After the long summer, the Washington Wizards finally held their Media Day on Monday at the MedStar Wizards Performance Center in Congress Heights, D.C. The morning flew by quite quickly so let’s get to it.
Scott Brooks is looking forward to working with a younger squad
Before we get to the social shareable content, let’s get to the press conferences.
Washington’s training camp officially starts tomorrow, but many of the players have effectively been working out at Congress Heights for four weeks. This is a marked change from previous years, where players generally came in about a week before camp.
There are some players who will not be practicing during training camp. John Wall, Isaiah Thomas and Troy Brown are out. Ian Mahinmi is also out due to Achilles pain. YIKES!
Brooks also mentioned where he sees Rui Hachimura, who’s a tweener forward between the small and power forward positions. H
There are also three starting spots “open” this season. The point guard and both forward positions are up for the taking given multiple injuries on the roster.
Rui Hachimura embraces his opportunity in Washington
Hachimura noted that he wanted to help the Wizards in any way he could. He also mentioned that he would like to see them make the playoffs if possible. The most important part he wanted to improve on is “learning” the game. By that, he appears to be talking about the mental aspects as opposed to just the outputs of shooting and rebounding.
As a major Japanese star, he is also happy to see the outreach Washington is doing to cultivate fans who live there. Though Hachimura is excited to represent Japan and playing on their national team, he is more focused on making an impact in the NBA now that the season is here.
Bradley Beal wants to remain humble while leading, feels pressure from other local sports teams
The running narrative of the Wizards this season is that Bradley Beal is the only legitimate contributor on the team.
Beal doesn’t see things that way. He believes that the Wizards still have multiple veterans who can help show younger players the ropes of being an NBA veteran, noting that John Wall will be around the team even though he will probably sit out this season due to an Achilles injury.
Though Beal is noted for being a quiet player, he noted that Hachimura was even quieter. Someone needs to get him to talk more, right?
As one of the D.C. area’s top sports figures, Beal acknowledges that he feels some pressure from the Mystics and Capitals to perform well on the court. As teams owned by Ted Leonsis, Beal feels that the pressure will be on the Wizards to deliver a championship soon, especially if the Mystics win the Finals in a week. He is also happy to see the Nationals and D.C. United making the playoffs.
Finally, if you are wondering what Beal has to say about his three-year, $111 million contract extension, he is in NO rush to decide.
What were some fun pics from the day?
If there’s something that I find interesting, basketball players, as fit as they are, are just like us.
Monumental’s PR team offered Chick-fil-A for lunch. Reporters were certainly quick to grab a free sandwich. Players were looking to grab a bite too!
Media Day photos are also something interesting to look at. You have players going in a loose line, being told to smile, told to look like they are about to dunk the basketball, dribble and more.
The Wizards love the Mystics. A lot!
There’s a side of me that wants the place to be called the MedStar Mystics Performance Center. That’s because ... they are just two wins from winning the WNBA Finals and play at the adjoining Entertainment and Sports Arena. They’ve been firing on all cylinders on the court AND behind the scenes.
The Wizards are also doing what they can to take a page out of their playbook as a team that plays together as one unit, especially on offense.
John Wall also spoke to the media where he went in depth on why he loves watching them play. While he mentioned that Elena Delle Donne is a superstar talent, Wall also appreciates the fact that the Mystics don’t have weaknesses and is as much of an Ariel Atkins-stan as the rest of us.
Scott Brooks also mentioned in his press conference that he intends on seeking more input from the Mystics coaching staff and vice versa. It’s something that Monumental Basketball’s philosophy of shared services and team collaboration are all about.
Finally, you may be wondering if the Mystics were around during Wizards Media Day. Of course they were around! Elena Delle Donne walked around the court in her practice uniform. Tianna Hawkins was in the Team Lounge before the team practiced later yesterday afternoon. And LaToya Sanders walked in the lounge and was dapped by Wizards players upon arrival.
The lounge is where players eat lunch. Let’s just say that LaToya Sanders dapped Wizards players on her way to do her thing.— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) September 30, 2019
This is the type of environment #MonumentalBasketball is about people!!! pic.twitter.com/lrQZUFzuxk
Wall also bumped into Kristi Toliver and had a quick chat.
Some of you may be wondering how close NBA and WNBA players are as friends when there are teams in the same city. I can’t speak for every team, but it seems to me that Wizards and Mystics players are among the closest out there.