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Brooks: John Wall sets career pace despite knee surgeries holding him back

Brooks: John Wall sets career pace despite knee surgeries holding him back

The streaks are piling up for the Wizards, nine wins in a row at Verizon Center and eight of their wins this season coming back from double-digit deficits. It's not ideal and a lot of the latter has to do with slow starts defensively when opponents score 30 or more points in the first quarter. 

But coach Scott Brooks pointed to one key area for their revival going into Tuesday night's game vs. the Chicago Bulls: John Wall. 

Although most of the country doesn't recognize not only what he's doing from a statistical standpoint, evident by Wall being just seventh among East guards in All-Star voting, but the context in which he's doing it. Wall had surgeries to both knees May 5 after he averaged 19.9 points and 10 rebounds in a 41-41 2015-16 season. Now he's at a career high 23.1 points per game, 10.1 assists (0.1 off a career-high), 4.4 rebounds and a career-high 2.3 steals. He's also shooting 46.6% from the field (also a career-high) and has 22 double-doubles which far outdistances any guard in his conference.

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"I always give a lot of praise to players that put  (themselves) out there when they’re not NBA ready 100 percent. He had the two knee surgeries over the summer. His first practice was October 7th. He was working himself into shape while we were playing games for real. A lot of players don’t do it," Brooks said after Monday's afternoon practice session. "You hear it a lot, 'I’m not coming back until I’m 1,000 percent ready.’ We’re not going to put anybody out there if they’re not physically ready but you still have to get past being game ready, being in shape and playing through the conditioning that you need. He has done that."

Given what has happened with Derrick Rose as of Monday night, Brooks' perspective could be even more appropriate (Note: He was not referring to Rose or any other player other than Wall so the timing here was pure coincidence). Rose, who had a checkered history when with the Chicago Bulls of holding himself out of games after knee surgery, didn't report to Madison Square Garden for a game with the New York Knicks. The reasons remain unclear. If this turns out to be a voluntary decision and that he didn't clear it with the team first, it would be nothing short of stunning.

Rose, too, is among the six East guards ahead of Wall in All-Star voting. Wall had 10 double-doubles in December. That's nine more than Rose has had all season, and Wall was on an early-season minutes restriction and held out from both games of back-to-backs. 

"He hit is stride in early December. Now he lost some weight that he gained when he wasn’t able to do anything and he’s down to his fighting weight and he’s playing well," Brooks said. "He’s moving well. He’s making shots. He’s locking up defensively. When John has good games for us, he’s one of the best defending point guards in the league. It’s a hard position to defend with so many great point guards offensive minded and every team is built on 70 or 80 pick-and-rolls each game."

The Wizards began 2-8. Wall has led them back to 18-18 and they have a chance to be over .500 for the second time this season. It would be the first time they get over that hump since they were 6-5 on Nov. 24, 2015. They had four chances only to fail last season at 14-14, 19-19, 30-30 and 35-35.

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Wizards' Markieff Morris to have surgery, miss start of training camp

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USA Today Sports

Wizards' Markieff Morris to have surgery, miss start of training camp

The Wizards will be without starting power forward Markieff Morris for the start of training camp, as Morris is due for surgery to repair a sports hernia on Friday.

The Wizards begin training camp on Tuesday, Sept. 26 in Richmond, Va.

Their first preseason game is on Oct. 2 and they begin their regular season schedule on Oct. 18 at home against the Sixers.

That should give Morris several weeks to recover before the season begins.

ROSTER OUTLOOK: WHY MARKIEFF MORRIS IS THE X-FACTOR

Morris, 28, is entering his third season with the Wizards and has become a key cog in their starting lineup. He averaged 14.0 points and 6.5 rebounds during the 2016-17 season, as the Wizards won 49 games and their division for the first time since the 1970s.

If he misses time, whether in the preseason or regular season, the Wizards will have to turn to backups Jason Smith and Mike Scott. Depending on the situation, it could call for more small-ball lineups with Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre, Jr. playing together at the forward positions.

The Washington Post first reported the news..

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Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Will Tomas Satoranksy's role expand in his second year?

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USA Today Sports

Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Will Tomas Satoranksy's role expand in his second year?

As part of CSN's preview for the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we preview Tomas Satoransky's season...

Player: Tomas Satoransky

Position: Point guard/shooting guard

Age: 25

2016-17 stats: 57 G, 12.6 mpg, 2.7 ppg, 1.6 apg, 1.5 rpg, 0.5 spg, 0.1 bpg, 41.5 FG%, 24.3 3P%, 69.7 FT%, 44.6 eFG%, 101 ORtg, 111 DRtg

2017-18 storyline: Four years after the Wizards picked Satoransky in the second round of the 2012 draft, he finally joined the team for his rookie NBA season in 2016-17. A lot had changed about the Wizards roster in that time, as Satoransky joined a playoff-ready team as their third point guard.

Satoransky's rookie season saw him play inconsistent minutes and not always at point guard, the position he is most comfortable with. That may end up being his full-time role once he carves his niche in the NBA, but for now versatility to play multiple positions appears to be the key for Satoransky to earn more playing time.

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Head coach Scott Brooks has spoken about it several times this offseason and so have members of the front office. They would like to see Satoransky, who is 6-foot-7 and very athletic, to get more comfortable playing shooting guard and small forward. Basically, he needs to be more valuable off the ball. Satoransky is used to being the primary ball-handler, but with John Wall on the roster those opportunities will be always few and far between. Now with Tim Frazier in store, Satoransky remains down the depth chart.

In order to fit into the plan Brooks and others have described, Satoransky will need to continue working on his outside shooting and help defense. He can still make an impact with his passing ability and speed up and down the court even if he isn't playing point guard. It will just take an adjustment from what Satoransky has long been used to. Once he gets more comfortable, Satoransky will be fun to watch. He's one of the Wizards' most athletic players, he just hasn't been able to fully show it in NBA games.

Potential to improve: Outside shooting, scoring efficiency, defensive versatility.

MORE WIZARDS' ROSTER PREVIEWS:

Can John Wall take another step after earning All-NBA?

Is this the year Bradley Beal becomes an All-Star?

What is the next step in Otto Porter's development?

Markieff Morris can be an X-factor this season

Will Marcin Gortat's role change or be the same this year?

Will Kelly Oubre, Jr. make a big leap this season?

Can Ian Mahinmi make a bigger impact in his second season?

Will Tim Frazier be the solution at backup point guard?

Jodie Meeks could make big impact off bench

Mike Scott can add toughness to Wizards' bench

Jason Smith's improvement as a shooter should help Wizards bench

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