The first step to enjoying Wizards games? Forget the scoreboard even exists.
Although the Wizards likely won’t win much, the first three games suggest it won’t be for lack of effort. The team has displayed heart, which has helped it remain in contention late in the first few games. The Wizards’ cast of kids and career backups fought to the end during Wednesday’s 100-94 loss in overtime to Boston, pushing the accomplished Celtics on their home court. The Wizards should be pleased with their show of determination. Their fans ought to be, too.
“That’s what we have to do,” Coach Randy Wittman said recently. “For us, it has to be a real team effort every game.”
So the fan who wants to stay awake can focus on shows of hustle. In the last two games, point guard A.J. Price never stopped hounding his star Celtics counterpart, Rajon Rondo, on defense regardless of the size of the Celtics’ lead. Forward Trevor Booker pursued every loose ball as if his contract depended on it.
It would be a welcome change to watch a Wizards team that shows no quit. The past few seasons, some of the Wizards’ top players had little interest in doing what it takes, such as practicing hard, to compete as well as possible. This group may be forging a much more respectable identity.
Kevin Seraphin’s progress is another positive that’s hard to miss. The third-year center is unlike most players on the Wizards’ roster: He actually has a chance to be really good.
After his look-at-me finish last season — Seraphin averaged 15.4 points and seven rebounds in the final 16 games — he’s off to a watch-out-for-this-guy start. Seraphin, who sat out Washington’s opener with a calf injury, made 8 of 9 field goal attempts and scored 19 points in his first game. He totaled 16 points and a team-high nine rebounds in Wednesday’s loss.
Watching young players develop can be a lot of fun. Seraphin, who turns 23 on Dec. 7, is showing the type of growth that should provide Wizards fans with something they’re not used to: hope.
Wizards people talk about Seraphin’s strong work ethic; he actually enjoys being coached. Fans should look for Seraphin to start drawing double teams regularly. Then, sit back and watch as he beats them with his nifty footwork and nice shooting touch. You may not want to leave your seat when Seraphin has the ball down low. You just may miss seeing a great jump-hook shot.
Seraphin’s one-on-one matchups against the game’s best big men also should be entertaining. He did just fine against Celtics future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett.