The culture in Washington has changed dramatically from last season and Ish Smith believes the team the Wizards could be on a similar path to the one the Nets are on, as he told Hoops Rumors and other media in attendance after the team’s recent win over the Celtics.
“Brooklyn, I thought, did a great job of it last year. They’ve been doing a great job over the last two years – they haven’t had any true superstars, but now they do,” Smith said. “They’ve just been playing hard and guys have emerged out of nowhere.
“You look at Joe Harris; Joe Harris wasn’t a household name, now he is one. Spencer Dinwiddie, I can go down the line, all of those guys who played really, really well and held down the fort – and they made it to the playoffs last year. Obviously, D’Angelo [Russell] was a household name and everybody knew who he was, but I thought Brooklyn had laid that [foundation] down. We’re just trying to play hard, try to play smarter. We’re embodying who Coach [Scott] Brooks is. Coach Brooks is a fighter and that’s who he was his whole career. I think we’re doing a great job of doing that these last few games.”
The Wizards have had a stockpile of injuries and players without much brand recognition have stepped up. Here’s more on the unique squad out of Washington:
- The front office would like to promote Anzejs Pasecniks, who is on a two-way deal, to the 15-man roster, though good luck guessing which player would be waived if that happens. Gary Payton II‘s contract for the season became fully guaranteed on Tuesday, which makes the Wizards roster 15-for-15 in guaranteed contracts.
- Thomas Bryant could make his return to the court this weekend. The Wizards play the Hawks on Friday and the Jazz on Sunday.
- Wizards guard Jordan McRae spoke about how Smith, has impacted the club “Ish [Smith] is doing what Ish does. We’ve been going through droughts where we can’t score. Him being the point guard, him being the leader that he is, he’s taken it upon himself,” McRae said. We recently detailed how Smith is channeling his inner Steve Nash for the Wizards.
- Brook said there is no update on Garrison Mathews, who is dealing with an ankle sprain, Fred Katz of The Athletic relays on Twitter.