There are 18 players on the current Washington Wizards training camp roster, which means there were 18 different ways they chose to handle Media Day.
Gilbert Arenas took the stoic route by answering approximately six questions before the Wizards PR staff quickly whisked him away. Hamady Ndiaye and Cartier Martin did some interviews before they got their pictures taken, then they did more talking with the media, then they kind of walked around the Wizards practice court talking to whomever wanted to speak with them. Lester Hudson was visibly nervous and shy, and didn’t really give expansive answers. JaVale McGee rarely made eye contact, but was much more chatty than he was in his previous two media days. Still, even he looked like he really wanted to be elsewhere.
And then there was Nick Young.
Arenas was the first player to speak to the media, and about five minutes later, Young made himself available. He stood in the corner of the makeshift media area and answered every question the press could muster. While he was standing there, Adam Morrison, Andray Blatche, Al Thornton, Lester Hudson, Yi Jianlian, Kirk Hinrich, Josh Howard, and other players I am probably leaving out, started and finished their interviews, and Young was still standing in the same corner.
By the time he answered his last question, 45 minutes had elapsed, and seemingly every member of the media had the honor of having a question answered by Young. Some media members (like me) went back two and three times just to see what topic he would touch on next. As he walked away from the media area and headed towards the photography area, Washington Post writer Dan Steinberg joked with Young, saying, “That was a marathon session man!”
Young flashed his customary smile, then said, “I know right?”
So what did Young talk about? Kyle Weidie and I were able to find out.
On Gilbert Arenas:
“He’s been good, to tell you the truth, to be honest, he’s been great. He looks like he’s ready. He lost weight, so that’s a sign of growth. And he looks like he wants to come in and just play. He don’t want to deal with everything, he just wants to play basketball and get back to being Gil. I don’t feel he wants no more negative energy, and I feel he’s just going to come out and be prepared for anything. If he’s gotta take the backseat for a minute, he’s gotta take a backseat. That’s just his role. I think he understands what he’s been through and everything. Gil is Gil and he’s still a great player. He’s still one of the top point guards in this league, and I think he can come back and be strong.”
On being a leader and a veteran:
“This is my fourth year now, it flies, you know, so look for me to answer questions or ask me questions. I gotta be a leader for them [the rookies], I gotta be there and I gotta take it more serious now because they’re looking up to me. I can’t be joking around and have that joking attitude. I talk like a vet every day, so I’m starting to get in tune with it.”
On how this year’s environment compares to previous years:
“I see that everybody has got a nice chemistry going right now. We don’t put too much pressure on the rookies like they did, being around 10-year vets and 8-year vets and everybody. We’re pretty much trying to enjoy the game and we on a mission. Being young, we on a mission. Everybody is pretty much the same age difference, and we’re just going to go out there and play basketball. Ain’t no vets to really tell you to ‘be quiet’ and do all this, and putting pressure on you. We might talk to them [the rookies], but we’re going to have fun with them.”
On why he put on more muscle this summer:
“They had me in the post last year and guarding Dwyane Wade and all these great twos [two guards] that were stronger than me. So I felt like for me to get an upper hand on some people, I had to get stronger. I worked on my post game, put on like 10 lbs., so I’m feeling good and I’m feeling buff.”
On what he really wants out of this season:
“I wanna make the playoffs this year. I made it my first year, so its been awhile, so we need to turn it around and get in there.”