Wizards' Mack is maintaining a positive outlook

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Sports,NBA,Wizards,Craig Stouffer

Guard is not worried about his summer woes

Shelvin Mack watched John Wall plead for a more experienced backup point guard, and he didn't exactly help his own argument to earn the job during the Las Vegas Summer League. He then saw the Wizards bring in A.J. Price later in the offseason and, when Wall was injured just before training camp, Jannero Pargo.

But there's one comment Mack still says way more than any other on Twitter: "Think positive."

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Where » Verizon Center
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The adversity hasn't dampened the second-year guard's spirit, determination or work ethic. Instead of dwelling on his disappointing summer league showing and a partially guaranteed contract that could make him expendable, Mack has stuck with the mantra instilled in him by Butler coach Brad Stevens. He would rather that attitude become contagious inside the Wizards' locker room than the opposite.

"If you're thinking positive, the next guy will think positive," Mack said. "If you're like, 'Oh why did I miss that shot,' they're going to think the same thing when they have the opportunity."

Instead of worrying about his job security, Mack actually began camp as the healthy player with the most experience with the Wizards. While Price and Pargo both started from scratch under coach Randy Wittman, Mack surprised himself with his comfort level.

"I know what to expect. I know what plays to run in certain situations," he said. "Overall, just working out with my teammates more, I know where guys are comfortable at getting the ball. I feel like me and Bradley [Beal] have good chemistry going on just playing and working out together a lot."

Mack also was aided by participating in longtime NBA assistant coach Tim Grgurich's skills camp along with Beal, Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton. After averaging a team-high 3.4 turnovers over five games in Las Vegas, Mack had seven assists in Washington's preseason opener against Charlotte and, more importantly, no turnovers.

"You can tell he's got a year under him," Wittman said. "I can see a little more confidence, running this play, running that play. That's from being here, I think. That's a good thing to see."

Wittman also said he hasn't yet made a decision about who his starting point guard will be while Wall is sidelined for the regular season's first month. Pargo had a stellar performance in the final scrimmage of training camp at George Mason, and Price has played confidently.

Mack still has work to do to improve his jump shot and learn how to be a true point guard after playing more of a scoring role in college. He understands that his time may be limited, but that doesn't mean he won't make an impact while he's around.

"Every year someone's coming in the NBA, someone's going out," Mack said. "Same thing with the Miami Heat. They got some new players this year even though they won the championship last year. You try and get better. ... Just staying positive, you have the best chance to take advantage of the opportunity instead of staying negative. When you're down, you're not ready for the opportunity, and it slips by."

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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