- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Shelvin Mack never doubted there would an NBA season. The unfailingly positive Wizards rookie guard posted “think positive” on his Twitter account on a regular basis. Mack can’t wait to get to work with John Wall and bring home his first paycheck.

“I think me and John complement each other real well,” Mack said. “I know how to play off the ball.” The two recently began a workout together at Verizon Center at 3:30 am.

As for his first NBA paycheck, Mack said he was looking forward to it – a lot.

“You work so hard to get to this situation,” Mack said. “I’m blessed to be able to make it thorough the lockout injury-free. I just hope the hard work pays off.”

Mack also has worked out with Wizards rookie Chris Singleton, whom he’s known for a couple of years.

“I stayed in touch with Chris and a lot of other rookies on different teams [during the lockout]. We had a chance to go to Vegas and play together and do some other things together. We spent some time together two summers ago for maybe a good month,” Mack said.

The Wizards’ second-round pick, Mack will see some time at the one and the two, just like Jordan Crawford, but the Wizards guard rotation will remain in question until free agent Nick Young either re-signs or moves on.

Mack, who went to the NCAA championship games two seasons in a row with the Butler Bulldogs, admits he was disappointed that he slipped to the second round, where the Wizards selected him with the 34th overall pick.

Singleton knows that feeling all too well.

Singleton, who reached the Sweet Sixteen last season with the Florida State Seminoles, dropped to 18, after being projected as a lottery pick. Even a 149-day lockout hasn’t caused that memory to fade.

“I feel like it’s right after the draft now,” Singleton said. The memory still serves as motivation, which Singleton used to get ready for an unusual rookie season, a truncated 66-game sprint.

“Right after the draft, me and Shelvin had a chance to spend time with the coaches,” Singleton said.

“They basically told us what we can do to earn playing time. We went back and tried to work on that, in this off-period. They say training camp is going to be basically conditioning; I feel ready for that.”

The desire to prove the doubters wrong is just one more thing the two rookies have in common. Fortunately for Singleton and Mack, Wall isn’t a doubter at all.

“I think Shelvin can do great,” Wall said. “He’s a great, poised point guard. He knows about winning because Butler went to two Final Fours and he can shoot the ball very well.”

Chris, he can do it all. Even though he’s not a great shooter right now, he can do everything else. He’s a lockdown defender, to be 6-foot-8, 6-foot-9, and hit a three. He can run the floor, rebound — all those little things that you need when you play. I think he can really help us out a lot, too.”

The Wizards’ other rookie, Jan Vesely, who was chosen with the sixth pick, will be joining the team as soon as the buyout from his overseas contract has been completed and the team can arrange for his work visa.

As for his first NBA paycheck, Singleton agrees with Mack; he’s looking forward to it, too.

“I did a couple of things to get by,” Singleton said. “It’s good.”

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