If he hadn’t already experienced life in the NBA Development League and gained an appreciation for its benefits, Glen Rice Jr. might have had a different opinion when the Wizards assigned him to the Iowa Energy almost two weeks ago.
When he was recalled earlier this week after playing three games that increased the confidence he had in his surgically repaired right wrist and his overall game, Rice didn’t have any complaints. Rice hadn’t been demoted; he was unleashed.
“Some people are down on the D-League or look at it as a punishment,” Rice said. “For me, it was just, I had already been down there. So it was getting comfortable and being in a league that I was familiar with. It wasn’t too much of an adjustment. The only adjustment I had was not playing for a while.”
Rice averaged 24.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and two steals in a rehabilitation stint that was necessitated because of the limited repetitions that he would’ve been allotted in games and practices.
“It made sense,” Rice said of the Wizards’ move. “It was definitely a good experience, being able to actually get on the court and just be able to play, because our schedule is so busy, we don’t really be able to practice much. It was good, to get out there and see myself playing again after such a long time.”
A 6-foot-6 rookie swingman, Rice had his season interrupted by a nagging wrist injury that required out-patient surgery in New York on Dec. 17.
While recovering, Rice would engage in one-on-one battles with Bradley Beal, Al Harrington or anyone else willing to let him work on his defense until he was able to start shooting again. Once his wrist healed, Rice required more and that meant a few days in place where he had rehabilitated his reputation last season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
“It was cool. It wasn’t anything new. Rekindled some old memories,” said Rice, who was D-League Finals most valuable player last season.
Rice had two double-doubles and two 20-point games with Iowa, displaying a well-rounded game that he hasn’t had the opportunity to show in limited minutes with the Wizards. In his last two games, Rice had 28 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks and 29 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals, respectively.
“I think that’s probably just how the game was going,” Rice said. “In the D-League before, I had filled the stat sheet up. It just getting out there and trying my best to expand my game. Fill as many stats are there.”
The only downside to the D-League experience for Rice was having to play two games in Erie, Pa., where temperatures dipped to minus-six, with a wind chill that was 30 below zero. “It was pretty bad,” Rice said, shaking his head.
But Rice was grateful that he didn’t have any complications with his wrist. “It was fine,” Rice said. “I doesn’t bother me any more. A little tender when it gets hit, but other than that, it’s fine.”