Independent voices from the TWT Communities
On paper, it wasn't exactly an inspiring matchup, the 22-loss Washington Wizards against the 23-loss Cleveland Cavaliers. The two Eastern Conference cellar dwellers squared off at Verizon Center on Wednesday night, and the Wizards trotted out their 11th starting lineup of the season.
When his phone rang late Saturday night, Shelvin Mack had no idea it would be from the team that let him go just before training camp, the Washington Wizards.
John Wall stood at the far end of the court as the Washington Wizards finished up the morning practice session on their final day at George Mason. With his feet firmly planted on the court, Wall put up shot after shot while a member of the team's training staff rebounded the ball for him.
Chris Singleton was his own worst critic after the Washington Wizards finished 20-46 last season. The lockout-shortened campaign deprived rookies Singleton, Jan Vesely and Shelvin Mack of a normal training camp and the opportunity to play a regular 82-game schedule.
After a rookie year with essentially no offseason to get adjusted to the professional game, Shelvin Mack is entering his second season with the Washington Wizards. He played in 64 of the 66 games last season, but now he is getting feedback from his coaches that was absent during 2011's NBA lockout.
John Wall knows all about pressure. Last season's No. 1 pick, Wall became the face of the Washington Wizards before his first day in uniform. In his second season, he found himself in the role of mentor to another rookie point guard, former Butler star Shelvin Mack.
A framed photo of the Larry O'Brien Trophy hangs in John Wall's locker. It was left there by its previous occupant, Antawn Jamison. The Wizards are a long way from being championship contenders, but Wall said he never considered taking the picture down.
The Wizards were at a distinct disadvantage Wednesday night against the Orlando Magic, playing not only the five opponents in white pinstriped jerseys, but the officials as well. The Magic went to the line 39 times to the Wizards' nine and still managed to keep the game close, losing 109-103 at Amway Center.
For John Wall, the Monday before Christmas was especially busy. After an early practice with the team, he got on a bus with Wizards teammates Shelvin Mack, Hamady Ndiaye and Jordan Crawford, along with a few Capitals players and team executives, and delivered gifts to three local families. Then it was off to the airport for a flight to Philadelphia for the final preseason game the following night.
Some fans look at the Washington Wizards and see a glass that's half full. Other fans look at the team and see a bare table, no glass at all.
As promised, Washington Wizards coach Flip Saunders mixed up his lineup, playing every combination imaginable.
Washington Wizards coach Flip Saunders didn't mince words when it came to the 103-78 drubbing his team received at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers during its preseason home opener at Verizon Center on Friday night.
Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis opened media day as expected Thursday, with an unfailingly positive attitude about the team and a forward-thinking attitude and approach to the upcoming season.
The three guards stood underneath the basket after the morning session of Day 5 of Wizards training camp Tuesday. They shot baskets, passed the ball and broke into laughter at each other's jokes.
The Washington Wizards will open the preseason on Friday Dec. 16 against the Philadelphia 76ers. Rookie Chris Singleton can't wait.
"I came out and played hard, we just didn't get the win today," Mack said. "It's a little different playing 40 minutes in the D-League and 40-minutes in the NBA. I felt like the offense was pretty good today, we just had a few mistakes. We have to move the ball and get some easy buckets in transition."
"They wanted to know where my head was and asked me if I would like to come back to the organization," Mack said in an interview Monday.