Fred Katz: Brooks on getting down 29 and the lack of ef…

Fred Katz: Brooks on getting down 29 and the lack of effort: “That’s embarrassing… Look what happened, the guys off the bench. They played with passion.”

More on Washington Wizards Turmoil?

A man whose​ confidence has​ been​ abundant since adolescence, whose​ words usually match​​ whatever swagger he shows on the court, whose middle initial of “J” has always seemed perfectly appropriate, will no longer shoot a basketball. And he won’t say why. “That’s a great question. I can’t answer that for you,” Rivers said when asked about his dwindling shot attempts. “If I say something, I’m gonna get in trouble. [I’ll] figure it out. I’m gonna have to figure it out.”
The Magic used that same ball to spur a 52-23 run, jump to an eventual 25-point lead and close out a 117-108 victory. The Wizards cut the deficit to one point in the fourth quarter, but once again, dropped oft-used buzz terms after the game. Pride. Passion. Effort. They didn’t have it, they said, after falling to 2-9. “I’m not taking no more moral victories, bro. We’re 2-9,” Austin Rivers said. “There’s no more, ‘We played well the second half.’ We just lost to the Magic. We’re 2-9.”
“A catastrophe is in the making in Washington, in our nation’s capital, as it pertains to basketball,” Stephen A. Smith said Thursday on “First Take.” " . . . The situation with John Wall is so bad I’m getting pictures of John Wall off the court, [where] people are seeing him. They’re bringing up Rosebar, one of the most popular nightclubs, if not the most popular nightclub, in Washington, D.C. They’re talking about off-field habits. John Wall, pay attention!”
Wall apparently was paying attention. The point guard got wind of Smith’s comments and shared a message for his critics during an Instagram Live session from Orlando, where the Wizards will take on the Magic on Friday. “It’s a long season, everybody don’t start off great,” he said. “Keep being a fan, I’m gonna keep hooping. If you don’t like it, you can hike it. Facts!”
A commenter asked why Wall, who was chilling in a hot tub, wasn’t in the gym. “I ain’t in the gym because I just left practice ‘bout an hour or two ago, so now I’m relaxing with my feet up,” Wall said. “But don’t tell the fans I said that. They think I’m supposed to stay in the gym all day.”
Beal acknowledged that the speculation around the team, and demands that it be broken up, are unavoidable but added that he can’t feed into the negativity. “I don’t do it. I don’t believe in that. I feel that’s quitting on your team, quitting on everybody,” Beal told The Athletic after the Wizards’ 134-111 loss to Oklahoma City. “I understand that it’s a business at the end of the day and if that’s what somebody is going to do, that’s what they’re going to do. But I’m a leader of this team. I’ve been here for seven years. I refuse to have any type of ship sinking. I can’t let it sink without fighting. That’s who I am. That’s how I was built. I’m going to fight my ass off until the end. I promise you that.”
An NBA scout who has observed the Wizards recently called them the worst team he’s seen all season, given its shoddy defense, abysmal body language and nonexistent effort. Though the Wizards bounced back from a similarly dreadful start two years ago in Brooks’ first season, reaching Game 7 of the conference semifinals, the scout wasn’t optimistic that this team was capable of a repeat. “April 9,” he said, mentioning the last day of the regular season. “That’s it for these guys.”
Leonsis, who sat courtside as his Wizards were demolished by the Oklahoma City Thunder the night before, is bothered by their inability to defend. "When you score 125 points and you're losing by 25, it usually says you need to play a little bit of defense," he told NBC Sports Washington. "Right now, we really have to get a structure in place and especially defend the three-ball."
"I hope the team isn't looking at the precedent we set when we started [2-8] a couple of years ago and went to Game 7 against the Celtics and almost went to the [Eastern Conference] Finals. We won 49 games that year. You don't want to just fall so far behind and more importantly, you don't want to fall into these bad habits," he said.
Fred Katz: Otto Porter on if he agrees with Wall's & Beal's comments: "I can’t say that. But you gotta play together. We can’t have our heads down… So we gotta figure, hey, we gotta play for each other. Nobody’s cheering for us. We gotta be our own backbone. We gotta carry each other."
Fred Katz: Brooks on comments from last night about guys having their own agendas: "Everybody’s frustrated. I get that. I kinda like that. I like the fact that we are frustrated that we didn’t take care of business last night, but it’s about us. It’s not about one particular guy."
Fred Katz: More Brooks: "It’s early in the season. I’m glad it’s not game 60, and we’re still frustrated with how we’re playing."
John Wall and Bradley Beal called out their teammates for having their "own agendas" after a 116-112 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Friday night. Washington dropped to 1-4 to start the season, with the pair of All-Star guards blasting the Wizards' effort on the defensive end of the floor, where Washington is giving up 122.8 points a game, second-worst in the league. "Sometimes we have our own agendas on the floor, whether it's complaining about shots, complaining about playing time, complaining about whatever it may be," Beal said. "We're worried about the wrong (expletive) and that's not where our focus needs to be and it's just going to continue to hurt us."
