Young Starts, Iverson Sits
Flip Saunders finally announced his starter for the preseason opener and it's (drum roll, please) Nick Young. Saunders selected Young over veterans DeShawn Stevenson and Mike Miller, among others. He will open the game with Gilbert Arenas, Brendan Haywood, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison.
Young emerged from the morning shootaround flashing a humongous grin and Andray Blatche playfully snatched his baseball cap as he prepared to talk to reporters. When asked about his immediate reaction, Young said, "I was excited." But Arenas wouldn't let Young's head swell.
"Gil was talking trash," Young said. "[Arenas said,] 'Just as fast as they say Nick Young, they gon' say Nick Young's sub if you mess up.' I got to deal with that all night."
Young isn't necessarily the opening day starter, but has played well in training camp. He's been one of the most consistent players all week, running around screens, knocking down shots and keeping the game simple.
"I just think our veteran players, DeShawn and Mike and those guys have been through a lot of these," Saunders said. "It's a good opportunity for him and to bring those other guys a little bit slower."
Young has talked openly all training camp about taking the starting job and he has shown what the right attitude and focus will do for him. "I'm happy. I've been working hard and it's starting to show a little bit," he said. "I played good. They seen some good things in me. They just testing me, so I'm just going to go out there and play harder today."
Saunders said he will likely play Arenas about eight-to-10 minutes and rest him. "We'll see from Gil. I might give him a good blow early and that might be it," Saunders said. "He's gone nine practices, 10 practices now, in seven days. He did some things this morning and he was on his feet a lot and I don't want to keep yo-yoing him at this point."
Fabricio Oberto will be a game-time decision, Saunders said.
The game tonight sold out this morning, with long lines outside the Siegel Center all morning, but I'm sure a lot of the fans will be disappointed. It seems that the Wizards won't be the first team to see Allen Iverson in a Memphis Grizzlies uniform. Iverson will miss tonight's game with a left hamstring strain and have an MRI on Wednesday in Memphis.
Iverson didn't practice yesterday or participate in the Grizzlies' morning shootaround. As he walked out of the Siegel Center this morning, Iverson was rocking a doo-rag, an old California Angels baseball and singing a Michael Jackson tune.
Asked if he's upset about Iverson being out, Young said, "Nah, nah. He's got his braids back."
Young will have the opportunity to play against fellow USC alum, O.J. Mayo, who joined the Trojans right after Young entered the NBA. "We've been playing against each other all summer. I'm just trying to get a win," Young said.
If you want to catch the Wizards game on radio tonight, remember they moved over to WJFK, 106.7 The Fan, which will carry all preseason, regular season and playoff games this season.
By Michael Lee |
October 6, 2009; 1:26 PM ET
Previous: Stevenson Not Backing Down | Next: Preseason Is Here; Grizzlies (0-0) at Wizards (0-0)
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