Morning tip: Seraphin displays 'hunger for ball'

Morning tip: Seraphin displays 'hunger for ball'
October 4, 2013, 8:00 am
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Washington Wizards forward Kevin Seraphin (13) poses for a portrait during Wizards media day at Verizon Center.

(Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE)

FAIRFAX, Va. -- The results of the Kevin Seraphin experiment this summer will be on display for all to see Tuesday, when the Wizards play their first preseason game vs. the Brooklyn Nets. 

So much has been made of his development. Seraphin stayed in the area, did individual workouts with coach Randy Wittman and his staff at Verizon Center and bypassed playing for his French national team. 

Logic dictates that if Seraphin has improved going into his fourth season, he should be in the starting lineup while Emeka Okafor (herniated disk) recovers.

He has the support system. On offense, Seraphin has had issues reading double-teams and holds onto the ball too long in the post. On defense, his rotations aren't always crisp. 

"We're trying to help him on defense," said Nene, the starting 7-foot power forward and backup center. "The assistant coaches talk to  him, Al (Harrington), myself, and the other guys. We give him advice on defense . … (He needs to) have that read automatic in a game. That's what he needs to practice. He needs to put in his mind. He needs to visualize it to use during the game."

The Wizards were off Thursday but were back at Verizon on Friday for an open workout. A year ago, Nene missed his first camp while he healed from a left foot injury. 

"This year is going to benefit in terms of Nene and Al and guys he can learn from in a setting like this for a whole month," Wittman said after his team wrapped up five days of training on the campus of George Mason University. "Last year he didn't have that. ... They have been in Kevin's ear a lot."

Wittman wasn't pleased was with Seraphin's rebounding, either. He averaged 4.4 in 22 minutes, and last season the coach pointed it out when reading the statistical breakdown during postgame interviews on several occasions.

If the Wizards want to be a team that pushes the pace with John Wall to get easy baskets, they have to fill the void left by Okafor, who led them with 8.8 rebounds per game. 

"That's the one thing I was impressed with," Wittman said when asked about Seraphin's hustle. "He did show me better hunger for the ball. Rebounds are hunger for the ball. Now we got to continue that. ... We got to continue to put that forth in games."

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