Washington Wizards Media Day 2013: Photos, Interviews and Takeaways
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Although there wasn't any breaking news that came out of the Washington Wizards media day on Friday, the team did take the time to let the world know how ready they are to make the playoffs.
Wall is the leader of the Wizards, but after the interviews during media day, the whole team seems to be behind him as they prepare to go deeper into the season than they've gone in the past five years.
Washington's Expectations to Make the Playoffs
Leading up to media day, the Wizards had a quiet confidence after making a number of quality acquisitions in the offseason. But after the players' interviews, the confidence began to permeate out of each guy, no matter how big or small of a role they play on the team.
Webster on playoff pressure: "Its not going to be given. We can't just stamp our name on the playoffs. Its done by hard work". #wizards— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) September 27, 2013
Players like Wall and Martell Webster stated how big it would be for Washington to play in the postseason.
While Webster emphasized the importance of hard work in the regular season to make a run, Wall went so far as to say the season would be "wasted" if the Wizards missed the playoffs.
"It would be a wasted season." - John Wall on the possibility that the Wiz stay healthy and still miss the playoffs.— Satchel Price (@SatchelPrice) September 27, 2013
There are a number of reasons why the Wizards should be confident heading into this season, especially looking at their numbers at the end of last year when Wall was healthy.
Giving the fans a confidence boost is vital considering the team's poor performance in the past, and expecting a good season is the first step to actually getting to the playoffs.
The Aftermath of Emeka Okafor's Injury
Prior to media day, Emeka Okafor was ruled out indefinitely with a herniated disk in his neck.
This was a huge blow to the Wizards, considering Okafor was arguably the best defensive player for them last season and is the team's starting center.
But newcomer Al Harrington said he would be willing to start at power forward to allow Nenê to play center, although it wouldn't be his first choice.
Harrington said he would rather be a bench player, a role that this three-point shooting skill set is better suited for.
Kevin Seraphin is also an option to start at center to keep Nenê at power forward, which he may have to do given that no timetable for Okafor came out of media day.
Okafor didn't say much on his injury other than that it made him feel "awkward" so having Harrington as an option to start is a positive, although he's not the defensive player the Wizards are used to having start at power forward.
John Wall's High Confidence Level
Most of the Wizards made it known how ready they were to make the playoffs, but Wall took it an extra step and let everyone know that he won't be backing down from the pressure.
Wall is the undisputed leader of the Wizards, and fans and analysts will be putting an extra layer of pressure on him with his new deal.
John Wall: "I embrace it, I love pressure. There is nothing to hide from. You hide from it, you don't need to be playing." #wizards— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) September 27, 2013
Since coming into the NBA three seasons ago, Wall has been pretty soft-spoken, but now it seems like the best time for him to be confident.
On a team that hasn't done much of anything in the past four years, having confidence in the locker room is very important, and having Wall embrace the pressure of playing in D.C. shows that his age doesn't mean he's not ready to be a leader on a playoff team.
The Wizards' New Jerseys
Outside of the player side of media day, the Wizards showed off their new uniforms.
Although the Washington Bullets-esque jerseys have only been around for a few years, the Wizards made some small changes.
The jersey, which previously featured blue and red stripes that stretched around the jersey, now features a white back and the stripes are only on the front.
With the white backs, the jerseys look more similar to the Bullets jerseys and, if nothing else, gives the Wizards a selling point for their merchandise this season.
Although the new jerseys do look much better than the 2006 gold alternates, what's most important is the confidence of Wall and the rest of the team.
It's very easy for a team that only won 29 games last year to be down about the next season, but having Harrington and rookies Otto Porter Jr. and Glen Rice Jr. on the team gives Washington that something extra.
If Wall wants to be a star point guard in the NBA and a perennial All-Star, confidence is very important, especially given the team's poor performance in his three years as a pro.
The Wizards have the talent and the game plan to be one of the eight best teams in the Eastern Conference, and having the attitude gives them that much better of a chance.
Having the confidence is nice, but the Wizards will need to show in training camp and the preseason that they can stay healthy and can score enough points to keep them in games.
Bringing in swingman Josh Childress to training camp should give them some nice depth on the bench, but Washington will mainly need to answer how they will handle the other new talent.
Will Harrington start at power forward? How many minutes will Porter play? Both of those questions will be answered at some point prior to the first game of the year, but training camp will give the Wizards a valuable opportunity to find out where these players fit in, and if Washington deserves to have the confidence they gave off at media day.
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