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Washington Wizards hire assistant coach Michael Longabardi to Scott Brooks coaching staff

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Washington Wizards hire assistant coach Michael Longabardi to Scott Brooks coaching staff

The Wizards sought to add an assistant coach with a strong defensive track record this offseason and they did just that Saturday evening by hiring Michael Longabardi, according to NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes. 

Longardi, 46, has spent the last three seasons as a defensive coach on the Cleveland Cavaliers' staff. He was initially hired by former Cavs' head coach Tyronn Lue in 2016 when the team claimed their first championship in franchise history. 

Before joining the Cavaliers, Longabardi held assistant coaching roles with the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, and most notably the Boston Celtics, in which he and Lue served under head coach Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau from 2007 to 2013.

Longabardi was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and attended Xaverian High School, a private Catholic school. He then went on to play basketball at Newberry College where he earned the nickname "Mr. Defense."

Just a day after reports broke that Tommy Sheppard would be promoted to a permanent general manager position, the organization is making yet another move in hopes of improving overall culture and team defense.

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Ian Mahinmi to make his season debut against Sixers, Moe Wagner also back

Ian Mahinmi to make his season debut against Sixers, Moe Wagner also back

WASHINGTON -- Ian Mahinmi is healed and ready to make his season debut for the Wizards, and it's coming at a good time.

The back-up center is coming back from a strained right Achilles as the Wizards take on Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers. Center Moe Wagner is also returning against the Sixers after missing two games with a left ankle sprain. They should both help against Embiid, who is one of the NBA's best centers.

Mahinmi, 33, missed all of training camp, the preseason and the Wizards' first 19 games of the regular season. His Achilles injury was revealed on media day back in September and, though it didn't require surgery, it kept him out for over two months.

Mahinmi is in the fourth and final year of the $64 million contract he signed in the summer of 2016 to join the Wizards in free agency. He has yet to live up to the expectations of that deal, averaging only 4.8 points and 4.2 rebounds in 142 games across three years.

Mahinmi may not be able to help much given his age and recent track record, but the Wizards need all the depth they can get at center with starter Thomas Bryant out at least a few weeks with a stress reaction in his right foot.

Mahinmi is now the second-string center behind Wagner. Rookie forward Rui Hachimura had to start at center for the team's loss to the Magic on Tuesday.

Mahinmi, according to head coach Scott Brooks, will only play about 10 or 15 minutes. And Wagner may be limited by his ankle injury. But those are the only two centers the Wizards have at the moment.

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Wizards will be without Jordan McRae for several weeks after surgery

Wizards will be without Jordan McRae for several weeks after surgery

WASHINGTON -- The injuries continue to pile up for the Wizards, as back-up shooting guard Jordan McRae will now be out at least several weeks following a second surgery on his right ring finger.

McRae had an initial procedure in October to fix a mallet fracture. He had a pin inserted in the finger and this latest surgery was to remove the pin. According to the team, it was done to prevent infection.

McRae will be re-evaluated in two weeks which leaves the Wizards missing another key rotation player for at least seven or so games. McRae has served as the back-up shooting guard to Bradley Beal and has also filled in at the three with C.J. Miles out long-term due to a hand injury.

McRae, 28, has so far thrived in his current role. He's putting up career-highs in points per game (8.9), assists (2.8), rebounds (2.2) and field goal percentage (47.3). He had played well with the pin in his finger and despite having it dislodged on a dunk against the Hornets in late November. 

With McRae out, the Wizards will have to rely more on smaller guards without a natural shooting guard on the roster outside of Beal. Ish Smith and Isaiah Thomas could play more often in three-guard lineups and two-way player Chris Chiozza could see more time with the team. The same could go for rookie Justin Robinson.

The Wizards' other player on a two-way contract, rookie Garrison Mathews, is a shooting guard but he remains sidelined with a stress reaction injury. Though he is expected to return soon, he may not be able to help the NBA team all that soon given his lack of professional experience.

With McRae and Miles out, the Wizards are also missing centers Thomas Bryant, Moe Wagner and Ian Mahinmi. They also have point guard John Wall out long-term. 

That's a lot of injuries.

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