Portland Leaves the Wizards Answering Questions About Effort | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Portland Leaves the Wizards Answering Questions About Effort

Updated: November 19, 2018

Another day, another Wizards blowout loss. Seven of their 11 losses on the season have been by double digits and the Wizards unfortunately boast the fifth-worst point differential in the entire NBA at minus-5.9. They keep saying all of the right things after their losses, in terms of what they need to do to be better, but they fail to apply the lessons on the court.

The team has talked about defending the 3-point line better, but they still allowed Portland to connect on seven 3s in the first quarter alone, including this mesmerizing play that had seven passes and led to a wide-open trey attempt:

This lack of attention to detail led to the Wizards’ 20-point deficit in the first quarter, which Scott Brooks did not appreciate at all. “We got to just play with more enthusiasm, more effort, more energy. That’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing,” Brooks said about the team allowing the Blazers to jump out on them in the first quarter.

The team has talked about communicating better on defense, yet they are constantly getting beaten backdoor for layups. They have discussed putting forth consistent 48-minute efforts, yet the lack of such was once again a point of contention for Brooks. When asked after the game if the Wizards had a leadership problem, Brooks responded “No, there’s a ‘play hard’ issue.”

The Wizards had difficulty staving off the Trail Blazers’ early run to start the game and even when the team was able to cut back into the lead, the Blazers would respond with yet another run.

The Wizards cut the Blazers’ 20-point first quarter lead to five points in the second quarter, then relinquished a 23-7 run to end the first half and trailed 62-41 at halftime. The Wizards’ inconsistent ebb and flow could be traced back to the starters, who simply did not play with the same energy of the bench players–which contributed to Coach Brooks decision to stick with the reserves during their attempted comeback in the fourth quarter.

Brooks felt the bench deserved to finish the game because of how hard they played:

“They deserved to play, and they deserve to play more… I like the way they played. It was a great effort. They did it against their second team then they brought in their stars and they still competed. You win in this league by competing. You lose in this league by not competing. It’s hard to win a game, but if you’re not going to win the game by not competing. And we did that in that fourth quarter.”

Brooks didn’t stop there when referring to his team having to compete: “No team in this league can win games if you don’t compete for your teammates, and I gotta find five guys that are willing to do that.”

While Scott Brooks has been rigid with his starting lineups and rotations during his tenure as the Wizards head coach, the frustration with his players is beginning to grow and he has already made adjustments in dispersing his minutes. During the Wizards three-game winning streak last week, Brooks sat Otto Porter in the fourth quarter  and played Jeff Green and Kelly Oubre due to their energetic contributions.

Just as he did at the start of last season, Oubre once again has the freedom to be aggressive with his shot selection as one of the focal points of the second-unit. Oubre is bringing a high-effort level on a daily basis and he believes that has resulted in increased playing time.

“Honestly, I try to bring consistent effort each and every day [and] I think a lot of guys do the same. Sometimes it ebbs and flows, so sometimes it gets too high or gets too low, and it kind of hurts us sometimes,” Oubre said when asked about the bench’s play in their comeback effort. Oubre also agreed with Brooks’ decision to play the bench players at the end of the game: “I think Coach [Scott Brooks] is right on about the guys who kind of came into the game at the end we’re very excited and energetic to play. That’s kind of the result we got.”

Bradley Beal was disappointed with the effort from the starters, but complimented the reserve unit for playing hard: “It was terrible. The guys who were in it at the end of the game played their asses off – played the way that we’re supposed to play the whole game and we didn’t do that.”


Troy Haliburton on Twitter
Troy Haliburton
Troy Haliburton is a native Washingtonian, and graduate of Gonzaga College High School and Morehouse College. Bylines on bylines on bylines.

Will write for food.