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Media day has arrived, Midnight Tip-off to follow


It's time, John. You ready? (Reuters Pictures)


It's time to unwrap the packaging on a new season, a new era -- the John Wall era -- on Monday, when the new-look Wizards are introduced during Media Day at Verizon Center and practice after dark about nine hours later at George Mason's Patriot Center, during the NBA's first-ever Midnight practice (which will be televised on NBA TV). Flip Saunders will be back as coach, as well as four players who were around this time last year, in Gilbert Arenas, Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee and Nick Young. Two pieces from last season's roster overall are also back in Josh Howard and Al Thornton.

But they also have a new face of the franchise in No. 1 overall pick Wall; three other new rookie big men in Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker and Hamady Ndiaye; a new veteran guard in Kirk Hinrich, a new big man from China in Yi Jianlian; a former lottery pick looking to find his way in Hilton Armstrong; a former top three pick looking to revitalize his career in Adam Morrison; two players who turned summer league performances into training camp invitations in Lester Hudson and Kevin Palmer; a player who has turned a few 10-day contracts last season into a tryout in Cartier Martin; a 10-year veteran big man in Sean Marks; and another veteran combo guard in Mardy Collins.

All of the new pieces have brought "freshness," as President Ernie Grunfeld likes to call it. And, there is a lot of optimism, especially from this young roster, because the players will get opportunities like never before. With the Wizards in rebuilding mode, the focus is on finding the core players to develop and growth with for future seasons. The Wizards "will not be mundane" with how they market this team, and they will be hard at work today. While the Wizards pose for photos and Arenas speaks to reporters for the first time since he said "David Stern is mean," the Wizards cheerleaders and former Bullet Gheorge Muresan will be on George Mason's campus getting the student body amped up for the party tonight.

The emphasis will certainly be on the team, not one player or a small set of players. It's an exciting new era, since the expectations are simply to play hard and be competitive. Ownership, the front office, and the coaching staff will be patient to an extent. They won't let the players slide, but they will be realistic. And, with so many new pieces, it's very difficult to determine how the season will play out. I broke down some of the concerns facing the team, but I wanted to get your thoughts on what you feel is the issue that will have the greatest influence on the Wizards this season.

Also, feel free to write what questions you have for the players on this training camp roster?

By Michael Lee  | September 27, 2010; 10:10 AM ET
 
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Comments

Will all the egos mesh is the key - Gil will feel like he has to get along with Wall so will he bring the real deal or will he be subdued as he was at times last year when trying to fit in. Hopefully he will be who he is - a man who can take over a game. How will Dray mesh - he was the team the last part of last year and he grew from that, can he fit as piece instead of being the whole? Can Wall run the floor and distribute to each of these personalities in way that makes a team. Can Fip actually lead these people or will he be along a for a very short ride if he cannot meld them. All in all it will be interesting.

Posted by: h20law2000 | September 27, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

CHEMISTRY

Posted by: jefferu | September 27, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Javale Mcgee is the key.

It's clear to Ted that Wall/AB can be cornerstones of a perennially strong team. If JM comes along, JUST LIKE THAT, the wizards are deep in the mix. Everybody sees his potential and by picking up his option management is showing him they like his recent hard work...now it's time to see if he's progressed.

No guarantees he will, but if he does, 'building through the draft' will be about adding role players outside the lottery not enduring abysmal season hoping for another top3 pick.

WE WON THE LOTTERY, I for one hope to not be in it again for a long, long time!

Posted by: divi3 | September 27, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Patience.
From the fans, from the coaching staff, from the front office if this team starts something like 6-20.

There aren't enough pieces to be a contender.

Posted by: bozomoeman | September 27, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Will Seraphin be effective as an enforcer type because both JaVale and Blatche need somebody to play with a physical presence inside.

Posted by: G-Man11 | September 27, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

The eve of the first training camp of the Grunfeld Era is upon us.

Under Ernest Grunfeld's enlightened and dogged leadership, the building blocks are solidly in place for this franchise to eventually return to greatness.

To wit: Anyone who has watched this team knows that for decades we have lacked athleticism and toughness. Lo and behold, Wall and Booker have both of these characteristics in spades and have been been added to the fold by our Ernest.

Similarly, Seraphin's toughness cup runneth over. As I mentioned this summer, Seraphin is a warrior who, upon meeting you for the first time, would just as soon give you a roundhouse right as shake your hand! It is unquestionably his preferred form of communication.

And I haven't even mentioned the young vets poised to seize stardom and respect from the league this year without flinching.

I warn those of you attending the Midnight Madness event to wear sunglasses. The Wizards' young stars are bright!

In Grunfeld We Trust!!

Posted by: melodious_thunk | September 27, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Javale Mcgee is the key.
Posted by: divi3

I expect McGee to be more productive. Between, the addition of Wall, the asthma diagnosis, and the work he put in over the summer, he should be a solid, consistent contributor this year, but we're still a ways away at the C position overall. Even with the strength he's added, he's not going to be strong enough or experienced enough to hold down the middle every night. And right now, behind him, there are just a lot more questions.

We could also use a legit answer at the SF. Lots of potential pieces who bring different things to the table, but I don't see any one guy jumping out as "the" starter. Howard has the tools and the experience, but I expect him to be slowed by his knee recovery, regaining confidence in it, etc, for a while.

Regardless, this should be a fun team to watch this year. I still feel like we'll be competitive in most games, but will lose a lot of them late in the 4th. But maybe not.

Gonna try and make it out to Midnight Madness, but if not, the DVR is set!

Posted by: ts35 | September 27, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Questions: how about ALL OF THE ABOVE?

Posted by: ttn703 | September 27, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Arenas and Howard...those are the keys. If they are at the top of their games then Wall/Arenas/Howard/Blatche and McGee the wildcard is real nice.

If the light bulb can come on for Nick like it did for AB last season even better...including I think Seraphin can be a physical presence and Yi brings some more scoring on the bench.

I still hope Lester Hudson makes the team.

Should be fun to watch.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | September 27, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Please stop all the Trade Gilbert talk. He will be the major reason this team makes the playoffs this year. I can see Gilbert and Hinrich closing out alot of games this year. This is going to be a great season can't wait.

Posted by: lemekdivine | September 27, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Pleas stop all the trade Gilbert talk. He will be the main reason the Wizards make the playoffs this season. I can also see Hinrich and Arenas closing out alot of games. This is going to be a fun season.

Posted by: lemekdivine | September 27, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Lemekdivine. My sentiments exactly. Wonder what they will say when all goes well and Gil,Wall and Henrich are torching them. Then what. I don't care what the original intent of the article is, somebody always find a way to turn it into a trade Gil rant. Relax everyone, it's going to be a fun season, so get your tix. I got mine!

Posted by: ivyleague | September 27, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

are they tough enough up front? the front court is ultra athletic, if not a tad undersized (off the bench mainly), but none of the guys we've actually seen play would be considered physical players. Do the wiz have enough grit up front is my main concern...

Posted by: cedric_lockhart | September 27, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

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