Media day has arrived, Midnight Tip-off to follow
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?
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