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The Wizards have hit the reset button. What does that mean for Scott Brooks' future?

The Wizards have hit the reset button. What does that mean for Scott Brooks' future?

The Washington Wizards now look a lot different than the team Scott Brooks took over back in the summer of 2016. Gone are core players like Otto Porter Jr., Markieff Morris, and Marcin Gortat. Instead of proven, specialized veterans, his roster is full of young players whose main selling point is their upside.

When Brooks came to Washington, the goal was to win now. Now it looks a lot more like 'build now to win later.'

The Wizards' roster overhaul will require an adjustment for Brooks. He's a coach who has been to the NBA Finals and conference finals. In two of his three years with the Wizards, they have made the playoffs.

But this year his job will be more so to teach. He will be tasked with overseeing the development of guys like Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr., Admiral Schofield, and Moe Wagner.

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said at his introductory press conference last month that Brooks is embracing the change.

"One thing I also want to really pipe in on is the support we have from Coach Brooks and his staff and the ability they have to pivot. When Coach Brooks got here, we won 49 games and we were one game away from going to the conference finals. That was kind of the team he got coming through the door. Now, this takes him back to his OKC days," Sheppard said.

Many remember Brooks' Thunder as the team that made the Finals in 2012. They recall the juggernaut that averaged 53 wins from 2009 to 2015.

But before the Thunder were title contenders, they won 23 games in the 2008-09 season. That was one of four straight losing seasons for the franchise.

Sheppard remembers the Thunder's rise and how Brooks helped build a winning environment around a group of top draft picks that included Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden.

"Before that team really broke through, they had to have a hard-working and high-character mentality," Sheppard said.

Brooks has two years remaining on his contract that pays him $7 million per season. His resume and salary would usually not match the state of the Wizards' roster. Sometimes teams in transition reach agreements with accomplished coaches to part ways. It happened with Mike Budenholzer and the Hawks when he left to join the Bucks.

But there have been some coaches with similar track records to Brooks who have stuck around during franchise reboots. Doc Rivers of the Clippers, Erik Spoelstra of the Heat and Rick Carlisle of the Mavericks come to mind. Alvin Gentry of the Pelicans is in a similar spot, coaching a team that changed just about everything in their organization this offseason but him.

If the Wizards play to expectations this season, they will likely be on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. That could weigh on Brooks, who is used to coaching in big games. But it is also conceivable he could benefit as much as anyone from the team's culture change.

Sheppard is doing his best to bring in more coachable and hard-working players. After dealing with some veterans who were very much set in their ways this past season, that could be refreshing for the coaching staff.

Time will tell if the new-look partnership can work. Either side could change their tune.

But for now, both Brooks and the Wizards seem to be in unison as they march ahead.

"This really re-invigorated him in a lot of ways, to be honest with you," Sheppard said. "[The coaches] are all committed to this and where we’re going right now. The future is develop players, continue to get high-character people and I think we’re going to do great things."

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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."

RELATED: BRYANT'S GAME VS. EMBIID IMPORTANT LONG TERM

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...

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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

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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. 

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