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Day 7, Final Rundown & Miller's Shoes

The Wizards concluded their final practice of training camp and have placed their focus squarely on facing the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday. The NBATV crew was here filming the entire practice, which was similar to previous ones, with the exception that Flip Saunders used Mike Miller and DeShawn Stevenson much more with starters Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and Brendan Haywood.

Saunders said he still hasn't made a decision his starting shooting guard and likely won't make an announcement until Tuesday. Asked how he will pick a starter, Saunders said, "Maybe rock, paper, scissors."

But he added that his choice as the starter against Memphis "is not going to have a bearing on who is going to be a starter on opening night." He hinted that his decision could be based largely on what Memphis decides to do with Allen Iverson. Saunders would like to have Stevenson matched up with Iverson, whether the former league's most valuable player starts or comes off the bench.

Fabricio Oberto was able to participate in the entire practice after sitting most of the past two with a tightened left hamstring. Saunders said he would decide on playing or resting Oberto based on how Oberto feels on Tuesday. He also said that he doesn't plan on using every player against Memphis and would give one or two players some rest each preseason game.

Randy Foye will probably start out as Arenas's primary backup at point guard, since he has spent all of his time during training camp in that role. "He's played really well," Saunders said. "He's picking things up, becoming more of a vocal leader on the floor. He's big. He's strong. He has the ability to get to the basket when he wants. I think he's been very consistent through camp and we expected that. We expected him to be a guy where there isn't a lot of dropoff. We've played him pretty much exclusively at the one and as we get him in the preseason, we'll use him some at the two, so that he has the ability to play with Gil at times."

Saunders said the performance of the players in camp has provided a challenge in selecting his regular rotation. "They have made it very difficult for me," Saunders said. "I'd feel comfortable playing any of those guys out there. You see what's happened, these guys have worked out all summer and it's paid off, they have a good camp."

The Wizards and Grizzlies will both get their first encounter with replacement referees. When Saunders was informed that two preseason games have already featured 56 fouls called, he joked, "If that's the case, if somebody has an early flight, they might miss it. When you get into it, players will adjust and referees with adjust, too. The guys that [the NBA is] using, the replacement refs, they are trying to figure it out, too. I say that now and I might be screaming at them tomorrow."

Saunders' goal tomorrow: "Keep guys healthy and make sure you're not in a situation where anyone gets hurt."

Miller said he's looking forward to finally facing someone who doesn't have "Wizards" across his chest. "Anytime you go through a week like we went through, going against each other and banging against each other and competing with each other, it's good to get some new blood in here. It's going to be fun. It's going to be one step closer to the regular season, which we're all excited for."

But before he steps on the court, Miller may have to get a new pair of shoes. Unaware of the Wizards' rivalry with Cleveland, Miller has been wearing LeBron James's signature sneakers during training camp. You already know that's trouble.

Miller has been wearing Adidas since he was a sophomore in high school but switched to Nike after signing a contract with them this summer. He's been urged by Deshawn Stevenson, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison to wear any pair but the ones donned by the could-be King.

"We already talked about that," said Stevenson, a noted James agitator. "He got to get 'em out of here. We already had a discussion. He said he going to try some new shoes. Me, Caron, Antawn told him about how we feel about them. LeBron shoes -- we off that. We already got war against them. He can't wear that. It's all beef right there."

Miller joked that he has not been able to avoid getting ribbed in the locker room for his footwear. "They've been on me for it," Miller said. "When you're unathletic and white like me, you got to have the lightest shoe out there. They feel good on my feet. It's no disrespect. I didn't know you guys hated each other like that. I've been on Front Street in the locker room. I told them 'No disrespect.' "

Butler is also signed with Nike. Would he wear a pair of Carons? "That's what I might go to," Miller said with a laugh. "If they're light enough and they fit my feet right, I'll do it. I'll go out there in Chuck Taylors if they don't hurt my feet."

By Michael Lee  |  October 5, 2009; 3:50 PM ET
 
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Next: Stevenson Not Backing Down

Comments

Chuck Taylors. Now that's right.

Posted by: Matte | October 5, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

how does mike miller not have a shoe deal

Posted by: prescrunk | October 5, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

"how does mike miller not have a shoe deal"

That’s rhetorical right?

Posted by: ericmc1998 | October 5, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

^ after winning ROTY i would have thought Adidas would have wanted to market Eminems to every "unathletic and white" kid out there

Posted by: prescrunk | October 5, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I bought the Fat Joe Hi-top at K-mart last night. Now I regret it because the sole is as flimsy as a slipper. I didn't notice it in the store.

Posted by: MeviousMan | October 5, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I bought the Fat Joe Hi-top at K-mart last night. Now I regret it because the sole is as flimsy as a slipper. I didn't notice it in the store.

Posted by: MeviousMan | October 5, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I am stoked to go to the game tomorrow night. I hope Flip plays as many folks as possible because I want to see them all on the court.

As far as McGee vs. Kwame goes, i thought the difference was that Kwame was lazy and McGee was working hard. At least that was the story I had heard all last year and this summer. Now it ends up McGee didn't work that hard this summer???

