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John Wall is no longer allowed to dunk at Wizards practice per Scott Brooks' rules

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John Wall is no longer allowed to dunk at Wizards practice per Scott Brooks' rules

John Wall is a former NBA dunk contest winner, but Wizards head coach Scott Brooks now has a rule prohibiting the four-time All-Star from dunking during or after practices. 

Whether it will be strictly enforced or not, it's all in an effort to preserve Wall's health. The 27-year-old returned on Wednesday after sitting out nine games due to two procedures on his left knee, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment and viscosupplementation injections. He sustained the injury when he bumped knees with a player on the Dallas Mavericks in a game on Nov. 7.

Now, the Wizards don't want to take any chances.

"I've done it in the past with you can imagine who that plays the same type of way," Brooks said, referring to Russell Westbrook, whom he coached with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"[Westbrook] likes to dunk, he likes to dunk over you and he likes to talk about his dunk over you. They're the same mentality. I had that same talk with him. Save those dunks for the game. You're allowed to do it in the game, but not in practice," Brooks said.

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Brooks was realistic when asked whether Wall will actually follow the rule. He laughed when recalling whether Westbrook fell in line.

"They just looked at me, smirked and said yes. But they don't listen. They're aggressive and they love to attack, but yeah that's a rule," he said.

Wall was also asked about staying out of harm's way after shootaround on Friday morning. The reporter's question suggested Wall takes more falls than Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins.

"I'm on the ground more than [Cousins], but I don't get the calls as often like roughing the passer," Wall joked. "But it just happens. I took a bad knee at a bad angle and there was nothing I could control that with. I play the way I play... You do try to do things so you don't take as much of a pounding. That's all I know, just all-out."

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For a January game, Wizards vs. Pistons has plenty of playoff implications

For a January game, Wizards vs. Pistons has plenty of playoff implications

Winners of six of their last nine games, the Washington Wizards have breathed new life into their season, now with revitalized hopes of making the playoffs. On Monday, they will get a shot at one of the teams standing in their way.

With a 2 p.m. tip-off on NBC Sports Washington, the Wizards host the Detroit Pistons in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee. The Wizards are 10th in the Eastern Conference and the Pistons are ninth.

With a win over the Pistons, the Wizards would move into a tie for ninth, just one spot out of the playoff picture. Though more than two months remain in the regular season, the Wizards can gain some valuable ground.

Whether that is on their mind going into the match-up depends on whom you ask.

"It's definitely too early to talk about it," head coach Scott Brooks said.

"I think there are some very important games [coming up] where we go head-to-head against the guys who are around us in the standings," guard Tomas Satoransky said, singing a different tune.

Satoransky doesn't just see an opportunity against the Pistons on Monday, he mentioned Friday's game against the Magic as well. Orlando is one spot behind the Wizards in 11th.

The standings are one thing. Even more important for the big picture is head-to-head records, which determine tiebreakers for playoff seeding. The Wizards are 0-1 against the Pistons, having lost in Detroit on Dec. 26. 

A win on Monday would tie the season series with only one meeting left, on Feb. 11. If the Pistons win on Monday, they would lock up the tiebreaker.

The Wizards have reasons to be confident going into this meeting with the Pistons. While they are playing their best basketball of the season, Detroit has been in a tailspin. Going back to Dec. 3, they are 7-18. Only the Cavaliers have more losses during that stretch.

In those 25 games, the Pistons have been 28th in the NBA in offensive rating (103.6) and effective field goal percentage (49.6). They have committed the third-most turnovers per game (15.6).

Injuries haven't been the reason, but the Pistons have a few to report entering Monday's game. All-Star center Andre Drummond missed their last game on Saturday with a concussion and is considered day-to-day. Guard Ish Smith is also day-to-day after missing Saturday's game with a groin injury.

The Wizards have a chance to beat a reeling team and gain some control of their playoff hopes. We'll see if they take advantage.

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5 things to know about new Wizards guard Gary Payton II, also known as 'The Mitten'

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5 things to know about new Wizards guard Gary Payton II, also known as 'The Mitten'

The Wizards are set to add guard Gary Payton II on a 10-day contract to fill their 14th roster spot. Here are five things to know about the Wizards' newest player...

1. Payton II is the son of NBA Hall of Famer Gary Payton Sr. His father made nine All-Star teams, nine All-NBA teams, won a title with the Heat on 2006 and is considered one of the best defensive players of all-time. Payton starred for the Seattle Supersonics in the 1990s, so naturally Payton II is originally from Seattle.

2. His father also had one of the best NBA nicknames of all-time. He was known as 'The Glove.' So, according to Basketball Reference, Payton II is sometimes referred to as 'The Mitten.' 

3. Payton II, a point guard, is listed at 6-foot-3 and shoots left-handed. He has appeared in 29 total NBA games split between the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. He was Thomas Bryant's teammate in L.A. 

Payton II also spent time with the Portland Trailblazers in 2018-19 training camp before getting released in October. Since then, he played with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the G-League where he averaged 19.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 3.4 steals in 13 games.

4. Just like his father, Payton II played his college ball at Oregon State. With the Beavers, Payton II became the first player to win Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year twice. He averaged 2.8 steals per game in college.

5. Payton goes by Payton II, not by Payton Jr. That's because his half-brother is Gary Payton Jr. Payton Sr. named two of his sons after himself. There is also a third Payton brother named Julian, according to Payton II's college bio.

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