What a professional athlete does to be the best and separate themselves from the rest is often what the fans can't see. It's the work behind closed doors, the work they do when they are alone in the gym, the tough, laser-focused mentality they have to push themselves. But sometimes it goes beyond that.
1. Bradley Beal played with heavy heart in Game 4 vs Pacers
His stat line was superb: 20 points, five rebounds, five assists, three steals.
But no one would have guessed that he played that game on no sleep, having been at his brother's side in the hospital the night before. Via CSNWashington:
Beal tried his best to keep it a secret, but eventually told coach Randy Wittman, only a couple of teammates and the training staff. He played on no sleep. "I had a down look on my face. I tried not to [show it] but couldn't really help it," he said. "I told a couple guys on the team, but they all understood. I told them this is important as well. My brother's health is important."
J. Michael's story about that night and the mutual love and respect that the brother's have for one another is more than worth giving a read.
2. John Wall making it known that he is the Wizards' leader
He's not just talking the talk. Now, he's walking the walk. And he's apparently been doing it from Day One of training camp.
Wittman on Wall's leadership: "Night & day from last year, he's been our most vocal guy and has been most energized guy out there." #WizCamp— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) October 3, 2014
It's cliché, yes, but when your all-star is the most vocal and energized player on the team you've got a good thing going. And when that all-star is leading a talented group that has a hunger to be the best, they will follow with the same intensity.
His backcourt mate shared some similar praise for Wall as well:
Beal on Wall's leadership: "He has been more vocal, and it's making a difference in how we play as a team..." #dcRising #Wizards #NBA @NBA— ChristyWintersScott (@ChristyWScott51) October 3, 2014
3. Otto Porter is sporting a new look this year
The kid is so confident that he has already decided to rock some sweet specs for the upcoming season. Okay, that's not the reason. But he did confirm that his new bespectabled look will continue into the regular season.
In his interview with Monumental Sports, he spoke about how camp has been going so far, what it's like to play with and learn from Paul Pierce, and why he decided to start wearing the rec-specs.
"Something new for my eyes to help out with my vision on the court. Something that my trainers wanted me to try and if it works, it works."
Asked if we can expect to see this look when the real games come around, Porter had this to say:
"Yeah, I'm wearing them through training camp to break 'em in so hopefully by the [time the] season come, I'll be used to 'em and doing everything with better vision."
Here's a sneak peak of his new look:
Otto talked w/ @DanPNolan about his new look at today's practice (VIDEO): http://t.co/DZoJKrLelj #WizCamp pic.twitter.com/0cvJTwfZot— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) October 3, 2014
Hey, whatever he thinks will help him on the court, I'm happy to embrace positive change, in whatever form. We need to best Porter out on the court this season and if that means a Porter with specs, I'm all for it.
Plus, I have to admit that it's actually a pretty cool look on him. He pulls it off. And the glasses shows that we may be a tough team but we probably also enjoy breaking a mental sweat, too. Ben Stiller would be proud.
For the rest of his responses and to get a look of Porter in action with his new look, check out the full Courtside Report with Monumental Sports after yesterday's practice here.
4. Paul Pierce tells Beal to get open
Pierce has been in the league long enough to know how to break a player down one-on-one or find another way to get his shot off. So he doesn't need anyone else's help.
Beal on Pierce: "he doesn't want me to set screens for him... He wants to get me open to score, & I'm not going to argue.." #Wizards #NBA— ChristyWintersScott (@ChristyWScott51) October 3, 2014
A couple things here. First off, I like it. Time spent for Beal to set a screen is time wasted not freeing himself open for a jumper or drive to the hoop should the ball eventually come his way. Plus, I prefer a big man setting that screen for Pierce and then rolling to the hoop than Beal.
Second, I like that Beal likes it. He wants to score. He wants the ball and he certainly likes that Pierce wants that for him as well. Nothing wrong with that.
Plus, who wouldn't want a guy with this form getting himself open to do this as much as possible?
Jumper still smooth @RealDealBeal23 #WizCamp pic.twitter.com/YYxKGvchZY— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) October 3, 2014
5. Daniel Orton showing nicely in training camp
While the stars of this team work on their chemistry, the tail end of the roster is doing everything they can to stay on it. So whether he ends up on the Wizards roster or not is one thing, but Orton is apparently turning some heads with his play thus far in training camp.
Daniel Orton is in much better shape than @ summer league. Got some compliments today after about 2:30hrs of practice #WizardsTalk #NBA— J. Michael (@JMichaelCSN) October 3, 2014
It's not going to be easy as a big man without a guaranteed contract to crack this already-loaded frontcourt roster, but Orton seemingly should be able to land somewhere in the NBA this season, according to J. Michael.
Orton is a finesse big who hasn't hurt himself from what I'm told. Won't be surprised if he ends up on somebody's roster #WizardsTalk #NBA— J. Michael (@JMichaelCSN) October 3, 2014
He averaged 4.4 points and 5 rebounds per game as a Wizard in the Las Vegas Summer League back in July.
6. Wizards cut roster down by two
The team sent out a press release last night announcing they had waived two players. The roster now stands at 18.
Goodbye Vander Blue and David Stockton. We hardly knew ye. Like, not very much at all.