The Washington Wizards are bad. They have started 2-8 and are getting outscored by 10.1 points per 100 possessions, with a bottom seven offense and defense. Worse than all those numbers is the player interaction and body language — guys jogging through cuts (John Wall, we’re looking at you), player not high fiving or even communication much on the court, and when Bradley Beal or another player gets knocked down driving to the rim it’s often guys on the other team there to help him back up.
In most places, that means coach Scott Brooks would be next to hang out with Tyronn Lue
sipping margaritas on a beach in Mexico happy to be away from the disaster of their rosters in the unemployment line.
Not in Washington. Brooks is safe. The amazing Candace Buckner of the Washington Post laid out the three reasons Brooks is safe.
1. He’s guaranteed $21 million from an organization that has soared past the luxury tax despite its roster holes.
2. He heads a revamped staff with only one longtime assistant experienced in taking over head coaching duties.
3. Most of all, he works for an owner who may be willing to press the eject button on his NHL coaches but practices the patience of a monk when it comes to making changes to his basketball operations.
I would suggest No. 1 is the big reason — owner Ted Leonsis does not have the reputation of a big spender around the league, and while he is $7.6 million into the luxury tax with the roster, he’s not going to compound that by paying a second coach. Brooks is just starting the third season of a fully guaranteed five-year deal, that’s a lot of money to pay a guy to go away.
The problem for the Wizards is there is no good way out of this mess. John Wall starts his designated veteran max contract NEXT season and there are four years of it, plus he has a 15 percent trade kicker now so if the Wizards do trade him there is a massive lump-sum payment to be made. The Wizards couldn’t find a taker for Wall right now. Otto Porter has two seasons after this one at $27.3 million and $28.5 million (the second one is a player option he almost certainly picks up). Maybe there will be a taker for Porter this summer, but not during this season.
Bradley Beal has two years left on his contract after this ($27.1 million and $28.8 million) and he will draw the most trade interest — he’s also their best player right now. The Wizards don’t want to trade him.
Not long after the trade sending Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia was announced, there were some Sixers fans were on Twitter planning the championship parade route.
Reality, of course, is never quite so simple. The Orlando Magic made that clear knocking off Philadelphia in Butler’s debut.
What should we expect from these Sixers now? I get into it in this latest PBT Extra. Expect exceptional defense. However, are the big three of Buter/Joel Embiid/Ben Simmons willing to make the sacrifices necessary to their game to win at the highest level? We will see.
Revenge is a dish best served with two seconds left in a tie game.
Pistons coach Dwane Casey – certainly not thrilled with the Raptors firing him earlier this year – guided his new team to a 106-104 win in his return to Toronto tonight. Detroit erased a 19-point second-half deficit and got the ball with two seconds left, giving Casey and Reggie Bullock chances to shine.
Casey drew up a great play, an alley-oop to Glenn Robinson III. But Pascal Siakam made an even better play to knock the ball out of bounds.
The Pistons’ second play of the possession proved even more effective, as Bullock slipped toward the rim and hit the game-winner.
What a satisfying victory for Casey.
The Warriors suspended Draymond Green one game for his argument with Kevin Durant during and after Golden State’s loss to the Clippers on Monday.
Sam Amick of The Athletic:
Jackie MacMullan on ESPN:
What about an internal fine? And what I was told this morning was that the rest of the players on this team didn’t support that, that the rest of the players on the team felt this had to be to done and that they’re all prepared, on that plane ride to Houston today, to get those guys together and put this behind them for now.
Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic:
Green was surprised by the heavy-handedness. A fine was expected. Green had just come back from injury, giving him a rest day for Tuesday’s game against Atlanta and a private fine would have been an acceptable rebuke of his behavior. He was fined a few thousand dollars when he went after Kerr in the locker room in Oklahoma City in 2016. He didn’t think this incident was nearly as bad, so the punishment being drastically worse was shocking.
I wonder whether Green will feel as if the Warriors are ganging up on him. Many see his suspension as Golden State’s attempt to appease Durant before free agency, and the original issue escalated because Green thought there was already too much emphasis on Durant’s free agency. This could push a stubborn Green deeper into a corner.
Or he could realize his peers wanted him suspended and see that as a wakeup call. He might put more stock in that than Kerr’s point of view.
It’s too early to determine how this will go, but the starting point is apparently a divide between Green and everyone else.
The Celtics just had a 1-4 road trip, the lone win coming in overtime against the lowly Suns. Most Boston players (except Marcus Morris and, lately, Kyrie Irving) look out of sorts offensively.
Irving, via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston:
Looking at this locker room, me being in my eighth year and being a ‘veteran’ as well as Al [Horford] and [Aron] Baynes. Right now I think it would be nice if we had someone that was a 15-year vet, a 14-year vet that could kind of help us race along the regular season and understand it’s a long marathon rather than just a full-on sprint, when you want to play, when you want to do what you want to do.
Al Horford is in his 12th season. His team, the Hawks then Celtics, have made the playoffs every season of his career.
I’m not sure Irving intended this as a slight of Horford. Irving certainly didn’t forget about Horford, whom Irving mentioned the sentence prior.
But I’d definitely understand if Horford felt slighted. He’s experienced enough to provide that veteran leadership. So is Irving for that matter.
Ultimately, these comments might prove benign, just more weird words from Irving. Still, they’re potentially significant enough to keep an eye on Boston’s leadership situation.