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Sights And Sounds From Wizards Media Day 2016

The Washington Wizards 2016-17 season went unofficially underway with Media Day on the eve of the team’s training camp on the campus of VCU. Here are is part 1 of the highlights from the three-hour event, broken down player by player as well as head coach Scott Brooks.

Scott Brooks

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  • Brooks spoke on John Wall’s knee rehab; said he will go through “bits and pieces” of Washington’s training camp practices as he recovers from surgery he had on both knees earlier in the offseason. He has “progressed well” going from 1-on-0, 1-on-1, to now 3-on-3. Wall had a “great workout” two hours before Media Day on Monday.
  • If Wall can’t start the season, Brooks likes that Trey Burke has a “chip on his shoulder.”
  • Who knows, maybe Tomas Satoransky could also get some minutes at point guard. Brooks raved about his skills:
    “I think he has great potential. He has great size, great athleticism, he can guard multiple positions, he’s really developed his outside shot, he runs the court very well, he handles the ball, and I think he has a great chance to continue to improve within our program.”
  • Not necessarily an open competition, but Brooks confirmed Kelly Oubre Jr. has a chance to earn a starting job over Otto Porter Jr. at the small forward position.
  • Brooks likes that all of his bigs bring a different and positive attribute to the team but discussed that some will have to make sacrifices. “If we have a group that sacrifices for one another, we have a chance to be successful in this league.”
  • Brooks on the tail end of the roster: “All of the players we brought into camp aren’t just fill-in players. They legitimately have a chance to make this team.” That’s good news for Johnny O’Bryant, Daniel Ohefu, and Casper Ware, but keeps the pressure on Danuel House and Sheldon McClellan.
  • Brooks had a great take on the rumored John Wall and Bradley Beal dislike for one another:
    “If you have a team that bickers with one another constantly. You don’t have a good team. If you have a team that never has any disagreements, you don’t have a good team. That means you don’t care. There’s a balance.”

  • Confirmed: besides Wall, the rest of the Wizards players are healthy.
  • On potential National Anthem protests, Brooks has had “good dialogue” with his players:
    “I believe in peaceful protest. But I also believe if you are gonna peacefully protest, you have to have some action behind it. Our guys have an incredible impact.”
  • The two most interesting – and likely to be debated by fans – comments from Brooks were that general manager Ernie Grunfeld “has put a great team together” and that DC is “one of the best sports town in America.” We’re not too sure about that.

John Wall

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  • On his knee rehab:
    “I’m doing great, I’m feeling great, I’m in no rush. Play basketball, that’s all I want to do. But I’m in no rush. Coming into year seven and just understanding that this is more important for my future and down the road with my career. Rush my way back and the probably don’t know how much timetable I would have left to play in my career. Taking my time and making sure everything is feeling right, it’s a long season.”
    Wall is unsure if he will be on a minute’s restriction when he returns.
  • Wall said the current Wizards squad is “probably the most complete team we have. We have a lot of young guys, couple veteran guys, rim protection, and added some athleticism to our backcourt and frontcourt, and low post scoring.”
  • On his so-called “dislike” for Beal:
    “We just two competitive people. Whenever you have your two best players and they both want those game winning shot and those type of plays, you are going to have disagreements on the court. But other than that, we’re fine. We talked about it and we both two grown men. We don’t dislike each other, it’s just at times any tandem that has great players and two great players that want to be great we going to have disagreements from time to time. But other than that, we’re fine.”
    Wall followed up with:
    “People always want to put words in your mouth and make it seem like it’s worse than what it was. We all knew Brad was going to get paid a certain contract and he deserved it.”
    Wall was more upset that critics claimed he did not deserve his $80 million contract when he re-signed.
  • On Coach Brooks:
    “He’s going to hold players accountable and that’s something that I like. I don’t like a coach that likes to show favoritism to the best player or whoever it is. The best player or the worst player doing something wrong, you have to get on them and that’s the way Coach Brooks is and I think that’s gonna make our team better.”
  • On the Twitter hate for wearing a Cowboys Emmitt Smith jersey at a Redskins home game:
    “That didn’t bother me at all. Every time I saw Cowboys [when asked his favorite team on the Verizon Center jumbotron], I get the biggest boos in the arena. I’m fine with that, I wasn’t really upset about that.”
  • It should be remembered that Wall is deeply entrenched in the DMV community in ways much more important than supporting local sports teams. Wall was recently recognized for another community award. “It’s an honor to be recognized,” Wall said. “I don’t have to do it, I do it because I want to, it’s from the bottom of my heart. I enjoy being there with the kids, interacting and a lot of people do it but don’t spend their time. I think time is most important out of anything.”
  • On a potential National Anthem protest: “We’re going to have a talk as a team, as a whole group.”

