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Wizards Media Day Shenanigans: The 2015 Version

(Video produced by Will Davidson/Hoop District)

A mellowish vibe absorbed the in-arena practice facility inside the Verizon Center at the beginning Wizards Media Day on Monday morning. With media members’ stomachs filled with the catered donuts from Dunkin Donuts (thanks Ted!), and the only players available for interviews being various second unit guys and the soon-to-be-ridden training camp invitees, the excitement on the practice floor almost equated to that of a waiting room in a dentist’s office. Okay, maybe not nearly as dreadful as that but an early panoramic view of the affair stretching from Jared Dudley in one corner discussing his path to recovery from an ailing leg injury to Garrett Temple scribbling circles on some player survey sheet on a clipboard, well, things had to start picking up. They eventually would.

Let’s see, what’s Kris Humphries talkin’ bout? Oh, an enchanting summer by a lake in Minnesota. Compelling story but not really. Super chill dude, though.

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(Photo courtesy of @HoopDistrictDC)

Yo! There’s Alan Anderson! *Actual excitement but limited*

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I walked upon Anderson answering a question about why the Wizards were the best fit for him. His response was pretty generic and wasn’t offering us the obvious answer. So I took a stab more:

Me: John Wall has had a reputation of making other players around him better. Is this something you’ve realized and something that excites you a bit more playing for the Wizards?

Alan: “Oh yeah, man. He’s electrifying on both ends of the ball. Whether he has the ball or without the ball he’s still a threat. Me, I’m a pretty good spot shooter and move without the ball myself. I think we’re going to like playing with each other a lot.”

BAM. Journalism bro.

When I suggested playing in an offense facilitated by John was like hitting the basketball lottery, Anderson smirked and we both nodded in agreement.

Okay. Cool. Warming up a bit here. *Undoes top button of SMedium-sized Express shit*

Sweet, here comes Nene. Finally someone from the starting lineup. Wait. Is he going to start? Whatever. Shit. He’s already being warped in by the media herd.

Yeah so the deal is that if you’re seeking a quote from the soft-spoken Nene with his considerably thick Portuguese accent, but you’re not in the first or second row of reporters around him, you’ll need to just settle for a blurry iOS photo (that you’re probably going to delete later) and go find something else to do.

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After turning myself about 180 degrees I found Drew Gooden. Drizzle is always a good interview. And where did he get that tan from? Likely not in Bethesda.

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Gooden spoke of the high confidence he had in this year’s Wizards team going into the season:

“The expectation the last two years was trying to make the playoffs. I think we set a certain standard now of almost reaching the Conference Finals the last two years and potentially wanting to reach the Finals eventually. I think that’s our expectations now and that’s what we’re going to work towards.”

He also explained why confidence isn’t a problem for Kelly Oubre. Quite simply:

He went to Kansas.

Elsewhere in the first hour of media day… oh that’s neat a life-size cutout of an NBA 2K created player!

*Make-believe intern whispers in my ear, “that’s Jaleel Roberts”.

Oh.

“Zain, tweet a pic and write something funny.”

Next stop on my voyage of Media Day coverage supremacy was Ramon Sessions, who at that moment happened to be the latest victim of that floating clipboard with the player survey. What’s ON that thing!? Are these guys even taking this thing serious or are they just circling “C” all the way down? Perhaps not because not everyone is like me.

About an hour into the bash, Dejuan Blair UWheeled his fridge-like frame through the scattered bodies on the practice floor, then twirled around on it a few times before stepping off for a few glamour shots. Weirdest thing about Dejuan is how much slimmer he looks up close and personal than the muffin top that pops out and becomes so much more noticeable when he’s on the basketball court. IDK just a thought I always had since first interviewing him during last year’s Media Day when I thought to myself that he had lost weight. Only to see him on the floor during the season and hey he’s a box truck again.

Ish Smith in da hooooouse.

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What an interesting career for this guy hop-scotching between eight teams in five years. Last year in Philly, he put up “career” per-game numbers in minutes, points, and assists, albeit in just 25 outings. His shiftiness on the floor might raise some eyebrows in camp and target him as a guy who could bring more depth behind John Wall. Speaking of the captain…

Incoming: WALLLLLL STARRRRRRRRR!!

The Quotables:

Wall, cornered tightly by about five dozen reporters, offered a strong acknowledgement of his increased leadership role in DC and iterated the importance of his squad remaining a defensive-minded team.

“I’ve had a lot of stuff I went through my first couple years so I know what it takes. I know I’m the leader of these guys, so I’ve got a totally different mindset.”

Wall on a so-called fashion rivalry with Kelly Oubre:

“Is it a fashion rivalry already? He ain’t did nothing yet.”

The team goals:

“50 wins and definitely home-court advantage in the playoffs”

How tough of a cover is Kevin Durant on the football field?

“Iono, I just know I had more yards and more catches than him.”

The highlight of this interview was John’s point-blank ass answer when asked where he ranks he and Bradley Beal in the league as a backcourt:

“The best. That’s how I feel. I’m not gonna say no one else better.”

OPEN AND SHUT CASE, CAPTAIN.

Yeah. At times, between the floating clipboards and the awkward, smile-less poses, it became hard to realize you weren’t really inside a DMV.

The Washington Wizards’ championship belt…yes, it was a thing at Media Day.

Marcin Gortat approves Hoop District. #STAYWOKE

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