Randy Wittman's description of the Wizards' top draft pick Bradley Beal on the first day of the team's summer league minicamp encapsulated the difference between the NBA last summer and this year.
"He came out there today like he knew what he was doing," the Wizards coach said of his newest young star. "But he didn't have a clue what he was doing, if that makes any sense."
The Wizards' three rising sophomores -- Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack -- were all thrown into the fire of a condensed NBA season after two weeks of training camp last December. Beal, the third pick in the draft less than two weeks ago, is just starting with a trio of two-a-day practices leading up to five games at the Las Vegas summer league. Then it'll be another two months of informal work with Washington's coaching staff and a monthlong training camp this fall before his first NBA game.
Beal, however, doesn't intend to take it slow.
"I got to hit the ground running," he said. "That's just the type of person I am anyway. I don't want to come on and just be laid back and let things happen. I want to just try and come in, be impactful as best I can."
The luxury may actually be Wittman's. With assistant coach Sam Cassell running the show on the sideline in Las Vegas, the head coach's biggest task this week will be to decide how many of the 14 players the Wizards have brought to Washington will make their way to Nevada. Playing time for Beal and rookie second-round pick Tomas Satoransky, along with Vesely, Singleton and Mack, will be the highest priority.
Vesely worked out at home in the Czech Republic for 10 days with Wizards assistant coach Joe Connelly in the month before returning to Washington. Wittman said he saw the same confidence that Vesely displayed toward the end of his rookie season and expects Vesely not to hesitate taking 18-20 foot jump shots in Las Vegas.
"I worked a lot in the last month on that," Vesely said. "I work every day on the outside shot. I feel pretty good, and I will work a lot until the beginning of the season."
The most notable players on the rest of roster are Shavlik Randolph, a 6-foot-10 former Duke standout who played five seasons with Philadelphia, Portland and Miami and spent last season in Puerto Rico, and 6-11 center Garret Siler (Augusta State), formerly of the Phoenix Suns.
Two summers ago, John Wall was named the most outstanding player in Las Vegas, and Beal knows the games often devolve into individual showcases.
"Everyone is going to come at him because he's the third overall pick in the draft, so just come out and be aggressive," Mack said when asked about his advice. "You know guys are going to try to take shots at him."
The Wizards also announced the hiring of Don Newman as an assistant coach.