The Wizards held practice today and the most notable occurrence was that Gilbert Arenas has returned to full speed practice and did not appear to be limited in any way physically. It should be noted that during the time that the media was allowed onto the practice court the guards and small forwards were running a fairly informal scrimmage. None of the players involved in the proceedings were going at full speed and the action was pedestrian at best.
But I know that BF community is not going to just take my word for it, so I will provide you with proof! (My apologies for my Blair Witch style footage, I obviously need to to stop drinking so much coffee.)
Yeah, not very exciting stuff.
The real action of the day took place on the other end of the court where Gene Banks was working with the Wizards cadre of centers. The four players involved (Yi, McGee, Blatche, Armstrong) were working on their one on one games and some really interesting conclusions can be drawn from what I witnessed. Also, be sure to look along the far wall where Flip Saunders and John Wall can be seen talking to each other. It seems that these two have developed a really good rapport in a limited time.
But first, let's go to the video tape:
and now a nice serving of Yi:
Thoughts on what I witnessed after the break.
- You can see why GMs are continually enamored with Yi Jianlian. During practice, Yi basically demolished everyone he faced on the defensive end. Watching Yi continually break down his man off a few dribbles and cut to the basket, or upfake and hit the jumper makes you question why his play doesn't always translate to games. It's a shame, because his offensive instincts look great inside a vacuum.
- You can also see why there is so much love for Hilton Armstrong on the coaching staff. This was my third Wizards practice, and between that and the preseason games, Armstrong is always the first person on the court and one of the last to leave. We can question his skill set, but his work ethic is without reproach.
Three people came out to talk with the media today: Cartier Martin, Flip Saunders, and Andray Blatche. Martin once again seemed surprised that we wanted to talk to him and was very humble in describing his heroics from last night. He insisted that as a role player that it was his job to ready at any point and made a special point of praising John Wall for trusting his teammates.
Flip spoke briefly about Gilbert Arenas and noted that while Arenas practiced at full speed today, his prognosis for Friday's game was still in doubt. He then went on to cover the MSG situation which I have covered in an earlier post.
And then there was Andray Blatche:
On his explosiveness:
It's been four months. I haven't been on the court for four months so that's tough. I lost some of my rhythmn and I'm still trying to gain it back. I'm taking it one game at a time, but once I get it I'm going to be back to the same player I was last year.
On confidence as a team going forward:
I told y'all, it's going to be a building block. We are going to get better and better every game....because we're trying to reach the playoffs, we're trying to do some things and we're trying to shock some people.
On attacking the basket:
Y'know, I had some talks with the coaches...I was looking at game film. I told myself I'd start taking it to the rim until my shot came back, and once my shot come back I'll switch it up and go in and out.
On forcing shots (and whether he forced them):
No. Not at all. I told y'all I'm going to continue to be aggressive. If you're being aggressive you're not forcing nothing. As long as you're being aggressive and going the the hold then that's not forcing.
On the Dougie:
I told him we better get this win. You can't Dougie out and then lose. He did the Dougie and we got the win, so that's cool with me.
Blatche also noted that he was just getting over a cold. So we shall see if his play improves on Friday.
Enjoy the last embers of our victory and....GO WIZARDS!