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Notes from the final day of Wizards training camp

The following items came during the media availability session following today's intra-squad scrimmage. There are a few interesting tidbits below but first a a few pictures.


Gilbert spent his time on the bench with a towel over his head.  Here he is sitting in between John Wall and Trevor Booker.


Here Arenas is sitting in between JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche.


A picture of the crowd following the end of the scrimmage.


JaVale was nearly nude after he finished signing autographs for the fans after the scrimmage.


  • According to Flip Saunders, now that Andray Blatche is going full speed, one of the objectives will be to get him on the same page as everyone else.

  • During the scrimmage Flip spent time talking with Blatche about his mistakes. Flip said, "he has some stupid fouls, if your going to be a main guy, a starter type, you can't have stupid fouls." He indicated that big guys in particular pick up fouls when fighting for position in the paint, so Blatche can not afford to pick up "fouls 50 feet from the basket, which he has a tendency to do."

  • Flip felt that Yi played a pretty good game. He felt that the last two days at camp, Yi was able to get "his legs underneath him and with that he has been a lot more lively shooting the ball and running the floor." While they haven't had a chance yet to play Yi, Blatche and McGee together, he does look forward to the opportunity to see how it will work.

  • Another player that he has felt has had a strong camp was Hilton Armstrong. Flip felt that he actually performed better than JaVale McGee.

  • The biggest area of concern that he has with JaVale is on the defensive boards. He said, "we have to get JaVale defensive rebounding, right now." He went on to say that JaVale has a lot of style plays, but he needs to focus on the fundamentals of the position. "With him we need more substance, than style. He's always been a style guy and we've got to get some substance out of that position," said Saunders.

  • Saunders was not disappointed that Arenas was unable to scrimmage. Initially, it sounded as if he was suggesting that Arenas had pulled a veteran move and developed a phantom injury to get out of practice. However, he later clarified that Gilbert that this was not the case and that Arenas did indeed sprain his ankle.

  • Flip indicated that if he had to decide today on his starting guards, and if based that decision solely on what he has seen in camp, then Wall and Hinrich would be his starters. He said, "Wall and Hinrich have been our two best players in camp overall. If we were to go today those two guys would probably start because of how they performed in camp."

  • When asked about his impressions of the team as they broke training camp, Flip responded by saying, "what I thought we had, we have. What I thought we were, we are." Pressed further he said, "Great energy. Play hard. Very good quickness. Have length. [We] got to continue to work on rebounding, that's going to be a big key for us."

  • Saunders was asked if a players rebounding ability (or lack thereof) would influence the final roster cuts. He said, "no, because our rebounders are the ones on guaranteed contracts, pretty much. That has no bearing."

  • He liked being on GMU's campus for training camp, because they were away together but in an environment where the players could walk back and forth to the Patriot Center. "Even though one of them [Al Thornton] got hit by a car," he said.

  • When asked if Tuesday's pre-season game against Dallas would be a good test for JaVale given Brendan Haywood and Caron Butler's familiarity with him. Saunders said, "I don't know." He felt that JaVale can not worry about who he is playing. He said, he [JaVale] knows what he has to do, he just has to go out and do those things. No matter if he is playing against someone who knows him or not."

  • Flip Saunders felt that the biggest surprises in camp were Hilton Armstrong and Lester Hudson. Saunders felt that Armstrong was better offensively than he thought. Specifically, he felt that Armstrong "shot the ball better" and "handled the ball better" than he expected. Conversely, he was not surprised by Lester Hudson's performance per se. He is pleasantly surprised that he has been able to continue what he showed during the summer. Saunders believes that Lester has shown the "ability to compete and make shots."

  • Based on his previous praise of Hilton Armstrong, I specifically asked if Armstrong had done enough to be his starter. Saunders responded by saying, "I don't know, we'll have to see. That's what pre-season's going to do. Pre-season will determine who is going to play. The best thing about it, I don't determine who is going to play. They do by how good they play. If you play good enough and your better than the guy you're going against, then you play. And that's how it goes."

  • Saunders felt that Kevin Palmer has played pretty well during camp. However, he indicated that the "numbers game" will likely leave Palmer without a roster spot. Saunders said that Palmer is "competing and no matter what happens, he will be able to build off of this."

  • Yi Jianlian's achilles feels good and his body feels great following his time this summer with the Chinese National team. He said that he is getting comfortable with his teammates and looks forward to the pre-season games as they will help the team continue to build chemistry.

  • While it hasn't always been seen on the court, JaVale McGee is at least saying the right things when it comes to rebounding. He said that he is focusing on "boxing out, trying to find bodies and if I am not going to get the rebound just making sure my man doesn't get the rebound."

  • McGee is thankful for his battles with Armstrong during camp, who he describes as a "strong player." He feels that going against a person like Armstrong in camp will better prepare him to play against players like Dwight Howard and Shaquille O'Neal.

  • JaVale McGee was most animated when discussing his 2K11 rating. A member of the media asked if he was happy with his rating and he said, "I'm not happy about it." He went on to say, "I was playing it yesterday. I'm a 25 in layups [incredulous look on his face]. Like I can't make layups. Everybody else is like an 80 and I am a 25." He said that his dunk rating is a 95. "I have the highest [rating] on dunks, but I can't lay it up," McGee said. On other 2K Sports related news. He also mentioned that he did not send the company any nasty emails. He said that he "made a statement via Twitter and people kept retweeting it and it got to 2K Sports."

  • Lester Hudson was asked about his ability to come off the bench and make a difference right away. He pointed out that he has often come of the bench in his career so that "whenever I come into a game, I want to make an impact."

  • Ultimately Hudson said that he wants to show the coaching staff that he "can be an all-around player." He wants to prove that he is not just a scorer, but can make plays for his teammates and "play defense."

Lastly, just in case you have not seen it online, here is the video highlights of the scrimmage.  Take a look at the 1:16 mark for John Wall's sick 360 layup.