Knott: Wizards’ size problem is shrinking rapidly

To the notion the Wizards are too small, Ernie Grunfeld and his brain trust push back with the irrefutable breakdown that Brendan Haywood and Antawn Jamison will consume approximately 65 of the 96 minutes at the center and power forward positions.

That leaves 30 minutes to go to JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche, Dominic McGuire and a player to be added later.

The fear that somehow the Wizards have become the incredible shrinking team came about after Grunfeld dumped Etan Thomas, Oleksiy Pecherov and Darius Songaila to land two shooters, Randy Foye and Mike Miller.

The fear is misplaced, considering two of the departed sat on the end of the bench and the third wore cement shoes.

Wizards observers find it reassuring to have a do-nothing 7-footer sitting on the end of the bench, Grunfeld probably could lure Peter John Ramos back from Puerto Rico.

If you recall, Ramos was a captivating 7-foot-3 mascot in his two seasons with the Wizards. He would work on his 3-point shooting before each game and then exchange body bumps with the starters during pregame introductions before taking a well-deserved rest on the bench each night. Ramos scored a grand total of 11 points in the 2004-05 season, but they apparently were a high-quality 11 points.

The obsession with who is on the end of the bench - tall or short - is upside-down. Championships, after all, are not decided by 12th men.

“You play only eight or nine players most games,” Grunfeld said after the summer league team’s practice Saturday morning. “We’re very versatile now. We have at least three players at every position, and that’s what you want.”

Four holdovers - Javaris Crittenton, JaVale McGee, Dominic McGuire and Nick Young - will be playing in Las Vegas. A fifth, Andray Blatche, is expected to make a cameo appearance there.

The rest of the team’s summer league roster is filled with future nomads, the 10-day-contract brigade and the I-got-to-meet-Sam-Cassell types.

McGee, a 7-footer who has added 10 pounds of muscle to his lithe frame, is feeling more self-assured than he was at this time last year.

“I’m a lot more comfortable out there,” McGee said. “I’m not trying to rush things. I’m just going to keep working hard and do what I do.”

That means run the floor, block shots and play with considerable energy.

If McGee needs a role model, Grunfeld has provided one in Chris Anderson, the ink-stained whirlwind of the Nuggets.

The 21-year-old McGee is taller than Anderson but not nearly as flappable.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story
blog comments powered by Disqus