It felt like the weekend at the Patriot Center this morning for the Wizards’ fifth day of training camp. The guys, although going at it full speed for the time they practiced, received a bit of a treat from Randy Wittman as the practice ended shortly after 12pm (about an hour earlier than scheduled).
It was no surprise that Wittman ended things earlier as the entire team looked pretty beat. Wittman noted, “Yeah they’re tired, mentally as physically. That’s why tomorrow (first game versus the Bobcats) is usually not a real pretty sight.”
Wittman and crew do however seem ready to take on the first real challenge of the season in their preseason game versus the Charlotte Bobcats. Randy and nearly every other player mentioned that the big focus point is cutting down on the turnovers. With a team that has this type of speed but also is rather young, everyone believes that turnovers are going to be the key to their success.
Quotes from Training Camp:
Coach Randy Wittman:
On the players’ fatigue:
“They’re beat up a little bit, no question. That’s what this is about—getting their bodies back into the condition of playing up and down every night. On Tuesday, I had 18 guys out here an hour before practice started. Today, there was no one out here before practice started.”
On Tomorrow’s scrimmage:
“I just want to see a carryover of what we’ve put in and our execution of it, defensively and offensively…I want to look at the film and think ‘That’s good carryover.”
On Bookers improvement:
“I want to see what he can do [with] what he’s done here these five days, and can he carry it over into a game situation against another team...”
“That number’s gotta come down a lot for us to be successful…That’s probably my number one concern, it always is.”
On Tomorrow’s Game:
“We feel very good about the work we put in all week. We feel very confident about how we’ve progressed each day.”
On the fatigue of training camp:
“It’s very grueling. By no stretch of the imagination…honestly, you’ve got to give credit to the coaching staff—they’re the guys who get you in here and get you motivated.”
On team chemistry:
“I’m very comfortable with this group. Since I’ve come here, since day one, the organization—the management, the players, they’ve all embraced me and just made me feel at home. So that’s made my transition much easier.”
“He changes the game drastically on the defensive end. He rebounds and blocks shots. Another big asset is that he screens very well. That’s something that doesn’t go in the stat book but it’s extremely important on offense.”
On the team’s future this season:
“I really like the makeup of the team this year. We have a solid player at each position. I think we are definitely contenders for the Eastern Conference…It’s about being consistent and building the chemistry with each other and winning games.”
On training camp:
“From his rookie year, Kevin has improved tremendously. He’s a lot more patient, more calm, more understanding, and his English is getting a little bit better.
On who will win the the Nationals/Cardinals series:
“Cardinals. That’s all I’m going to say.
On going the extra mile:
“Coaches have been drilling me in the head about staying aggressive and making sure I’m doing what I’m supposed to do and letting the game come to me. It’s my first game in the NBA and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m not even nervous right now and I don’t know why. It just feels like I’m part of the team and this whole lifestyle now. It will be a good challenge for me but I’m really looking forward to it.”
On Matching up with Kidd-Gilchrist:
“He’s a competitor and I love playing against him because he never takes it easy on anybody. I’m real close friends with him but that doesn’t mean anything to him…whenever I match up against him it’s a competitive battle.”