This Year’s Garrett Temple : TAI Wizards Player Previews 2013-14
[Truth About It.net player previews of Washington Wizards in 2013-14 -- For each player on this year's roster of 15, we take a look at what's at stake, an interesting statistic, and finally, where that player needs to improve (or excel) to make successful contributions toward a playoff goal.]
Eric Maynor via Conor Dirks; Garrett Temple via Adam McGinnis;
Otto Porter via Adam Rubin; Glen Rice, Jr. via Rashad Mobley;
Trevor Ariza via John C. Townsend; Trevor Booker via Adam Rubin;
Al Harrington via Kyle Weidie; Chris Singleton via Adam McGinnis;
Kevin Seraphin via Sean Fagan; Martell Webster via John C. Townsend;
Jan Vesely via Kyle Weidie & Lukas Kuba; Nene Hilario via Rashad Mobley;
Emeka Okafor via Sean Fagan;
Bradley Beal via Kyle Weidie; John Wall via Conor Dirks.
WHAT’S AT STAKE.
The current role of Washington Wizards Guard Garrett Temple is a reflective measure of where this team’s roster is headed into the 2013-14 season. The undrafted LSU product started 51 games last season, mostly at shooting guard, and now he is likely the third-string point guard/sometimes 2 guard. Temple’s solid showing during a tumultuous situation last season earned him a one-year contract this season ($916,099.) He was brought back because the organization valued his versatility, defense, and leadership. In all likelihood, Temple will be on-call in case someone else is unable to perform.
Related: I copped a mea culpa on Temple’s contributions last season.
Via Michael Lee of the Washington Post:
Last season, Temple shot just 32.5 percent from three-point range, but he connected on 41.1 percent (21 of 51) in the last two months of the regular season.
Temple had developed a reputation for being a shooter in the D-League, where he made 39.2 percent of his three-point attempts. While representing the Wizards in a three-point shooting contest in Rio de Janeiro, Temple emerged victorious and brought his towel-waving teammates to their feet.
Temple’s 2012-13 Shot Heat Map via Basketball-Reference.com (he shot better than 40 percent from both corner spots):
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT.
It has been a tough preseason so far for Temple. He has appeared in only three games with a bleak stat line of two points, 1-for-8 shooting, four assists, and three turnovers in 44 minutes. The offense has looked out sync the few times that
Temple has been at the helm. He has recently been battling a staph infection on his elbow, which forced him to miss the game in Baltimore, but has been cleared to practice again.
Temple’s struggles recently sparked a debate amongst the TAI staff about whether he could be released in order to create a roster space for Josh Childress, or perhaps more importantly, another reserve big. I don’t foresee the front office giving up on Temple and eating his guaranteed salary. He is a high-character guy who is a positive influence on teammates. Plus, his ability to defend multiple positions is an asset to bring off the bench in spot scenarios. Temple provides an insurance policy at both guard positions; there is a need for him on the 15-man squad.
He could see additional playing time by improving on his outside shot and being a calming influence when running the point. However, if Temple logs major minutes again (he averaged almost 23 minutes per game last season), then Washington’s playoff goals are in serious trouble.
I caught up with Temple during his Media Day scrum and also pulled him aside to interview him individually. Garrett is bright and has an engaging personality. Here is a transcript of this conversation. (Sadly, I forgot to ask him about being mixed up for Wizards top draft pick Otto Porter, Jr.)
Media Day Scrum: What is your role?
“My role is still going to be the same. Just be there for Coach Witt in whatever he needs me to do. Come off the bench. If guys—God forbid—got injured, then start if he needs me to. Just be the consummate professional, consummate team guy that does all the little things and helps this team win.”
MDS: Is there carryover from a strong finish to the season?
“It definitely does impact this year, especially bringing 11 guys back from last year. We understand what it took to get those 10 games in a row at home that we had, and to go almost .500 with John in the lineup. We understand how we need to win games now and definitely bring it into this year.”
MDS: What’s the team’s spirit like now, and how does that compare to the mood when Wall joined the team last season?
“The mood is definitely a lot better. It is a lot more positive, higher goals. Coming in, we were 3-22, so obviously we didn’t expect to make the playoffs but this year, that is definitely a goal of ours. We hope to reach it.”
MDS: How does it feel to earn a spot on this team?
“It definitely felt good. The thought process when I signed here on December 25th was to be here and have a chance to get a contract for the next year. I was able to do that. Now that I am here, I am just ready for training camp. Get with my guys and get on the court and play some basketball.”
*McGinnis pulls Temple aside*
McGinnis: First NBA media day and training camp with assurance that you are on the team…
“It’s definitely the first Media Day where I expected to be on the opening-day roster.”
McGinnis: What does that feel like?
“It feels great. Obviously, I am definitely not satisfied, but it feels good to know that I am going to be here… I am taking it in stride and ready to get to work.”
McGinnis: What did you work on over the summer?
“Offseason? I worked on my spot-up shot. With having a point guard like John Wall that can get into the paint and create havoc, you want to have guys on the outside that can shoot the ball, so definitely worked on my outside shot and my ball-handling. Just in case, I need to work off some ball screens.”
McGinnis: If you were NBA Commissioner, what improvements would you like to see in the game?
“If I was the commissioner, it would be tough to do because you have a lot of guys to answer to in terms of the owners and you have the players that you want to keep happy because they are your product. At the end of the day, I think the toughest thing that players and owners are going back and forth on in the NBA is the flop rule. It is a rule that you never know what someone is thinking in their head. It is a tough rule. I would look more into that… NBA Commissioner is a tough job, so I will leave that to David Stern for a couple more months and then Adam Silver.”
McGinnis: How about changing the goal tending rule to allow players to play the ball above the rim [like FIBA rules]?
“I don’t want to do the goaltend rule. I played a year in Italy, and I played a bit in the D-League at beginning of last year where you could do that. I don’t really see it being a positive. Something is called a ‘shooters touch’ for a reason. If you changed the goal tend rule, then that wouldn’t be a phrase no more because people would be knocking stuff off the rim… I like to keep the rules where they are.”
McGinnis: How do you approach using social media?
“I am smart about it. I want to make it fun, try to reach my fans. Throw a little bit of encouragement out there if I can.”
McGinnis: How to deal with the “haters” online?
“Most of the time, I just ignore them. Sometimes, if I can correct them, I like to correct them. But at the end of the day, they are just fans, they have nothing to do with what I do out there on the court.”
McGinnis: Did you take any vacations? Do anything fun?
“I went to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Did a little ‘George of the Jungle’ action, hanging off ropes over the water, so that was real fun.”