The Wizards a short while ago concluded the first summer league minicamp practice session of the day, and will hold a second this evening, which will be closed to the media.
Leading the way today were Javaris Crittenton, JaVale McGee and Dominic McGuire. The fourth Wizards veteran, Nick Young, was out sick.
Crittenton and McGee both have been working hard to take the next step in their careers since shortly after the Wizards 19-63 season ended, and are eager to apply the lessons learned from the new coaching staff in a game setting.
McGee said he’s added 13 pounds of muscle to his 7-foot frame, weighing 250 pounds now, and said he’s much more comfortable this summer as oposed to his rookie summer league campaign where he felt like he “was really rushing everything in Vegas last year.”
On the trade that shipped out Etan Thomas and elevated McGee to No. 2 on the depth chart at center, the second-year big man said, “I feel like it was the team having confidence me, and I appreciate it and plan on not letting them down.”
Crittenton next season will be battling for minutes in a backcourt that includes three other point guards, but said the work he’s put in with Sam Cassell this summer already is beginning to pay off. Of aspects Cassell is helping him with, Crittenton said: “Shooting the ball consistently, being in topnotch shape, I’ve been hitting the weights, working with Sam every day. He’s been teaching me his old moves. He’s been teaching me the midrange and the mental aspects of being a point guard. Not just speed and handling the ball, but how to set players up and understanding who’s hot.”
Flip Saunders was asked about how he’ll juggle minutes for his back court, which features seven guards, but he said it’s not his problem.
“I don’t manage minutes, they do. Whoever can play, plays. If you can’t play, you don’t play,” Flip said. “And the bottom line as a player in the idea of a team is understanding that. But one thing, is we don’t have a lot of the same type of player. We don’t have duplicate players, they each have their own niche. So, at some point, who knows when, but at some point, everybody is going to have the opportunity to contribute to the team. Now, if we had a lot of players that duplicate themselves, then you would have a concern.”
The Wizards practice again this evening, have another two closed sessions tomorrow, then another practice open to the media on Monday.