Morris Almond didn’t get an opportunity to play much in his return to the NBA, but the Wizards saw enough to invite him to join the team for summer league. If he plays well in Las Vegas this July, Almond could possibly earn an invitation to training camp with the Wizards.
But he might want to consider quietly walking away — because based on his short stint in Washington, Almond could go down as the greatest winner in Wizards franchise history. He didn’t win a championship or anything, but the Wizards didn’t lose a game with him on the roster.
“I’m not going to say anything, but we did go undefeated in the Morris Almond era. I’ll let you put two and two together,” Almond said with a sly grin. “I went undefeated. I was 6-0. Hold onto that. It’s always fun to win, under any circumstances.”
The Wizards were 14-46 when Almond joined the team in Chicago on April 16. Almond dressed but didn’t play when they upset the Bulls, who were playing without Derrick Rose and Luol Deng. He appeared in just four games, scoring a total of 14 points in 66 minutes. But after bouncing around the NBA Development League, Spain, Italy and even Ukraine, Almond, a former first-round pick, relished the chance to be back in the NBA after being out of the league the past three seasons.
“Even though it was 10 days, I was appreciative as I was the day I got drafted, so it was a good way to end the season for me,” said Almond, whom Utah drafted 25th overall in 2007.
Almond, 27, was also excited about playing in Washington. Though he played at Rice and grew up in the Atlanta suburbs, Almond has family in the area and had planned on visiting with them when he got the call about joining the Wizards. Though he doesn’t have a blemish on his record, Almond is interested in coming back and possibly experiencing a loss or two with the Wizards — as long as he gets to stick around.
“It was short . . . but I played hard when I was out there, and things will sort themselves out this summer, but like I said, I was just glad to be part of it at the end,” Almond said. “You know what? Everybody sees [former Washington Post columnist and ESPN personality Mike] Wilbon bashing the guys on “PTI,” and the record and whatnot, but it was a total opposite of what I actually came here. Aside from the wins, it’s just a class organization all the way through.”
The Wizards will probably seek some perimeter help in the draft and/or free agency this offseason, so Almond also knows that he isn’t assured a spot with the Wizards — or any other team — next season.
“Well, you know it’s up in the air at this point,” Almond said. “I guess being a free agent, it’s just up in the air, but right now I just want to unwind and decompress a little bit from this year. No more Eastern Europe for me, but it’s a lot of options actually, so I just have to weight everything out in the coming weeks.”