Despite finishing out the 2011-12 season with the Wizards and Coach Randy Wittman Cook and Mack lost out on the battle for the final two spots on the roster to new faces Earl Barron and Jannero Pargo, respectively.
Barron showed throughout camp that he could help fill the void in the Wizards’ injury-riddled front-court. In the preseason finale against San Antonio, when he received an unexpected chance to start after Emeka Okafor injured his shoulder, Barron recorded 12 points and 10 rebounds as a presence on both ends of the floor.
Cook, who was on a non-guaranteed training camp contract, averaged 3.9 points and 3.3 rebounds over seven preseason games. After being acquired in a three-team trade with the Los Angeles Clippers last March, Cook appeared in 16 games with the Wizards last season.
Following the news that John Wall would miss a month of the regular season with a left knee injury, the Wizards signed Pargo a day before the start of training camp for additional depth. Wall’s injury created not only the opportunity for playing time but intense competition between Pargo, Mack and A.J. Price, who ultimately secured the starting spot heading into the season opener.
Pargo, 33, wasn’t a model of consistency over five exhibition contests – he averaged 7.6 points while recording as many turnovers as assists (16). But his nine-years of experience could prove valuable to a young team like the Wizards and it may be why he beat out Mack for the back-up point guard role.
Mack, whom the Wizards selected with the 34th overall pick in 2011, served as Wall’s primary backup as a rookie in 2011-12 when he appeared in 64 contests, averaging 3.6 points 2 assists and 12.2 minutes per game. But then Mack struggled in summer league play, prompting the Wizards to bring in Price on a guaranteed deal. Despite some improvement and recording 4.1 points and 2.8 assists over eight preseason contests, Mack continued show growing pains when handed the keys to the offense.