The Washington Wizards conducted their first training camp practice on Tuesday morning at George Mason’s Patriot Center, and Coach Randy Wittman was quick to commend his charges for their commitment to offseason workouts that led to players reporting in top shape.
“The thing that I was impressed with was our conditioning,” said Wittman, who’s conducting his first training camp as the Wizards’ head coach. “It was very good. You never know obviously, but like I said, we had the majority of our guys in D.C. since after Labor Day, which gave us as coaches a hands-on to work with them and condition them.”
That work continues in earnest for the next week as the Wizards try to incorporate a litany players not on the roster at the beginning of last season. In all the Wizards have eight players expected to contribute significantly this season who were not on the roster at the start of 2011-12.
Included in that group are veterans Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor and rookie Bradley Beal. Ariza and Okafor came to the Wizards after a June trade that sent Rashard Lewis and the No. 46 pick to the New Orleans Hornets. Beal was the No. 3 overall selection in the NBA draft.
“It was a learning process today,” Ariza said
The Wizards coaching staff also will be seeking clarity at starting point guard while Wall is on the mend from a stress fracture in his left patella. The lone holdover at the position is Shelvin Mack, with the Wizards signing A.J. Price in July and Jannero Pargo on Monday to compete for playing time.
Price played his first three seasons with the Indiana Pacers. Pargo, meantime, began his career in 2002 with the Los Angeles Lakers and since has been with five other teams, including the Wizards.
During practice on Tuesday morning, Mack was the point guard with what presumably was the first unit, although Wittman downplayed the significance of that grouping. Also on the floor with Mack were Jordan Crawford at shooting guard, Ariza at small forward, Trevor Booker at power forward and Okafor and Shavlik Randolph alternating at center.
“Yeah, I mean we didn’t have a first group,” Wittman said. “You got 19 guys out here. You’ve got to split them up. That will change each day. We’ve got an opportunity to look at a lot of different combinations, and I am. You have to have three teams, and we split them up.”