After giving his team the day off yesterday, Flip Saunders ran his Wizards through a lengthy practice today as they prepare for Tuesday’s season opener in Dallas.
“I think you’re excitement always goes up another level, from when you’re playing summer time to preseason, preseason to regular season, regular season to playoffs, and every round of the playoffs gets more intense,” Saunders said. “It’s just part of the whole process and everyone’s more excited. Now it’s no holding back.”
Now that there will be no holding back, Saunders will pair down his rotation, and he said he “pretty much” has in his mind who will have in that rotation. He doesn’t know about his starting shooting guard yet, but, it’s a safe bet that that job is now down to Mike Miller and DeShawn Stevenson.
Saunders said he’s pretty pleased with the progress his players have made, but the one glaring problem that has surprised him have been the number of turnovers the Wizards have committed.
Part of that comes from over-eagerness, the coach said, and it also stems from his players trying to do too much rather than keeping things single.
“We’ve turned the ball over a lot, we’ve tried to make a lot of homerun plays. That’s the biggest thing to get them out of, just trying to get them to make the easy plays,” Saunders said. “You’re trying to make something happen, but some time as I call it, the hockey assist, is just as important as the assist itself.”
Antawn Jamison was at practice, doing work off on the side to maintain his conditioning. He doesn’t look like a guy with a bum shoulder as he did a series of standing jumps onto a box and swung his arms upward during the jumping motion. He walked along the sideline while Gilbert Arenas and Mike Miller were going through shooting drills and tried to discretely get Arenas to give him a ball, but the guard didn’t. Jamison smiled and walked off.
The Wizards will go at it again tomorrow and then fly to Dallas where they’ll open the season at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.