For the past month, Glen Rice Jr. played a leading role in helping the Iowa Energy clinch the Central Division title and earn homecourt advantage in the first round of the NBA Developmental League playoffs.
With Rice being called back up to the Washington Wizards roster last Saturday, the rookie swingman will likely again be relegated to the bench, stuck behind the likes of Trevor Ariza, Bradley Beal and Martell Webster. But the idea of rejoining the Wizards for their first playoff stint since 2008 has Rice excited rather than exasperated about returning to the end of the team’s bench.
“I wouldn’t say it’s tough,” Rice said when asked about again serving a smaller role for the Wizards. “It’ll be fun. My first year here I get to see the playoffs and be a part of a playoff run.”
In 16 games with the Energy, Rice averaged 14.6 points and 4.5 rebounds and displayed the skills that led the Wizards to trade for him on the night that Philadelphia drafted him with the 35th overall pick in last summer’s NBA Draft.
During his most recent stint, Rice said he enjoyed the ability to get back out on the court and rebuild his endurance.
“That was definitely the fun part of it, to get out there and play the game that I love,” Rice said. “Basically I got out there and got conditioning because we don’t really do the same stuff as Washington. … I worked on ball handling, shooting, defense. Just fine-tuning some things.”
The 23-year-old Rice has averaged 2.9 points and 1.8 rebounds in 11 games this season with his last NBA action coming in a Dec. 14 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.