Training camp day has finally arrived for the Washington Wizards, who have been preparing all offseason long for the chance to finally meet their playoff goals and expectations.
In the past, training camp has been where most of the players on the roster try and become acclimated with each other, especially since we’re used to massive roster changes virtually every season. Now that the Wizards have established the core on their roster and have brought back 11 of 15 players that were on the team last season, they could finally hit the ground running without missing a step. They no longer have any excuses lingering around the team. Although health is always a concern, every team in the NBA will inevitably deal with that exact issue, and it’s time the Wizards put that aside and play the style of basketball we got to witness with John Wall back on the court last season. Every major piece on the team is back and healthy this year, and everyone including the coaching staff, has constantly spoke about their playoff aspirations this offseason. There are no more excuses for the Wizards. John Wall is healthy, Bradley Beal has got a year of NBA basketball under his résumé, and the Wizards have got a ton of veterans to help lead the way.
Even though the Wizards have already got 15 players under guaranteed contracts, that hasn’t stopped some of the roster hopefuls from preparing with the team. Josh Childress has supposedly gotten offers from other teams around the league, but he opted to enter training camp with the Wizards, knowing that he doesn’t have a realistic shot at making the team. Having hard working players like Childress around some of the younger players on the team could definitely help them improve, especially knowing that he’s fighting for another chance in the NBA.
They mentioned to me there’s definitely opportunity here, Childress said of Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld and senior VP Tommy Sheppard, both of whom had courted him previously when he was a free agent. “I made the move.
Training camp could certainly take its toll on some of the younger players on the team, especially since teams are known for running two practices every day, one in the morning and one at night. While some of the younger players begin to dread training camp, the veterans start to appreciate it because some of them on the roster weren’t guaranteed a chance prior to getting an opportunity with the Wizards. Some of the players on the roster don’t even know what to expect, since their roles haven’t been determined or established.
The Wizards have built a reputation of not really having a true sense of direction for the team, but for the first time in half a decade, they’ve finally built a team around players capable of helping produce a winning season. As John Wall put it, “if I don’t make the playoffs, it’s a waste of time.”
Training camp is the first step to a long and grueling season for the Wizards, and we’ll be here covering it all. Stay tuned.