All 30 NBA teams hosted their respective media days on Monday, and it was chaos. The Miami Heat were busy showing off Jimmy Butler’s new hairstyle while the Milwaukee Bucks introduced (and gushed over) NBA 75 member Damian Lillard, and the Philadelphia 76ers missed star guard James Harden due to an apparent holdout.
Meanwhile, the new-look Washington Wizards kept things reined in with the players taking turns providing thoughtful, if predictably vague, answers to the media.
You can find a more comprehensive recap of each player’s media availability in this live thread I worked on with Greg Finberg during the event.
Kyle Kuzma opened the event by discussing the heavier offensive burden he will bear this season after the Wizards’ offseason roster shake-up.
“Most nights I’m gonna have number one primary defenders on me...so that’s a challenge in itself,” Kuzma said. “When you’re in the type of position I’m in, you have to produce every night.”
Kuzma stressed that he needs to play with more consistency on a night-to-night basis as the number one option in the Wizards’ offense. Last season, Kuzma averaged a career high in points per game (21.2).
Arguably the star of the show was recent acquisition Jordan Poole, who arrived in the Bradley Beal, Chris Paul trade. Poole endured a messy divorce with the Golden State Warriors and will enjoy a fresh start on a Wizards team with no expectations hanging over them.
During his time at the podium, Poole touched on his departure from Golden State, his interactions with his new teammates, his role within the Wizards’ offense and his admiration for the city of Washington D.C. When asked about his offensive responsibilities, Poole responded that his green light is “as green as D.C.”
One thing that stood out was the entire Wizards team’s adoration of Tyus Jones. Jones, who arrived via the Kristaps Porzingis trade, is a widely respected locker room leader and floor general who was pivotal in the rise of the young, fun Memphis Grizzlies teams of the past three seasons. Just about every Wizard who took the podium went out of their way to praise Jones, both for his play on the court and his leadership off it.
Kyle Kuzma on what PG Tyus Jones brings to the Wizards:— Greg Finberg (@GregFinberg) October 2, 2023
Says he’s one of the better point guards in the NBA.
Corey Kispert lights up when asked about playing with Tyus Jones. Sounds like Tyus really brings out the best in people!@GregFinberg | @1Tyus | @corey_kispert | #ForTheDistrict pic.twitter.com/zdYft8qNMk— Marco Gacina (@MarcoGacina) October 2, 2023
Rookie Bilal Coulibaly also had his time in the spotlight. He discussed his excitement for the upcoming season and his experiences so far in D.C., and he even had a chance to speak in his native French with some French reporters.
Coulibaly is barely 19 years old, so jokes about his age were aplenty throughout the press conference, both from himself and from reporters. The highlight was when Coulibaly let everyone know that he’s been having a hard time getting around D.C. because he does not yet have a driver’s license.
Overall, while each player had an opportunity to express their personality to fans, not much new information was shared during the Wizards’ media day. Although not translatable to the stat sheet, the vibes are certainly up in Washington from where they were a year ago.