Wizards training camp: Big men and the 15-foot jump shot

Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

How do the Washington Wizards plan on compensating for not having a stretch 4? From the sounds of it, the high post will be key.

FAIRFAX -- If there's one thing that stuck out at me at my first Washington Wizards training camp practice, it was the way Randy Wittman talked about how he envisions his big men fitting in together offensively. The Wizards could have potentially found a three-point shooting big this summer. They didn't, and because of that, Wittman is emphasizing a certain kind of spot on the floor.

"All our bigs need to continue to [hit the 15-foot jump shot]," Wittman said.

Focus away from the specific distance for a second and think about this conceptually. When Wittman mentions the 15-foot jump shot, he's probably suggesting that his big men need to be able to play in the high post. By playing his big men in the high post, Wittman can improve the Wizards' overall spacing, mask the team's lack of three-point shooting and open up a whole new set of plays that his team can execute.

But for all that that to work, the big men need to be a threat with their jumper.

"We don't necessarily have what you call a 'spread 4' on this team," Wittman said. "So those guys -- Jan [Vesely], Nene, those guys, Kevin [Seraphin] -- are going to get that shot."

That means everyone, from Seraphin to Nene to Emeka Okafor, will have to spend time in the high post. This may be an adjustment for several player -- the trio of Seraphin, Vesely and Okafor, for example, combined to attempt just 225 shots from 10-23 feet last season, according to HoopData -- but the parties involved think they can handle it.

"I worked on that most of the summer," Trevor Booker said. "That's pretty much the thing I focused on. I feel pretty comfortable taking it, and they obviously want me taking it a lot this season."

"I'm very comfortable [playing out on the floor]," Okafor said. "I've always been able to shoot. With Randy's offense, I'll be able to show that more."

It remains to be seen if the Wizards' big men can consistently make teams pay from that distance, but it certainly makes sense strategically.

(More coverage of today's practice to come).

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