With the NBA season right around the corner and training camp starting in a few days, the Washington Wizards seem to all believe in their high expectations this season. There was an overwhelming feeling of optimism and togetherness oozing from the team.
Media day, headlined by John Wall and Bradley Beal, was a success for the Wizards. Almost every player believes that this team can make the playoffs and the amount of leaders on this team is far more than year’s past.
When asked who the leaders on this team would be, Eric Maynor mentioned guys like Al Harrington, himself, and other guys on the team that would fill in. He showed a full belief in John Wall’s ability as a leader and a lead guard.
The team is fully invested in winning this season at all costs. Martell Webster made it clear that he would be willing to sacrifice in his minutes or play a lesser role if it meant that the team would win games. “I don’t really care about starting,” Webster said “I just care about contributing to this team.” This is the type of sacrifice that this team has needed for years and that they just haven’t been able to get out of any of their players.
The Wizards haven’t made the playoffs since 2008 because of the selfishness that engulfed the team. Players were on the floor playing for themselves and not playing to make each other look good. The same chemistry between this group of players just wasn’t here in 2009 and that is apparent.
After getting the five year, $80 million dollar extension that he had more leadership was to be expected from him. Still, it helps when your teammate’s give you there definite support. Martell Webster said that Wall is the maestro of the team and that he finally gets a chance to really lead. He said that there was a sense of urgency for everyone to step up and contribute to the team and the team obviously believes that.
Even from the vibe at media day, you could tell that this team is headed in a positive direction. The goal is for this team to pick up where they left off last season and be a playoff team and hopefully, in the future, a championship contender.
If Wall can play to the level that he was playing at at the end of last season then the Wizards will be in good shape. Bradley Beal put an emphasis on his ball handling this offseason so that he can become the second ball handler for the Wizards and that will only alleviate the offensive burden on John Wall even more.
As far as Wall goes, he said that he worked on his jump shot and his post game this summer. With the extra muscle that he’s built over the last few months, that should be put to good use.
Emeka Okafor said that his neck is coming along. There doesn’t seem to be much progress and we still don’t have any confirmation as to when he’ll return. Chris Singleton, who is out with a Jones Fracture in his left foot, said that he has to wait until his stitches are taken out in the next couple of weeks before he can start his rehab. The rehab process should take anywhere from three to four weeks and we could see him back on the floor if everything goes as planned.
The Wizards are in for one exciting season this year. The vibe around the team is something that basketball in this area has lacked for years, and as fans, we should love it.