Gortat: "This is a huge opportunity for me"
The road certainly has not been kind to the Wizards during John Wall's three seasons.
"I don't think we've won over 20 games since I've been here," the point guard said on Tuesday following the team's final practice before flying to Detroit for Wednesday's regular season opener.
Wall's math and memory is spot on. In fact, not even 20 wins but rather a 19-96 road record in that span. Last season, Washington finished 7-34 away from the Verizon Center including eight straight road losses to start the season. The Wizards first road victory came December 11 at New Orleans in their 18th game of the season.
Randy Wittman says pay no mind to the past.
"You got to play 41 and 41. Last year is last year. Two years ago is two years ago. New team, new group, new focus, new ideas of where we want to be," Wittman said. "That to me it doesn't matter. To them I don't think it does."
Whether memories of previous road failures linger in the minds of the players and coaching staff or not, this is a results oriented business. Not only were the away results brutal, but Washington lost all four games to Detroit last season. Talk about your killing two birds with one stone opportunity.
"Go out and get that first game, be it a road game, your first win being on the road," WIttman said. "There is nothing better than winning games on the road in this league. Hopefully, we can go out and do that tomorrow."
There is certainly one key change from this point last season: good health. It might not seem like that seeing as first-round pick Otto Porter remains out with a hip flexor and the Wizards felt compelled to make a significant trade because of Emeka Okafor's neck injury. However, Wall and Nene are active, which wasn't the case when the team entered the 2012-13 regular season fray.
"You better have good hopes, high hopes for the first game of the year, which did last year, too," Wittman said. "We're in better physical situation than we were last year. You're happy about that, but we're missing a couple of people you wished you had from the beginning."
Getting a road win at the start will help ease all pain.
Notes: The team had no specific update on Porter, who had an MRI on Monday, other than to say no change in his status. The small forward missed all team workouts during training camp and every preseason game.