Wizards Insider

Rookies Don't Wait Long For First Playing Time

By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 2, 2007

BOSTON, Nov. 1 -- When Washington Wizards guard DeShawn Stevenson had to leave Wednesday's season opener at Indiana early in the first quarter with what turned out to be a minor knee injury, Coach Eddie Jordan looked down his bench and summoned Nick Young as a replacement.

The move was somewhat surprising given that Young is a rookie and Jordan had two veteran guards available in Antonio Daniels and Roger Mason Jr., but Jordan said he went into the game wanting to give Young and fellow rookie Dominic McGuire their first taste of regular season action.

Young played just under seven minutes in two separate stints while McGuire played just less than two minutes near the end of the first half. Young made his first shot -- a three-pointer from the wing that gave the Wizards a brief lead early in the fourth quarter -- and missed one other. McGuire's only recorded statistic was a foul.

"I wanted to get their feet wet," Jordan said. "I talked to them [Thursday] and they said, 'Coach, we needed that.' They said they were nervous and I told them that's okay, they needed to get their feet wet. I thought that was crucial. Now, you may lose a skirmish here or there when they're in the game, but they've worked hard in practice and I think they're going to be key elements for us as the season goes on. It was good that they got it out of their system."

Outside of taking brief looks at his rookies, Jordan mainly stuck with an eight-man rotation in the opener, something he said he'd likely do early in the season.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company