There is little reason for concern over the actual result in the Wizards 100-88 loss at Charlotte on Sunday, a game in which Washington played without several key contributors and represented the first of eight preseason contests. However, there were two specific points coach Randy Wittman took from the opener and emphasized during Tuesday's morning practice session.
"Fouling. Fouling, No. 1. Ball movement, offensively, No. 2," Wittman said. "We held the ball a little bit too long. Each of us. Instead of making quick decisions. Those probably, two things are the things that we really concentrated on today."
Take a look at the final box score and it's not surprising the coach singled out those areas; offensively the Wizards shot 33 percent from the field and committed 20 turnovers. Whistled for 41 fouls -- five each from forwards Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton -- the Wizards put the Bobcats on the free throw line a whopping 46 times.
"Young guys that are aggressive have to learn how to play aggressive," Wittman said of his second-year forwards. "There is a way to do it. Thats a teaching process that were going through. Both of them. Chris had five fouls in the game too and realistically, three of them for both of them couldve been prevented. Dumb fouls. Four seconds left on the clock in the quarter and Chris fouls 94 feet from the basket, trying to steal the ball at the end of the quarter. Those kind of things, weve got to eliminate, all of us. Just not those two guys, those kind of fouls."
This type of adjustment, Wittman said, is all about experience and communicating.
"Its looking up at the clock and that usually, I lay that on our point guard. Our point guard has to know time situation every minute of the game. Theyve got to know, weve got two fouls to give, or were in the bonus. And tell the bigs, we cant afford any stupid fouls here. Were in the bonus. Thats communication. That was something that was lacking in Charlotte."
Vesely's international background works against him at times, like when he picked 10 fouls in a single game during the Las Vegas Summer League.
"In Europe, you can be more physical. As you can see in games, he's in foul trouble a lot," guard Shelvin Mack said. "He's still trying to adjust to it, but he has the right attitude, staying positive trying to get better every day."
Singleton's aggression also led to nine rebounds in 15 minutes of action. Not having Nene, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Booker on the court led to the Wizards primary starting small forward last season receiving time at power forward against Charlotte.
"We were shorthanded," Wittman said. "We played him some last year that. Kind of gives us the ability to stretch the floor out. We did that a lot last year at the end to spread the floor out with him at the four. John handled the ball on the floor with four other bigs just spread around, so obviously with Booker, Okafor and Nene all out, it gave us a good opportunity to look at that."
Wittman also continues to look at the point guard position with John Wall out of the lineup. Jannero Pargo returned to practice Tuesday after sitting out the last few days including Sunday's game with an abdominal strain, a game in which Mack tallied seven assists without a turnover and A.J. Price was part of the first unit's offensive struggles. Still, more time is required before coming to any rotation conclusions.
"Not really. Well see that more in games. This game is played five-on-five and well see that, as we see these last seven games of the preseason and really get a better feel for that," Wittman said. "Im still evaluating that spot and well continue to do that.
The Wizards wrap up the George Mason University part of training camp Tuesday night with an open practice and a performance by recording artist Wale. Wittman drolly stated enthusiasm for the concert portion of the open practice ("Just cant wait"). Whether he's the kind of guy that has Wale on his IPod or not, the coach obviously is focused elsewhere.
"Camp goes through October. Its the closing of George Mason. We had a good week of practice. Weve got things weve got to do better, obviously through our Charlotte game. We worked pretty good on that today. And then tonight, well put more together in game-like situations, scrimmaging and see if we made any progress from Sunday night Charlotte."
Notes...Trevor Booker remained sidelined with left hamstring soreness...As for Nene, who has yet to practice because of plantar fasciitis, Wittman did not have update on that front. "All do is each morning, I come in, I ask the trainer who I got, who dont have. And thats all I can worry about right now. I write down who I got and we formulate a practice plan and we come out here. And Ill come back tonight and see who I got and who I dont got. Thats my update."