The practice court at Verizon Center long had emptied on Thursday afternoon, with most of the Washington Wizards’ minicamp players getting ready for the trip to Las Vegas for the NBA summer league.
They practiced jumpers and floaters in the lane, caught and released the ball coming off screens and dribbled between a folding chair and an oversized rubber obstacle similar to a tackling dummy before pulling up for a shot.
“That’s always good,” Wizards Coach Randy Wittman said. “Like I said, we didn’t have any of this last year, so anything where we can keep our hands on these guys in the summer time and see them working and showing them the things that they need to work on, that’s another big part of it. Sometimes when you’re not with them, they kind of do what they want to do.”
As the No. 3 overall pick in the June 28 draft, Beal’s agenda is clear. The Wizards selected the 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Florida to complement John Wall and to fill a glaring need for a wing player with a consistent mid-range jumper.
Mack, on the other hand, has a somewhat more complicated task in continuing to develop as a reliable backup to Wall at point guard. The 6-foot-3 second-round pick last season spent most of his three-year college career at Butler as a scorer, but because of the void behind Wall, the Wizards moved him out of his comfort zone as a shooter.
That transition was not without hiccups, and because of the NBA lockout, Mack last season didn’t have the benefit, as he does this time, of a fully regimented summer program to prepare him as a rookie.
“I’m getting more comfortable with the system,” Mack said about his first training camp as a professional. “I already know what the coaches expect, so it’s just helping me out a lot more.”
Mack might be the incumbent backup to Wall, but Wittman indicated he plans to evalute Earl Calloway during summer league competition. Calloway was among nine non-roster invitees to minicamp who also will participate in summer league.
The Wizards at times used a three-guard set during games last season, and Wittman said to anticipate more of the same in Las Vegas, where Washington is scheduled to play five games in six days.
Also in the mix in the backcourt is second-round pick Tomas Satoransky, who is learning to move more effectively without the ball after developing as a point guard in the Czech Republic.
“With the guys were got here, Earl Calloway, I want to take a look at him at the point some also,” Wittman said. “You can play Shelvin, Tomas and Earl together, move Bradley down to the three, so there’s different options we’ll take a look at.”
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