I remember Kwame his second season came out with that monster game opening night. Something like 18 boards and 19 pts with 6 blocks (I'll look it up later). Then nothing. He was the best guy on the court for about 3 minutes a game and then was lost lost lost.

I have higher hopes for McGee. Hope he sees Kwame as a warning tale, not an inspiration.

Posted by: Blurred | October 5, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

OK, so it was 18 boards, 12 pts and 5 blocks...but 2 assists also!!! By the way, they lost to Toronto 74-68 that game...ouch.

Kwame is only 26???

Posted by: Blurred | October 5, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Miller ought to wear the Kobes. They're much better designed than the LeBrons, which look like ski boots.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | October 5, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone think DAVIS or GRIER make this team? I do not. I also think J-CRIT will be offered up at the end of training camp, and we carry only thirteen players even if we have to take a hit for releasing him. Now I like CRITTER. I think if he had a chance to stay and learn something he'd become NBA starter material. He's a team player, the anti-MIKE JAMES if you will.

Posted by: glawrence007 | October 5, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

JC has GIFTS. Although Mike James may out work him, MJ will never be as talented. End of story. If JC is pushed out then the reason is not on the court in my opinion.

MM looks good during the practice on NBA TV tonight. He looks much quicker than I thought.

I also wish Young would stop smiling at everyone. It makes him look like he is not concentrating and playing hard. I know, that's my problem, not his.

Posted by: EWE1 | October 5, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Would be surprised if they push JCrit out. Would not make sense to do it.

Why? For what reason? What do we get for pushing him out? We don't need a slot for someone coming in. Dosen't make sense to push him out at this point.

Maybe the old Wizards would make such a nonsensical decision. Can't see why this new regime would.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 6, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

From the sound of things, Mcgee is out of the rotation and I don't hear too much about McGuire, either. DS may make it based on his experience and the fact that he doesnt look to score.

On a side note, lets's keep reminding Mike and others about the profanity and the need to actually implement a ban against folks who use it. It's not going to stop until something is done. He'll lay low for a while and then start it up all over again.

Posted by: original_mark | October 6, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Giving up JCrit at this point now that I have slept on it makes even less sense.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 6, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: original_mark | October 6, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Can't think of one reason the Wiz would release JC. If James goes in a trade, or isn't resigned at the end of the season, there's a role here for JC.

Mike James might get more time at the beginning of the season then any of us quessed. It's a contract year, the guy's really motivated to get one more deal. It won't be here. Flip and Ernie might showcase him a little early, and look for a deal to bring in another big.

Critt's got some talent, and he's got a very point guard skills. If Young and Miller would end up playing with the second unit, Critt would work very well with them.

Another year of development, he could be a solid rotation guy. He's got the stuff to be a real pest as an "on the ball". The kind of guy that could play a role when the team needs defensive stops.

If McGee is as far behind in learning Flip's system as it sounds, and Oberto is still trying to get into shape after heart surgery, I can see a potential role for Davis on the roster.

He's another big body to practice with, and insurance if Oberto starts out slow. Oberto had to layoff for a long time because of his heart, so he could take awhile to get in game shape.

Can't help but note, Suanders statement yesterday sure sounded like what some of us poor dumb folks here on the board have been saying. He's going to find limited roles for players outside of the 8-9 man so called rotation.

Look for the early season minutes distribution to look more like the Spurs then anything we've seen under Jordan.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | October 6, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

"I also wish Young would stop smiling at everyone. It makes him look like he is not concentrating and playing hard. I know, that's my problem, not his."

I think that's his problem too. Eventually he needs to find the dog in himself and the constant smiles will cease. Not that the guy shouldnt ever smile!

Posted by: divi3 | October 6, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

If Foye continues to impress (haywood said he's been the most consistent player in camp so far)...I would rather see him start at 2 than backup Gil as they are saying now.

Shame Mcgee is buried, I thought he'd do better. Oh well, he's a big, gangly, mofo who wont have grown into his body for several more years...doesnt have to breakout this season

Posted by: divi3 | October 6, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone think DAVIS or GRIER make this team? I do not. I also think J-CRIT will be offered up at the end of training camp...
Posted by: glawrence007 | October 5, 2009 10:05 PM
--------------------

davis and grier were signed on to help with training camp, so no, nobody thinks they will make the team because it's not a tryout.

and there's no evidence whatsoever that critter will be cut. pure speculation and i'm surprised people are actually discussing it like it's a possibility

Posted by: crs-one | October 6, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

No way Critt gets cut. If anything, they'll 'discover' some sort of 'stress fracture' or 'plantar fascitis' that allows him to be put on the injured list.
We'll stash him for a year. After this season theres no Mike James or DS and JC has a role as the backup pg along with Foye.
After last years pg debacle, I can't see us being short at that position anytime soon.

Posted by: original_mark | October 6, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

There's not a chance in hell Crittenton would be cut. There's absolutely nothing to be gained by the Wizards in doing that.

"If anything, they'll 'discover' some sort of 'stress fracture' or 'plantar fascitis' that allows him to be put on the injured list."

There is no "injured list" in the NBA anymore.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 6, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

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