Wizards notebook: It's the final countdown

Wizards notebook: It's the final countdown
October 24, 2012, 12:30 pm
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Wizards coach Randy Wittman has made it clear he intends on sticking with the "mix and match" approach over the final two preseason games rather than establishing a set lineup or rotation. With no John Wall (knee), Nene (foot) or Kevin Seraphin (calf), it's not as he has much of choice - though he probably wished he did seeing as the Wizards are set to take on NBA powers Miami and San Antonio.

"There are injuries. There is not much I can do," Wittman said following Tuesday's practice, one that also did not include Bradley Beal (ankle). "I don't know if Bradley is going to play tomorrow. That's going to change things. We're not going into tomorrow's game or Friday's game with this as our starting group."

(For all those craving hoops, both games are televised on Comcast SportsNet, including tonight's matchup against the Heat starting at 8:30 p.m.)

Then again, the Oct. 30 regular season opener at Cleveland is rapidly approaching so it's hard to fathom the coach not favoring those he intends on using when the games turn real (there is another argument that Wittman might want one final look at certain players before having to make roster cuts. Also a valid stance).

Even factoring in Wall's projected month-long regular season absence, Shelvin Mack and Jannero Pargo may well be battling for one spot. Both have only partially guaranteed contracts and the Wizards may need another roster slot for a big man if Nene and Seraphin are not ready to answer the bell in the near future. Though Pargo has started two games while Mack has only come off the bench, the 33-year-old did not see the court in Saturday's win at Milwaukee.

Final cuts are due October 29 at 5 p.m. Don't expect much if any movement from the locals before then.

"We're running out of bodies," Wittman said when asked if any cuts could come before completing both games. "We've got to maintain a chance to get stuff done practice wise."

Regardless of who is out in the court, the Wizards realize they must take advantage of these final fine-tuning situations.

"Clean up our defense and offense. Coach put in some new plays and we want to go out there and execute them versus other teams," guard Jordan Crawford said. "On defense, get back on transition, [grab] loose balls."

Preseason or not, facing the reigning NBA champs and the defending Western Conference regular season champions presents a viable measuring stick.

"it's a great challenge to see where we're at,' Crawford said. "You know they're going to play the right way."

* Beal was more spectator than participant during Tuesday's final practice before the Wizards headed out to Kansas City for Wednesday's meeting with Miami. The rookie took a tumble toward the end of Monday's session and gave those on hand a brief scare before hoping up and walking off with only an apparent minor ankle tweak.

"He's sore so we held him out," Wittman said. "Not very much swelling, so that's always a good sign. We'll see [Wednesday]. Obviously, we'll have to gauge what the improvement was from today to tomorrow during shootaround, see if we give him any time on the floor."

Asked how about how he was feeling following the previous day's nasty spill, the coy 19-year-old initially responded, "What happened yesterday?" before coming clean.

"I'm fine, just tweaked it a little bit. Coach held me out today, but I was able to shoot and stuff. I can still run some. I'll keep icing it and hopefully I'll be able to go [Wednesday].

If Beal is able to go, he'll likely square off against Miami's star guard Dwyane Wade. Still working his way back from offseason knee surgery, the perennial All-Star sat out the Heat's Tuesday night game against Charlotte but is expected to face the Wizards, the Sun Sentinel is reporting.

Earlier during training camp Wizards forward Martell Webster made a favorable comparison between the two wing guards.

"[Bradley] says he wants to compare himself to Ray Allen, but he has a little more flash than Ray Allen,” Webster said. “I’d say he has a little of The Flash – [Dwyane] Wade – in him.”

We'll see if the initial side-by-side comparison comes Wednesday or when the teams first meet during the regular season, Dec. 4 at the Verizon Center.

*Tuesday marked guard Crawford's 24th birthday -- and made for a perfect excuse for some mild and musical rookie hazing.

"We made the rookies sing today for Jordan," said Cartier Martin, noting that even those second-year players who missed out on last year's training camp due to the league's labor issue were tasked with performing.

So, how'd they do?

"They weren't too vocal, man," Martin said. "We might have to get them to do it again. Depends on how JC feels once we get to Kansas City."

Asked at the end of his media session for his take on his young players singing ability, Wittman paused, and then thought better of offering an opinion. "No comment," the coach said.