Bradley Beal

  • On Coach Brooks:
    “He jumps on out there every now and then and thinks he still has it so we might have to, come practice, rough him up a little bit.”
  • On John Wall:
    “He always has a chip on his shoulder. I think he may even be a little ahead of schedule and he looks good from what I can see.”
  • On his relationship with John Wall:

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    “It’s great. How do you think it is?” Beal retorted to laughs from the media.
    “It’s great, I think what people gets misconstrued is we are both competitors and I didn’t take what he said as a backlash or a sign of him taking a shot at me. We’re both competitors, we both love to compete, we both want to win. That’s what is most important and I think we both realize that.”
    Beal said comparing Wall to his brothers is a great analogy.
  • It is not clear whether Washington will have another year of pace-and-space or revert back to grind-it-out offensive philosophies, but Beal shed some light on the team’s strengths:
    “We have a lot of guys that can shoot the ball. I think we will do a lot of spacing the floor, pick and rolls, and get up and down. I know for sure he wants to run.”
  • A goal Beal shares with Wall is to make an All-NBA defensive team. Additionally, Beal wants to win 50+ games and a championship.
  • Beal does not expect any minute’s restriction for himself this season.
  • On a potential National Anthem protest:
    “If we do it, I think it will be as a team. I think we are going to talk to Coach Brooks and as a team talk about what we feel is right and what we feel we should do, if we were going to do anything. It’s a tough subject given on how you view it because it is bringing awareness to something but it can be a distraction too.”
  • When Beal was told it looked like he lost weight, he kidded back at the reporter questioning if she thought he looked skinny. After a light moment, Beal explained that he does not eat as much junk food: “Just try to eat my greens, do what my mom tells me.”
  • Beal repeatedly stated that he needs to be on the court to earn his contract.
  • All in all, a pretty good outing for Beal at Media Day, until these kid reporters stumped him:



Kelly Oubre

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  • Oubre is working with the Duke Ellington school to help kids express their creativity. “I’m learning from them; they are learning from me.”
  • On Coach Brooks:
    “I’m bought in already. I’m just ready to go to war for him. I’m one of his soldiers and I’m ready to stand on the front line to see what’s up.”
  • Oubre called it a blessing to play under Wall and Beal: “I couldn’t ask for two better leaders.” The junior player also still looks to his father for support as well.
  • The biggest lesson learn for the wing was the importance of a strong work ethic.
  • On his teammates:
    “Everybody came back looking polished. Everybody looks like they’ve been working … I can respect that.”
  • On Coach Brooks’ defense-first mindset:
    “My heart is pumping fast just thinking about that. I’m ready to guard you right here. He [Brooks] wants me to be a lock-down defender in this league and I want to take that challenge with a full head of steam.”
  • Most importantly, the short shorts are here to stay and Oubre hopes he can start a wave. Unfortunately, Wall will not be joining the party.


Ian Mahinmi

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  • On how he can contribute:
    “A lot of energy, protecting the rim, doing my work defensively. The rest will come … eventually we will gel together.”
  • On how his role will work with Marcin Gortat:
    “That’s the million-dollar question right here. This is not the thing I am really focused on. I am more focused on how I can help the team win games. I feel like every other guy in this locker room has the same mindset.”

Markieff Morris

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  • Morris talked about the palpable buzz around Brooks:
    “I’m really excited to start training camp and see the direction that we’re going in.”
    On what he’s worked on the most this summer:
    “Shooting the basketball, focusing on that 3-point shot. Get my feet set and just being able to knock down open shots. 85 percent of the shots are wide open anyway.”
    Morris said 85 percent might turn into 90 if Wall, as he mentioned earlier, posts up more and draws more attention. “I anticipate probably double the amount I shot the last two years,” Morris elaborated on an increase in the number of 3-point shot attempts.

Otto Porter

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  • “It’s like a breath of fresh air,” Porter said about the new season and coaching staff.
    • On having to re-earn his starting small forward role under Brooks: “It’s nothing new to me. That’s what I want. I want the challenge.”
    • Porter is still under contract for one more season beyond this year and has not had any extension talks with the team. Since he is currently worried about basketball, he will let his agent handle those concerns.
    • “It’s gonna open up the court a lot more,” Porter said when told Wall wants to post up more. “It’s going to be beneficial for everyone.”
    • Like many of the other Wizards, Porter thought Satoransky stood out in their pickup games, mentioning specifically “his demeanor, the way he plays, his energy.”

Tomas Satoransky

  • Pronunciation alert! It is almost like Thomas without the ‘h’, not a Spanish accent pronunciation.
  • Satoransky understands that he has to “find another skillset” in the NBA instead of completely relying on his athleticism as he did at times in Europe.
  • On John Wall:
    “Having John along, it just helps me so much. He’s giving me a lot of advice, he became a leader, he’s one of the best point guards in the league and he’s been really helpful to me because every time he’s got a chance, he gives me some advice.”

If you need more convincing that Sato may be the real deal, listen to Marcin Gortat rave about him:

The general vibe out of the prequel to training camp was a positive one, but then again that was the case last season as well. Time will tell just how good Washington’s additions in the coaching and personnel department were during the offseason, which official comes to a close.

Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for Hoop District covering the Wizards. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland, College Park. Neil also covers the Washington Redskins for Breaking Burgundy and Maryland Terrapins for Testudo Times. Neil previously covered the Wizards for District Sports Page and is looking forward to bring his in-person coverage to each of the loyal Hoop District followers.

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