Washington Wizards Rumors
As various players chimed in, including Alan Anderson, who wasn’t with the team in Charlotte as he recovers from ankle surgery, the team’s all-star point guard got something off his chest. “I have to be a leader no matter if I’m playing good or bad,” John Wall recalled texting his teammates before the Wizards fell to the Hornets, 101-87, for their second straight loss. “There’s going to be games over an 82-game season when you’re not playing well, but I’m a better player than that and a better person.”
“This is a copycat league,” said Randy Wittman, who has Kris Humphries jacking 3s and Jared Dudley working as the Wizards’ closing-time power forward. “The success of Golden State has propelled coaches to play more small ball than maybe they even wanted to. More teams will push the envelope.”
Looks like Martell Webster’s time with the Wizards is done. The veteran swingman will miss all of this season without playing a game after undergoing hip surgery Friday, and he’s almost certain to have the last year of his contract bought out next summer.
John Wall is in the second year of a five-year, $80 million contract extension with the Washington Wizards but the point guard is a free agent in the high-stakes sneaker industry for the first time in his career. The two-time all-star’s contract with Adidas expired on Sept. 30, making him available to sign with any sneaker company.
“My main focus is just play basketball. I let my agents and marketing team and them negotiate and talk,” Wall said after shoot-around at the Palace of Auburn Hills before Saturday night’s game against the Detroit Pistons. “I’m just trying to focus on the season and not worry about what’s going on off the court and play basketball.”
The Wizards vowed to play faster than in years past with speedster John Wall directing a remodeled up-tempo offense. They want to wear teams out with constant pressure, pushing the pace whenever possible. They want track meets. To prepare for the rigor, the team ran more in preseason practices than in previous years under Coach Randy Wittman. The early results are striking: Washington ranked first in the NBA in pace at 103.04 possessions per 48 minutes entering Friday’s games after finishing last season 16th at 95.96 possessions per 48 minutes.
Now comes the hard part: sustaining the style without exhausting themselves over the course of the 82-game schedule, which began favorably with a league-low nine games through Friday. That’s where the Viper Pods come in. The devices, designed by a European company called STATSports, track movement, efficiency and biomechanics, removing the guesswork previously required to evaluate a player’s condition. The goal is to limit fatigue and ultimately prevent injuries.