty eight gamers' lives changed on Saturday night. 

    One of those very lucky individuals was Jack Mascone, who was selected by Wizards District Gaming with the No.1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft. 

    Wizards’ managing partner Ted Leonsis had a special message for the point guard from New York, who joins the Monumental Sports & Entertainment family. 

    “On behalf of the Wizards, Mystics and Go-Go we’d like to welcome JBM to the Monumental basketball family. Congratulations on your hard work paying off. We’re excited to have you run the District with us,” Leonsis said.

    Wizards District Gaming also drafted small forward Justin Howell in the second round, No. 30 overall, small forward Antonio Newman, No. 37, and utility Brandon Richardson at No. 51 in the third round. 

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    Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

    Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

    WASHINGTON -- Wizards forward Rui Hachimura has translated so smoothly to the NBA level that it is easy to forget he is still just a rookie with only 31 games under his belt. For a reminder of his inexperience, just look at the fourth quarter.

    Hachimura tends to start games hot on the offensive end, like he did on Friday in the Wizards' loss to the Cavaliers when he had eight points by the end of the first quarter. But he scored only nine points after that and went scoreless through seven minutes in the fourth.

    That has been a consistent theme for him this season. He averages 4.8 points in the first quarter shooting 48.4 percent from the field, 4.0 points in the second shooting 57 percent and then 4.3 points on 47.9 percent in the third. In the fourth quarter those numbers plummet to 1.9 points on average and 33.3 percent shooting.

    Basically, Hachimura often comes out on fire but then slows down considerably once opponents make midgame changes. Against the Cavs, Hachimura said it was because they disrupted passing lanes.

    "They are an NBA team. They just adjusted. They didn't want me to catch the ball. They didn't let me just catch the ball. I think that's why," he said.

    The Wizards have seen teams switch defensive match-ups midgame to counter Hachimura. Sometimes taking away his midrange jumper will be prioritized. The Cavs seemed to find success playing Hachimura more physically in the second half, bumping him away from his comfort zones.

    Over time, Hachimura can improve his ability to sustain scoring throughout games simply by becoming more versatile. The more consistent he becomes at making three-point shots and creating off the dribble, the more difficult it will be for teams to stop him. As long as he keeps improving, he will reach a point where he can stay ahead of the defense with a multitude of counters.

    Developing a more reliable outside game and more dribble combinations will take some time. For now, Hachimura believes the key to him keeping up his scoring pace involves working with his teammates, particularly star shooting guard Bradley Beal.

    "I just gotta connect more with Brad. Brad is the one everybody is trying to guard. Screens and pick-and-rolls with him, that kind of stuff will help me," Hachimura said.

    Hachimura's game against the Cavaliers reflected how the team played overall. After scoring 41 points in the first quarter, they managed only 42 in the second half. They blew a 16-point lead and lost, 113-108.

    So, he wasn't alone. And those rooting for Hachimura to round out his game should feel good about his odds. He has a relentless work ethic and is often staying after practice to go over film with player development coach Dave Adkins.

    Hachimura is perceptive and driven to improve. In order to take the next step as a scorer, he will have to get better at closing games.

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