Here is a breakdown of everything you need to know from the Washington Wizards’ second day of training camp at their new practice facility. Scott Brooks described the extended practice with lots of scrimmaging competitive among all three units.
- Dwight Howard (sore back) and Austin Rivers (neck spasms) did not participate in practice. Howard will be “probably a couple more days before we really see how he feels,” according to Brooks. Rivers is feeling much better than he did yesterday when the injury first propped up and should be making a return to the practice court in the next couple practices.
- Despite Howard not getting on the court with Wall yet, the latter is not worried about him specifically developing chemistry with the future Hall of Famer: “For me, it’s going to be easy. I think for everybody else trying to figure out where he’s going to be. For me, I drive, kick, throw lobs. Passing is easy to me.”
- DPS: Defense, Pace, and Sharing. That is what Brooks is preaching to his team during training camp. From a pace perspective, Wall wants his team to get the ball over halfcourt with 19 and 20 seconds on the shot clock instead of 14 and 15 seconds to allow the team to get to their third and fourth options if necessary. Brooks is stressing to his team that even if an individual player only gets an easy bucket every 10 sprints down the court, everyone needs to be running together to make the attack effective.
- John Wall says the returning group still has a “salty” taste in their mouth returning from a disappointing season and says that has translated to a more focused group.
- The Wizards will plan on only switch 1 through 4 this season after 1 through 5. Wall admitted that last season the team put their centers in poor positions by switching 1 through 5, which was a root of things going bad with Marcin Gortat. Washington hopes that letting Dwight Howard and Ian Mahinmi roam in the paint will lead to better rim protection.
Wall on the team’s poor individual defense last season: “All that is is pride. If you are guarding someone one-on-one, you got to have pride in stopping your man. If you don’t have pride and you are letting your man get right by you, waiting for the weak side to always come help, your putting someone else in a bad situation. You should only get help if you need help. Take pride in guarding your man one-on-one and if you can’t stop him, maybe you don’t need to play. … We was terrible at it [last year]. That’s why we did a lot of one on one play in practice and some guys would be out there for 10 minutes until they get a stop.”
- Washington Mystics point guard Kristi Toliver continues to serve as an assistant/development coach for the Wizards during training camp and her contributions are noted.
- Markieff Morris is excited to enter training camp completely healthy after struggling last year coming off of hernia and groin surgeries. Ian Mahinmi is taking the bulk of the minutes at center with Howard out but, “we gonna implement me at center” in a couple more practices according to Morris.
- In a time where Brooks is pleading with his team to take more three-pointers, Morris knows that he has to stop taking as many mid-range jump shots as he does. Last season, he attempted 83 shots inside the arc greater than 16 feet. The power forward converted on just 33.7 percent of those compared to his career-best 36.7 percent from three. Here is his shot chart from 2017-18 from Basketball-Reference.
- Brooks wants Otto Porter to be more of a vocal leader because “when he talks, he’s a smart player, he knows how to play, he knows what we want.” The head coach also praised Bradley Beal for showing up two hours before practice as well as Wall (after roasting him first).