Wizards' Mack has surprise start to camp

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Cheers and Jeers,NBA,Wizards,Craig Stouffer

It was surprising to see Shelvin Mack running at point guard with potential starters Jordan Crawford, Trevor Ariza, Trevor Booker and Emeka Okafor during the Wizards' first practice of the season.

A day before, Mack seemingly moved further down the depth chart when Washington signed veteran Jannero Pargo to help shore up a need left by an injured John Wall. During the offseason, the team also added A.J. Price, who is entering his fourth season, to be Wall's primary backup.

But one day into the season, neither Price nor Pargo can match Mack's experience with Wizards coach Randy Wittman. Even if it was a role that wasn't exactly natural for a guy who had been more of a scoring guard at Butler, Mack played in 64 games last year as a rookie, averaging 12.2 minutes, 3.6 points and 2.0 assists.

It was enough to earn the chance to audition for more responsibility during the Las Vegas Summer League. While Mack averaged 11.0 points in five games, third-best on the team, his team-high 2.4 assists were trumped by a team-high 3.4 turnovers per game.

"The summer league, it didn't go kind of the way that I expected," Mack said. "But it's a learning experience. I had more opportunity to run the point so I think it helped me out in the long run."

The only problem is that with every training camp practice, Pargo and Price are likely to catch up. While Mack began the preseason with the starters -- and it may have been coincidental -- his status as a partially guaranteed second-round pick could make him expendable before the regular season arrives.

- Craig Stouffer

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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