It’s no time to be satisfied.
Training camp was a good showing, but the true test is still ahead.
“Talk to me after training camp,” point guard Antonio Daniels said of his younger teammates. “They had a training camp but what the coaches want to see is how well you play in the exhibition game. We’re used to playing against each other, but once you put a different opponent in front of us, that’s when you really have to show up and show what we really learned in camp.”
As the Wizards returned to Verizon Center for practice Saturday - three days before their first preseason game - the tempo was just as brisk as those of the preceding week at Virginia Commonwealth University.
For the next month, Jordan has certain things he wants to see from his players:
cThe veterans to get “rhythm minutes.”
cThe entire team to develop defensive commitment.
cAnd the younger players to establish themselves as parts of the 10-man rotation.
The Wizards are likely to continue to carry the full training camp roster of 17 players for at least the next two or three games, continuing the competitive atmosphere of training camp while giving players a chance to further prove themselves.
“There has been competition at every position,” Jordan said. “Our forwards: Linton Johnson, Taj McCullough and Dominic [McGuire]. They’ve really been fighting each other and against Antawn [Jamison] and Caron [Butler]. We’ve had competition at every position, guard, center. But certainly [point guard] Dee Brown is really quick and brings something we haven’t had in a long time.”
With Brendan Haywood out for a week with a sprained wrist, Etan Thomas - making his comeback from last year’s heart surgery - and Andray Blatche will likely see the bulk of the time at center, while rookie JaVale McGee continues to learn on the job.
For Thomas, the increased playing time will help him continue to regain game fitness. And after Friday night’s scrimmage, Jordan said Blatche needs to continue to work on his footwork in the paint to become more effective at center.
The team has Sunday off, but Monday they’ll practice before flying to Dallas, where they’ll face the Mavericks on Tuesday. The pace won’t subside.
“It won’t be light,” Jordan said. “It’s going to be two hours of get-after-it practice. They’re going to have the day off Sunday and after every day off there’s some rust, believe it or not. So, shake off the rust, review some of our principles, scrimmage and get after it.”
After playing Dallas on Tuesday, the Wizards will face Memphis on the road Wednesday before hosting the Detroit Pistons in their lone home exhibition game.
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