At the conclusion of an afternoon session on day five of training camp, Washington Wizards assistant coach Sam Cassell cracked smiles while rebounding for John Wall, Jordan Crawford and Shelvin Mack as they performed a shooting drill. Cassell is about to begin his third season on the bench for the Wizards. Forever known for his personality, he doled out positive instruction to the young guards, sharing stories with Wall about a certain game in his playing career where he “killed it” and got the win. Cassell also proclaimed Crawford as the funniest dude he knew, the camaraderie among the trio being rather overt.
The three-time world champion with 15 NBA seasons under his belt is essential to the development of both guards. He’s constantly teaching the young Wizards moves and positioning. Even though Flip Saunders had this to say after practice,:
“Sam does a good job because he has good knowledge as far as played the position. One thing that’s a little bit different is that Sam played a lot different than these guys. And sometimes you have to talk to Sam because the things he wants them to do, as far as shoot mid-range shots and those type of things, that’s not what their game is. Sam’s speed has definitely never been close to those guys. So that’s one thing we gotta watch out a little bit. But he’s got a good knowledge of what to look for.”
Either way, certainly the athletic can learn something from the tactics of the non-athletic. Cassell has also enjoyed past friendly battles of one-on-one with the likes of John Wall, Nick Young and JaVale McGee. Something left in the tank is sometimes best spent on education.