WASHINGTON -- There is a solid and well-supported argument that the best result of the 2019-20 season for the Washington Wizards would be a lottery pick. With John Wall recovering from a ruptured Achilles, they would likely be bounced quickly in the first round. So, might as well take your lumps and get another blue-chip prospect to build with for when Wall comes back.
The Wizards, though, have made things interesting recently by moving into ninth in the Eastern Conference where it appears certain at least one team will get in the postseason with a sub-.500 record. Though that would dash any hopes of a top pick, head coach Scott Brooks explained on Tuesday why that wouldn't be the worst thing for his young team.
"Any time you can get in the playoffs it's good," he said. "Any time you get in the playoffs, you're going to get experience. One, the pressure of a playoff game. Two, you're there and with a young team you're hopefully going to get there eventually, you might as well get there as quickly as you can."
Brooks pointed out how the Oklahoma City Thunder made the postseason in 2009-10, when he was coaching them, before most expected they would. That team, though, won 50 games and had already collected a host of top picks including Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. All three went on to win MVP awards.
The Wizards have a nice group of young players, including 2019 first-round pick Rui Hachimura, and they will add more this summer. But a top-five pick, for instance, would go a long way towards raising the team's long-term ceiling.
Brooks conceded that making the eight-seed only to get obliterated by the Milwaukee Bucks wouldn't impress many people. He likened it to tying a game in the NFL.
But he also illustrated what the Wizards' young players could take away from even a brief experience in the playoffs.
"Developing is creating winning habits," he said. "Definitely winning is important. You don't want to just keep developing and not have anything to show for it. We all want to win and that's the mentality that we have to have... The small details, they're important. You don't just start picking up the small details once you have a good team."
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