No Dr. Richard Kimble Gilbert Arenas being snide. No annual broken promises from Andray Blatche. (No one said they were willing to die for the Wizards at this year’s media day.) No DeShawn Stevenson talking swag and Abe Lincoln neck tats. No overabundance of smiles from Nick Young. No Ted Leonsis calling JaVale McGee ‘erudite.’ OK, so there was Jordan Crawford saying, “When it’s time to score, I score. I mean, that’s how it should be.”
Otherwise, 2012 Washington Wizards Media Day was rather tame, but wouldn’t you expect that to be a good thing? Ted Leonsis didn’t even speak at this year’s media day. Now that’s tame. This season, headed into training camp, the focus has shifted more toward basketball. And it’s propelled by what Randy Wittman hopes has been a summer of truly ‘good‘ workouts. No, these aren’t the blog-worthy Wizards from when you first started hearing about blogs, but what they say in preparation for the season can be just as noteworthy. Pictures from media day have pixelated, now here’s just a sampling of the words (and faces).
Bradley Beal on who can step up as a leader with Wall out:
“Hopefully myself, honestly. I may be young, but I can always lead by example and still be vocal in practice and things like that. I mean, there’s still other vets. They got Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster, and you still got Big Emeka, so we have a lot of vets who can always step up and be vocal.”
Beal isn’t afraid of the “P” word, either… the Playoffs (even without Nene and John Wall for the preseason, at least):
“Like Mr. Leonsis said himself, he said there’s no reason why we shouldn’t make it to the playoffs and not be in the lottery, and I totally agree.”
Kevin Seraphin on Randy Wittman’s tough love coaching style:
“That’s good because in my life I’ve never had a coach who was like, ‘Yea, you the best.’ So all my coaches were all the time like that with me. So I just like it because I’m somebody, I’m tough, so I need somebody tough again. So in Spain it was like that. My first coach in professional was like that, too. So I have to keep going like that, that’s good. I like they way [Wittman] coaches me and coaches the team.”
A question about playing in the London Olympics for Team France brought a big smile to Kevin Seraphin’s face:
Martell Webster on choosing the Wizards over other (playoff) team options he mentioned (Thunder, Lakers, Magic, Knicks, Clippers):
“Being on the team, the most important thing to a player is the fact that a team wants you. Nobody wants to be on a team where ‘Ah, I’m on the team, but nobody really wants me here.’ They were really excited about bringing me here and that’s what helped me make the decision. It made the decision easy, actually.”
Trevor Ariza on what his NBA experience will bring to the Wizards:
“First of all, I’ve been through every kind of situation in the NBA. I’ve been on a few different teams. I’ve been inactive on teams when I wasn’t hurt. I’ve started on championship teams, and I just think that more so the mental part I can benefit some of our young players with. Because sometimes you play a lot, sometimes you’re not. You just got to always stay ready and focused and do what you can to help your team out.”
Ariza also answers, perhaps facetiously (I can’t tell), a question about the one thing he worked on over the summer.
But also, his answer is an area everyone high and low points out as a weakness in his game: ballhandling.
Jannero Pargo on leadership and what the Wizards expect of him:
“To come in and be productive, work hard, be a leader, and just do the things I’ve done throughout my career.”
“When you work hard and guys see that, it will be easy for them to follow.”
Brian Cook on if he feels, as a returning veteran, that he has a “leg up” heading into training camp:
“I don’t feel like I have anything. I’m a competitor like these other guys are competitors, and I’m sure that these guys are going to be coming at me just as hard as I’m going to be coming at them. It’s going to be the organization’s decision. I’m just going to come here and play hard and leave it to God. He’s taken care of me pretty much my whole life, so I’m sure if something doesn’t happen here, then other doors will open up. But I’m really wanting to be here, I’m really wanting to be here around the guys. I think that’s the first thing that I want everybody to know about me. I love the city of Washington, even in the short time I’ve been here. It’s been a good city. I don’t have any complaints about it. And I love being here.”
Finally, for now…
Bradley Beal on… Washington, D.C.
“D.C. is so… Now it’s busy. It’s just too political for me. Everywhere you go it’s always about Obama or Mitt Romney.”
Beal also said his older brothers, Bruce and Brandon, are now living with him in the District, and…
“Yea, they’ve moved in, they ate all my food, too. I’m steady back-and-forth to the grocery store…”