It's been awhile since the Wizards played an NBA game at Verizon Center. It was April 11 to be exact when they closed out the home schedule with a win over an undermanned Boston team. The Wizards would finish the disappointing 2010-11 season two days later with a loss at Cleveland.
That seems like a lifetime ago as a lot has changed since the end of that 59 loss season.
The first big move was the well-publicized color scheme switch. The Wizards didn't get rid of their their name but they essentially went back to the old red, white and blue look of the Washington Bullets with an unveiling in May. It was a welcome change from the drab teal and white uniforms the team had worn since 1997.
The next move came in June when the Wizards drafted forward Jan Vesely out of the Czech Republic with the 6th overall pick, and later they took forward Chris Singleton at 18. The Wizards wanted to get faster and more defensive and they think they helped fill that need by taking those two players in the first round. In the second round, the Wiz selected college star Shelvin Mack from Butler, who they hope can develop into a solid backup guard to John Wall.
From July until November, there was nothing new, obviously, because of the lockout. After a new labor deal was finally struck in late November, the Wizards and their rebuilding project could finally get up and running again.
Now, with the long off-season almost over, is the rebuilding effort really beginning? Listening to veterans like Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee at training camp, they say they are ready to turn this team around -- and it starts with each of them being more professional.
The Wizards kept Rashard Lewis and added veterans Roger Mason, Jr. and Rony Turiaf for leadership purposes to keep younger players in check. A whopping eight players on the roster are under 23 years of age.
With John Wall clearly inserted as the team leader, we will get our first glimpse of the literally new look Wizards Friday night against Philadelphia.