Wall agreed after the Wizards committed a season-high 21 turnovers and wilted in the fourth quarter. "Everybody on their own agenda," said Wall. "We showed glimpses when we do stuff as a team, we show how good we can be, and then we go back to trying to do it individually, and that's mostly on the defensive end."
Fred Katz: John Wall on if he's surprised the team is having this convos only five games into the year: "For sure. I am, because I feel like we have a veteran team and it’s like, we go back to the same thing...Just because it’s on paper don’t mean anything,"
When reminded of that, Brooks reiterated “I like the way Kelly’s playing” but added, “Otto, he has to just keep playing and can’t worry about your shots and worry about your shot-making, but Kelly is playing well.” When Porter was asked if he would speak for an interview after the game, he said, “No, I don’t have a minute.”
Wall thinks the Wizards need to more weapons around him and All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal. "Just got to add some pieces," he said. "A lot, to be honest. There's a lot that we can use... I think it's pretty obvious. I don't need to point it out. I think the way the league is going, you need athletic bigs, you need scoring off the bench, you need all of those types of things. We don't really have an athletic big. I mean, Ian [Mahinmi] is older. [Marcin Gortat] is older. They're not athletic guys, but they do the little things that permit their game to help as much as possible."
Candace Buckner: John Wall has repeated often about wanting “guys who want to be here.” And he said it’s obvious the #Wizards need “athletic bigs” moving forward.
Gortat had plenty to say about the team’s selfishness on the defensive end. “I agree completely,” Gortat said about Brooks’s “selfish” comments. “It comes from the coach, and we as the players, we’ve seen that during the game. We feel that sometimes. It has to change. It has to change as soon as possible. It’s not only on one guy. It’s on a lot of people. You can’t win basketball games if you’re just thinking about yourself.
Gortat continued: “For example, if I’m guarding DeMarcus Cousins or Karl-Anthony Towns, he’s going to beat me to the paint or he’s going to have a better position than me, I’m going to need a guard to help me out and a big to throw extra hands and extra bodies under the basket to help me to stop that guy. And the same way goes for guys like Russell Westbrook coming here or LeBron James coming here, and I’ve got to help my teammates to stop these guys from getting to the paint and bully them to the paint.”
“Looking at the things we were doing over the course of the year, over the course of the last couple games. Just seeing our demeanor and our approach and seeing two different teams,” Beal said. “They showed us clips of us last year in the playoffs. Just our intensity, our focus, our grit and grind, attention for detail for everything was a lot better. So, that’s who we need to be.”
Chase Hughes: Scott Brooks is very frustrated about the Wizards not sharing the ball. He is as mad as we have seen him postgame. Said ‘it’s embarrassing that we don’t play with the passion we need.’
Candace Buckner: Just left a VERY tense #Wizards locker room — in which Otto Porter Jr. and Tomas Satoransky were the only starters who stuck around long enough to talk. Both guys responded with variations of “I don’t know” when asked for their diagnosis of what’s wrong with this team now
Beal was sick of his own play and that of his teammates when addressing the media afterwards. "We're acting like we don't give a damn, honestly. We thought we could just show up and play because they didn't have anything to play for. We just thought it was going to be a cake walk and they just smacked us in the mouth," Beal said.
In an ESPN interview, Wall described feeling taken aback by Gortat’s tweet, saying he was surprised the center placed the word team in quotations. More than a week ago, the players met face to face, but Wall was coy about the discussion. “Yeah, we had meetings. We’re grown men,” Wall acknowledged. “We talk one on one but that’s locker room talk. It sticks in there.”
Washington Wizards teammates John Wall and Marcin Gortat met privately last week to confront each other about where they stood with one another, league sources told ESPN. It was the first time the two spoke in person regarding Gortat's tweet many interpreted as a passive-aggressive slight directed at the All-Star guard, according to league sources.
The meeting, which didn't last long, facilitated the airing of grievances, but sources say there is still more work to be done to fully repair that relationship. Those close to the franchise suggest these are natural altercations from the rigors of such an emotional season.
Also, Wall had thoughts on the recent “everybody eats” line — first used by Bradley Beal following the win over the Raptors in which Washington shared the ball for 30 assists, and interpreted by several fans and media outlets as a shot against Wall. “That was funny to me. That’s a joke. If you want to say team win and put it in exclamation points or everybody eats and all that. I’m one of the top point guards that passes the ball more than anybody. I hear a lot of times I pass too much sometimes,” Wall told NBC Sports Washington during his first interview of the circuit. “I know what I do for my team, I know what I bring every night. Like I said, if any guys have a problem with me they can talk to me face to face as a man. And if you can’t do that then I lose a lot of respect for you.”
