Morning tip: 5 points for preseason opener

Morning tip: 5 points for preseason opener
October 6, 2013, 8:00 am
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Beal wants to be a playmaker in year two

FILE - In this April 12, 2013 file photo, Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, right, is guarded by Philadelphia 76ers point guard Jrue Holiday during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Washington. The aim is pretty clear for Wall and the rest of the Washington Wizards: get to the postseason. Team president Ernie Grunfeld says so. As does coach Randy Wittman. Speaking at a joint news conference Wednesday, Grunfeld says, "Our initial goal is to be a playoff contender and, ultimately, by the end of the year, make the playoffs." Wittman adds, "We want to make the playoffs. ... And there's no reason why we can't." Washington went 29-53 last season, missing out on the postseason for the fifth consecutive year.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

The preseason opens for the Wizards here on Tuesday, when they face the Brooklyn Nets.

They've been doing three-hour sessions for a week going into Sunday, and given where they are at this is what to expect:

  • Otto Porter won't play: The No. 3 overall pick has yet to practice going into Sunday. He has a right hip flexor strain after being limited by hamstring soreness on the same leg this summer. He's not ready with his conditioning to compete, and he doesn't have a grasp on the playbook, either. 
  • Careful with Nene: This is the obvious thing to do given the 7-footer's issues with his left foot. Granted, he's going to have to push himself to the limit at some point but there's no reason to go too fast too soon. Nene spent the summer rehabilitating his body. He has made it through camp without a hitch and mostly needs to just get into game shape. No need for heavy lifting with Kevin Seraphin and Jan Vesely itching for the chance to prove themselves.
  • Lots of small ball: Coach Randy Wittman will be experimenting with plenty of combinations. John Wall, Bradley Beal, Martell Webster, Al Harrington and Vesely could be one. If Wittman wants a better defender, he could opt for Trevor Ariza or Garrett Temple in place of Webster. Rookie Glen Rice could sub for Beal if he's ready for the minutes. The possibilities are endless. With Emeka Okafor (herniated disk) out indefinitely, the Wizards are going to have to perfect this style of play. 
  • Wall-Maynor backcourt: Eric Maynor was signed as a free agent to primarily back up Wall, but his versatility will give Wittman the option of playing both simultaneously. When it happens, it's more likely that Wall will remain running the point
  • Defense > offense: The Wizards have spent most of camp working on their system of defense and not as much offensively. The goal: Keep the ball out the middle and force it into the help. Harrington, Maynor and Rice have had to get those concepts down. The Wizards have made progress, and Wittman admitted recently that they're behind offensively particularly when it comes to turnovers. This was a top 10 defensive team last season. Naturally, they should be better there to start.