Wizards

Exclusive Sitdown with Wizards Assistant Coach Cody Toppert

on

I recently had the pleasure to sit down with Washington Wizards assistant coach and Capital City Go-Go head coach Cody Toppert. We talked about his playing career, and his coaching experiences leading up to his recent appointment in the Wizards organization.

We also discussed, in length, the Wizards roster. In particular, the development of 2022 lottery selection Johnny Davis, Jordan Poole‘s impact as a leader, and Kyle Kuzma‘s emergence as an All-Star-caliber player.

Check out the full interview below!

Cody Toppert made his first break as a coach when he was appointed the head coach of Northern Arizona Suns ahead of their first season in the G League. He became well known for his run-and-gun style of coaching, which allowed his team to break the G League record for most three-pointers made per game (14.9).

He credits former coach and NBA legend Michael Cooper on teaching him the importance of pace and space, citing that he was “ahead of his time”.

His also led the league in NBA call-ups, with five players making the jump from the G League.

After the season, he was called up to the Phoenix Suns as an assistant coach alongside Igor Kokoskov. During his time there, Toppert spent significant time with their young core of Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges and Dragan Bender.

He recalled a particular moment in which he knew Booker would be special;

“Going into the season, he had damaged the webbing in his hand… he had a surgical procedure on his right hand (his shooting hand) that kept him out for two months… all he could use was his off hand. He continued to come to practice and dominate, using just his left hand, for two months.”

After that season, Kokoskov was let go, along with his staff. Toppert then took an assistant gig at the University of Memphis alongside Penny Hardaway.

In 2023, Toppert took the head coaching job at the G League’s Capital City Go-Go, which came with a coaching role in the Wizards organization. In this time, he worked extensively with young players, particularly Johnny Davis.

When asked about Davis, a former top-ten pick who has yet to live up to the expectations, Toppert called for calm on the expectations for the former Wisconsin star;

“I don’t think as an organization, we are as worried about production as we are fit. We don’t need him to try to go and be Jordan Poole. (In Johnny Davis) We are looking for someone who can defend, give relentless effort, a good cutter. Those are the things we are focused on with Johnny.”

We later touched on the arrival of Jordan Poole, and the impact of having a proven winner around such a young team. Despite external accusations of being selfish, or of being potentially immature, Toppert was singing his praises.

“I think he’s invaluable (to this team). He’s been able to take the example from guys like Steph (Curry), and Klay (Thompson). He’s taken the opportunity to use what he learned from those guys to slide into a leadership role with our younger group… The difference between the beginning and end of the year in terms of timeouts, encouraging guys is stark. He really grew.”

He also cited that Bilal Coulibaly is the person he is most excited to see;

“I don’t want to put any extra pressure on by saying he’s going to be an All-Star by x year, but Bilal is great. His attitude is fantastic, he’s a great two-way guy… man, he’s just really good.”

After a tough 2023-24 season, the Wizards will now look ahead to May 12 for the 2024 NBA Draft Lottery where they hold a 14% chance at landing the No. 1 overall pick for this year’s selections.

About Nic Thomas

Recommended for you

Powered by themekiller.com