Wizards Training Camp Quick Notes - This Team Practices Hard

Lisa Rotter/SB Nation

The evening practice for the Washington Wizards saw the team engage in a scrimmage which was attended not only by media, but also season ticket holders. People in attendance must have been pleasantly surprised by the performance they witnessed, as the ragged play of Midnight Madness was gone and in its place was a chippy match between three teams that involved...defense.

General Notes

  • The most vocal players on the court during scrimmage in terms of calling out plays during practice were Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong. Both were actively involved in directing players to their proper spots on the court and working on defensive positioning.
  • Gilbert Arenas caught an elbow from JaVale McGee at one point and had to leave the floor to get looked over. McGee looked extremely worried when he realized who he had tagged and then extremely relieved when Arenas returned to the floor later in practice. Arenas later engaged in a shooting contest with Lester Hudson (which he won), and Lester now has to buy Gilbert dinner.
  • Sean Marks hamstring tightened up during the afternoon and his participation was limited in evening practice.
  • The hand shake phenomenon continues as Nick Young has extremely convoluted and personalized handshakes for both Kevin Seraphin and Yi Jianlian. It may be early, but this team does seem to like each other, and Nick seems to be making an effort to integrate the new players into the team.

Players Who Stood Out

  • John Wall - Wall was simply put the best player on the court at all times on Wednesday night. In his two rotations during scrimmage he completed two alley-oops to JaVale McGee, came out of nowhere to block Al Thornton, and tore through the defense at will. And he is fast. You really have to see Wall in person to appreciate how quick he is, but he might actually have to slow down on pick and rolls as he is already at the basket before the center has completed his roll.
  • Lester Hudson - The second best player on the court was Lester Hudson, who rained threes and at one point broke Kevin Palmer's ankles on a crossover. It is too bad that Hudson is such a long shot to make the squad, because he has done everything possible during both Summer League and training camp to make a case for a spot. If Hudson can continue to to make shots from long range during camp and preseason, he might have a chance to catch on. However, behind Wall, Arenas, Hinrich, and Young there are probably not enough minutes for the Wizards to consider giving him a spot.
  • JaVale McGee - McGee not only had two wicked alley-oops thrown to him by Wall, but was actively involved defensively all night. It is early days yet, but it has to be encouraging to Wizards fans to see McGee willing to mix it up down low.
  • Hamady N'Diaye - N'Diaye demonstrated good positional awareness tonight, and found himself in position to finish a few times off of misses. Nothing blew me away about N'Diaye's performance, but he certainly demonstrated that he has a high motor and a good grounding in defensive fundamentals.

Players Who Disappeared

  • Yi Jianlian - This is probably unfair to Yi, as he was making a real defensive effort tonight. He mixed it up down low, and only rarely lost position against the other Wizards bigs. However, the isolation play that we saw Yi flash at the Worlds this summer was not on display tonight. Yi was content to spot up from 15 feet, and his shot was extremely flat, something that Flip noted after the game. However, Flip also noted that Yi is still recovering from injury and that some rust should be expected.
  • Kevin Seraphin - We all may need to take a deep breath about Seraphin. He has all the tools to be a very good NBA player, but he is extremely raw. He had trouble staying within the flow of the game during scrimmage and was often out of position. However the energy and the physicality are there, so it wouldn't completely surprise me if growth progressed quicker than anticipated.
  • Adam Morrison - I don't want to say any player was bad since it is only the second day of training camp, but Morrison did not good tonight. He looked much slower than the other players on the court, was stripped several times, and his shot wasn't falling. He very much looked like a player who was invited to to serve as a warm body during training camp rather than one competing for a roster spot. Hopefully, Morrison will turn it on the next few days of camp and preseason, but as it stands, I don't think he has the athleticism or skill set to earn a roster spot.

(More tomorrow)

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