Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said that every player who should be available to play on July 31 against the Phoenix Suns, will be.
Second-year swingman Troy Brown Jr. will take on a prominent role for the Wizards, as both a scorer and passer.
Without Bradley Beal (30.5 points per game, 3.0 made three-pointers per game) and Davis Bertans (15.4 points per game, 3.7 made three-pointers per game) for the NBA restart in Orlando, the offense will seemingly run through Brown.
Players like Rui Hachimura, Shabazz Napier and even Isaac Bonga will also have to step up.
Coaches and teammates have praised Bonga’s improvement since coming back from hiatus.
“We know his jump shot is a work in progress and that has improved since we got him last summer,” Brooks said. “But the thing I’ve seen during this time we’ve been back together is him being able to absorb contact being able to able to play through it. He was always knocked off of his spot because he didn’t have the strength, but now he seems to be able to knock players off when he has the ball in his hands going toward the basket … I really like what he’s done with all our workouts when we weren’t able to be together. You can tell that it has paid off. He’s growing up.”
Bonga’s fellow countryman from Germany, Moritz Wagner, is also impressed by how he trusts more in his game now.
“I think he just feels a lot more comfortable in his own skin and knows what he’s capable of doing and kind of realizes that he has a body that he can use to his advantage at his position,” Wagner said. “I think you can see that. I think he trusts his defense a lot. Once the game slows down and he develops a certain comfort level, just as it is with every young player, his skillset is just going to blossom even more.”
For the Wizards, the season restart will be more of an evaluation period, as they set their sights on the future, but if they were to somehow force a play-in and sneak into the playoffs, that would be a bonus, as the players would have more time to grow.