A moment of trepidation greeted the opening of the Wizards’ first training camp practice to the media on Tuesday at Patriot Center.
Reporters entered the arena with the Wizards running five-on-zero drills, and on cue rookie Bradley Beal curled around a teammate, appeared to turn an ankle and ended up on his back. He proved to be fine, but there were a few exhalations of relief inside the gym.
“I tripped over the line,” Beal said with smile afterward. “As soon as you guys walked in, I guess I got nervous.”
Ironically, nervous would be the exact opposite of a fitting description of the Wizards’ youngest and most inexperienced player after his first official NBA practice. Beal said the only bit of hazing he’s experienced has been carrying Martell Webster’s iPad. Sure, he’s looking out for Nene and Emeka Okafor, but shenanigans don’t seem to be high on his list, or anyone else’s, so far.*Wizards coach Randy Wittman was asked almost immediately about how the team moves forward without John Wall. But it’s not a question he feels like he must answer immediately.
In the drills witnessed by reporters, one team consisted of Shelvin Mack, Jordan Crawford, Trevor Booker, Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor. Another included Jannero Pargo, Beal, Jan Vesely, Kevin Seraphin and Chris Singleton. It’s way too early to know if those lines are any indication of the team’s depth chart going forward. If nothing else, Mack starts the season ahead of the other two healthy point guards because of his experience with the Wizards last season. The trick will be seeing how long he can hang on before Pargo and A.J. Price overtake him.
“Nobody needs to be anything more than they are,” Wittman said. “This team wasn’t built solely based on one player to carry us.”
Wittman did praise his players for being in shape, though they’ll be tested more when the team scrimmages for the first time in this evening’s session.
*Speaking of Ariza and Booker, it appears that the younger of the two has relinquished rights to his first name.
“That’s the first time,” Ariza said when asked if he’s ever had a teammate before with the name, Trevor. “Usually I don’t run into too many Trevors. He’s definitely going to be Book. I’m going to be Trevor.”