Brooks: Wizards are 'trending in the right direction'

It's been a dramatic few weeks for the Washington Wizards, as trade rumors, reports of fights at practice and Dwight Howard's lingering injury have garnered national headlines.

But winners of four of their last six, the Wizards have momentarily steadied the ship, and Scott Brooks believes his team is getting back on track to contend for the playoffs. 

"Things aren't as bad as I feel, as we feel. We just have to keep chipping away," Brooks said during an appearance on The Junkies Wednesday, presented by Greenberg & Bederman. "We're getting a little bit better: we're playing a little better defense, we're making some shots."

"We're only a game and a half out of the playoffs," he continued. "We got a lot of work to do, and I feel like we are trending better, in the right direction. We just gotta keep it going." 

"Making shots is critical for us, and I've realized that early on. We make shots, we play better defense. It shouldn't work that way, but it has, and hopefully we can get on a nice roll here on the road."

As with most NBA teams, the Wizards go as their superstars go, and Brooks has seen improvement from his All-Star backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal. 

"They have. They definitely have, and we need them to play well," he said. "It's gonna happen, I don't know when, (Beal)'s gonna make 45 to 50-percent of his threes. The guy is such a knockdown, pure shooter, and he's shooting I think 33-percent for the year."

"That's eventually gonna take place, but he's playing an all-around floor game, which we need. But let's face it: when those two play well, we're tough to beat."

Wall will miss Wednesday night's road tilt with the Hawks due to "personal reasons," likely giving Austin Rivers a start at point guard.

Rivers is one of several players, including Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter, Brooks wants to get more out of as the season continues.

"We need to get Austin going. Austin hasn't had the start that we need him to have," Brooks told The Junkies. "Kelly had a breakout game last game, hopefully he can keep playing well."

"Definitely, we need more out of (Porter). There's some nights you're riding him, then there's some nights there's not a lot. ... The thing I always look at: is he rebounding? If Otto rebounds, he usually is in the game and has a good game."

 "If he can get seven to eight rebounds a game, it puts us in a better position because that's one of our weaknesses. We struggle rebounding the basketball."

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