“Well, my comment is that it’s clearly the whole drama that was stirred up from a few days ago, a week ago, whatever,” Gortat said. “It was definitely not even me or Brad or anybody on the team was trying to hit him with anything that’s going to make him pissed or that’s going to make him frustrated. And there wasn’t definitely any hit at him, basically. “We talk about team win with 30 assists a game, everybody played for each other. We enjoyed the game,” Gortat continued. “And basically I see that, you know, he felt different way. He felt it was a different way and he came back with that kind of a comment. So, now we got to ask each other questions, who’s attacking who?”
Gortat said he has spoken to Wall since sending the tweet and believed that the two had come to an understanding. “I talked to him a few days ago,” Gortat said. “I thought we verified that. I told him that it was nothing personal and I definitely didn’t think about him when I was writing that or whatever I was saying. We never thought about attacking him and I thought we had this verified.”
John Wall will be out possibly as long as two months, but the Wizards are not expected to make a major move to cover for his absence due to another round of knee surgery. One scout’s appraisal of the Wizards: "They’ve got some real internal issues, and it starts with the fact that John Wall is not a leader."
After the Washington Wizards defeated the Detroit Pistons on Friday night, John Wall revealed just how a recent players-only meeting went awry. The session was intended for open and honest dialogue but while some players spoke freely, others shut down. “We had our team meeting,” Wall said Friday. “A couple guys took it the negative way and it hurt our team. Instead of taking it in a positive way like we did in the past and using it to build our team up, it kind of set us back a little bit.”
Coach Scott Brooks said he never knew about the meeting. Even if he had known, Brooks said he would not have meddled in the players’ discussion or asked how it played out. Without knowing the topics, Brooks has been in the NBA long enough not to be surprised it had gone poorly. “I’ve been in the league 30 years now. There’s been a lot of good meetings, a lot of not-so-good meetings. You just take them for what they are,” Brooks said. “But I’ve never been in a meeting where the issue is not two things: playing together and playing hard. That’s what always the meetings are about. ‘Guys, we’re not playing together. We don’t trust each other. We’re not playing hard.’ ”
"It was tough. I try to keep all our stuff as personal as possible but I think in a way not everybody got a chance to speak whenever they wanted to," Bradley Beal said. "They didn't want to bring up an issue or something they had with a problem with on the team. Regardless of what may be going on, as men we've got to be able to accept what the next man says, be respectful about it and move on from it. I think it was one of those situations where we didn't necessarily get everything that we wanted to get accomplished. "Honestly, it was probably - I won't say pointless," Beal continued, "but we didn't accomplish what we needed to accomplish in that meeting."
The Vertical: The Hornets have broken their franchise record for points in a half with 77. Charlotte is shooting 31-48 (64.6%) from the field and the Hornets are 7-14 from behind the arc [against the Washington Wizards] 😮
The perception of the Wizards from the outside and within their own locker room at the midway point of this 2017-18 season perhaps says a lot about how the expectations are higher than they have been for this franchise in quite some time. After 41 games, exactly the halfway point, the Wizards are 23-18. Over the course of a full 82-game schedule that would amount to 46 wins. Considering that this team has only won 46 games or more twice since the 1978-79 season, that's not bad at all. But the Wizards have reached a new era where simply being good isn't good enough. When asked to grade the first half, head coach Scott Brooks and his players all offered marks within the C to B range. What held them back from As is the fact they have lost many games they feel they should have won.
The Wizards have had consistency issues in years past, but this is an unusual split. Past records show they are generally very good against lesser teams. "I know y’all are tired of hearing it and I’m tired of saying it," John Wall said. "Until we prove that we can do it on a nightly basis, we’re going to have these same conversations.”
Candace Buckner: More Brooks: “The starters gotta come in and give us effort.” Once again, Brooks sparingly played his starting frontcourt through the second half.
After Gortat proclaimed the team’s reserves “one of the worst benches in the league right now” following Washington’s seventh loss in nine games Saturday against Chicago, Brooks and Gortat stood together in front of the team before practice Monday. Gortat apologized, and Brooks preached unity to a team that can’t afford to waste energy pointing fingers. “I look at things from a whole, because this is how — when I played, I was a backup, and I didn’t like to be divided,” Brooks said. “We don’t have two teams here, we have one basketball team, and right now we’re not happy and content on being 2-7.”
“And I wouldn’t have begged him to come back,” Wall interjected. “I would’ve been, ‘Don’t come back because in two years, I ain’t coming back.’ We would’ve figured something out. … I think everybody blew it out of proportion for no reason. I mean, if you look at any two great teammates, and two young, great guys, that’s talented and want to be great, you’re going to have ups and downs. Everything is not going to be perfect.”
“My individual goal is to add [Beal] to the All-Star game with me. I feel like if he’s not there, then I didn’t do my job of leading the team,” Wall told The Vertical. “We’ve proved it. I ain’t an All-Star if he ain’t playing. Simple as that. We’ve had arguments in games. You’re going to do that. But if I can put that to the side, see him wide open and make that pass … and if I don’t make that pass and take that shot …”
J. Michael Falgoust: John Wall: "Yeah, it's a wasted season to me" #WizardsTalk @CSNWizards
Storyline: Washington Wizards Turmoil?
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