The Wizards conducted an open practice at the Fort Belvoir Army Base in Virginia in front of about 300+ military personnel and their families on Monday. With the practice being aired live on NBATV, we got plenty of mic’d up #WittmanFace and John Wall on the floor as they went through various team drills and concepts.
The event served as a good token of exposure for the Wizards despite the absence of Bradley Beal. Wall and Paul Pierce took a seat with the NBATV tandem of David Aldridge and Dennis Scott to discuss a few things while Marcin Gortat did the same…with himself.
Here’s a summary.
John Wall to Pierce: Do to me what you did to Rondo.
A lot of hype this offseason has been revolved around the acquisition of Paul Pierce mainly because of the leadership, the championship experience, and the type of character he brings to the locker room. Because of this, just about every interview conducted with Wall or Beal has them talking about the kind of influence and impact Pierce has brought upon them because of those traits.
But one thing I hadn’t heard from Wall was what he told Aldridge in regards to the conversations he’s been having with Pierce.
DA: What have you talked with Paul about since he’s been here?
Wall: Just what did they do to help Rondo be so successful? Rondo wasn’t a great offensive player, he just finished around the basket, kept his dribble alive, ran pick and rolls and got those guys the ball in the right situations. And he was tellin’ me ‘you just gotta be aggressive. You’re the leader of our team and we go as far as you go.’ That’s something they had to set with Rondo, letting him be the third option on their team. I’m getting used to him setting me screens, getting me open, and it’s making the job a lot easier for me.
Not a bad conversation to have with a guy who did in fact make his previous point guard’s life so much more easier. The situation Rondo incurred in Boston with Pierce and company can seem comparable to Wall’s here in DC. Rondo is a well-known facilitator of offenses who slowly began to develop a more consistent jump shot, something very similar to what John is going through now. If Pierce truly proves he’s got enough juice left and Beal can stay healthy, that’ll definitely help Wall in not having to be a primary scoring option, but rather a second, or even third depending on Pierce’s progress.
Paul Pierce: 37 years young?
With the excitement of Pierce’s signing comes a bit of hindrance. Paul turned a ripe 37 years of age yesterday and because of that, there has been some obvious curiosity, specifically in regards to his minutes and playing time. That was the first thing D.A. asked Paul about and what he responded with was, I guess, slightly unsettling:
“This is something we’re going to look at through the course of the season; either limited minutes or taking some games off or something. Just to make I’m healthy and some of the other guys are healthy going into the playoffs.”
Now what Pierce said is obviously not something to run with as a confirmed process for his minutes management. But it’s also not something you like to hear considering how much the Wizards are unable to afford the absence of practically ANYONE on the roster for ANY period of time. The only way I see Pierce actually taking games off is if guys like Otto and Glen Rice allow the coaching staff to be comfortable enough to shelve him.
But anyways, what I did love about Pierce’s interview is what I’ve loved hearing him talk about since he got here and that’s why he specifically chose the Wizards.
“This is a young hungry team; great backcourt. And I was watched them in the playoffs last year I was like ‘man they could’ve really beat the Indiana Pacers.’ I really thought they could’ve won that series, they just didn’t have the experience or the guy to tell them ‘this is what we need to do down the stretch’ and when looked at them, I felt like I could be that guy to help them in those close games in the playoffs.”
We’re holding you to that, Paul.