For the most part, it was pretty much the same line of quotes coming from Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld in his latest address to the media, this one coming just a few days before the start of training camp.
Here are some immediate thoughts:
Nene’s injury. Grunfeld expressed some concern for the big man from Brazil, who aggravated his plantar fasciitis during the Olympic Games, but was confident that he’ll be ready to go for the season opener. Nene missed a chunk of games toward the end of the season last year after he initially suffered the nagging injury. Question is how much is it bothering him and how exactly will this impact the progression of the Wizards front court and the overall pace of the Wizards’ young and potent offense?
Momentum. The Wizards surged last year to close out the season, winning 8 of 10 including the 6 final games. Grunfeld acknowledged, stating that the goal for this upcoming season is to “build on the end of last season”. He also mentioned the word “physical” on several occasions, confident that this year’s team greatly differs from the one that started the season last year.
John Wall. Contract year is looming for Wall and still a few question marks remain. All eyes will be on Jimmy this season and again, Grunfeld remained confident in his franchise player’s progression. “We are very pleased with the progress Wall has made through two years, he makes everyone around him better". Grunfeld also noted John’s physical growth this offseason as well as his improved jump shot and court vision, and of course his "improved supporting cast". We shall all anxiously observe whether all is as it seems.
Let’s Get Physical! As mentioned in the bullet point above, Grunfeld was big on the team taking a more physical approach. And why the heck not? I’ve expressed vast excitement about the potential of the front court which features a DEEP rotation of Ariza, Vesely, Booker, Seraphin, Okafor and Nene (pretty sure I’m forgetting at least another player or two). In any case, the Wizards are shaping into what may become one of the more dominant forces down low. Grunfeld also mentioned of John Wall’s “body getting bigger”. I’m all about muscle and this should benefit Wall in various aspects of his game, particularly when he’s gliding in the lane at full speed and landing face first onto the hardwood.
More to come from Wizards Extreme as we prepare for training camp this coming Tuesday, October 2nd!