Wizards media day: 19 players, for now

Wizards media day: 19 players, for now
October 1, 2012, 11:14 pm
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Another Wizards media day has come and gone,meaning the latest training camp is on the cusp of tipping off. Before we get too far down the line of position battles, injury updates and who said what, it might be wise to simply remind everyone who is here.With the addition of veteran point guard Jannero Pargo, the Wizards enter the weeklong camp with a 19-man roster. That includes John Wall, who is expected to miss eight weeks with a leg stress fracture, and Nene, who was not quite ready to offer a timetable for his return from plantar fasciitis.That leaves at least 17 other bodies available for Randy Wittman's first training camp as Wizards head coach. The general position breakdown and projected hierarchy is as follows:Power forward: Nene, Trevor Booker, Jan Vesely, Brian Cook, Shavlik RandolphSmall forward: Trevor Ariza, Chris Singleton, Martell Webster, Cartier MartinCenter: Emeka Okafor, Kevin Seraphin, Earl BarronShooting guard: Jordan Crawford, Bradley Beal, Steven GrayPoint guard: John Wall, Jannero Pargo, A.J. Price, Shelvin MackAs for today, all the players spoke with the media - or at least were made available on the team's practice court. As expected, lots of "what did you think when you heard about John Wall's injury" questions were asked. Jordan Crawford's quote here proved rather atypical, though there is nothing ordinary about replacing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft (Taking that lofty status up a notch, Wall casually referred to himself the basketballeras once in a lifetime to find people like that.) Including Pargo's partially guaranteed contract, 15 players have fully or partially guaranteed deals. Of the non-roster players, Cook, a nine-year veteran, has the best chance of making the roster especially if Nene's injury lingers into the regular season. Gray's outside shooting gives him a punchers chance. The odds are much steeper, if not off the charts, for Randolph and Barron barring additional injuries.As discussed earlier today, Pargo joins the Plan B point guard options. Make me guess now and I'll say that starting the season he comes off the bench.I kind of like his energy and veteran presence in that scenario - plus it puts him in position tonurture the 19-year-old Beal while providing a 1-2 perimeter punch off the bench. That makes Price- and his solid game- the starter with Wall out. Once Wall is back, Price'sminutes could fade away from there with Pargo perhaps being the better option for the needed8-10 minute a game role. As for Mack, the addition of not one but two veteran point guards puts not only his primary backup role in jeopardy, but also his place on the roster. Assuming the Wizards keep 15 players, the final spot could come down to Mack or Cook. The prognosis for Wall and Nene's health as the Oct. 30 season opener at Cleveland nears could be the tipping point.The battle for minutes behind Ariza, the presumed starter,at small forward is another one to watch. Singleton started 51 games and played in all 66 as a rookie, but if the Wizards are to improve their outside shooting, Martin or Webster need to play. The two swingmen could take a turn in the backcourt, but Crawford and Beal figure to gobble up the shooting guard minutes.Speaking of Nene, I tried pinning down the easy going big man or at least getting any kind of specific timetable for his return from the plantar fasciitis injury he reacquired during the Summer Olympics. Me: Do you think you'll be available for training camp this week?Nene: "I don't give specific time. I am just going to control my act, go to therapy, rest and do what is possible to get well." Me: How about tomorrow?Nene:"Same answer."I'll fill you in on tomorrow's dramatic findings, but the apparent goal for Nene's full return is opening night with anything else being a bonus.Training camp officially opens Tuesday at George Mason with a morning and evening practice session, a plan in place during the bulk of the week spent on the Fairfax campus. The first of eight preseason games is Oct. 7 at Charlotte and the final day of camp is Oct. 9.And for those wondering, no, there will not bea Gilbert Arenas sighting unless the ex-Wizard and current free agent joins a team that plays these Wizards. Just wanted to make that clear.Ben Standig blogs about the Wizards, Redskinsand the D.C. area college basketball scene for CSNwashington. You can reach him by email at bstandig@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @benstandig.