Ernie Grunfeld says Wizards are in better shape with training camp on horizon

September 25, 2012

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld.

Washington Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld addressed reporters on Tuesday afternoon, saying the club has upgraded from where it was at this point last year but remains a work in progress less than a week before the opening of training camp.

During the news conference at Verizon Center lasting approximately half an hour, Grunfeld addressed many topics, including the development of point guard John Wall, the arrival of new players and the overhaul of the roster from three years ago.

When asked how much progress the Wizards have made since the 2009-10 season when they finished 26-56 and won the NBA draft lottery, Grunfeld said:

“Well, that’s up to you pundits to decide. We just want to go out there. We’re not in the predicting business that much. We’re in the business of trying to make our players better, trying to [collect] assets, trying to get every position covered, and I think we’ve shown this team is better today than it was at the beginning of last year.”

Gone from last year’s team are, among others, Nick Young, JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche, and some of the new players include No. 3 overall pick Bradley Beal and offseason acquisitions Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okefor.

The Wizards received Ariza and Okefor from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for Rashard Lewis and the No. 46 pick in the draft.

Among the top priorities during training camp, which begins on Tuesday, is for CoachRandy Wittman to figure out his front-court rotation among centers Nene and Okafor and power forward-center Kevin Seraphin.

Seraphin was the 17th pick of the Chicago Bulls in 2010 and has drawn admiration from coaches and teammates for his rugged presence inside, while Nene made an impact in just 11 games with the Wizards last season.

“Both of those players are capable of playing the five or the four,” Grunfeld said of Nene and Okafor. “Kevin is coming around, and he can play the five or the four. I think that versatility will come in, and that’s going to be determined in training camp, who fits better together. It might even be determined by the teams we’re playing against the type of lineups are put out there. But I think we feel comfortable with any of those players starting.”

Gene Wang is a sports reporter covering multiple beats, including Navy football, the Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, women’s basketball, auto racing, boxing and golf. He also covers Fantasy Football.
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