Story By: Erin Zollars and Sol Tucker
Photos By: Sol Tucker
For the first time the media had a chance to take a look at the new Entertainment and Sports Arena on the grounds of the old St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, but they had a chance to look at the product that the Washington Wizards are going to put on the court for the upcoming season and the optimism is at an all time high.
Sometime when you walk into something fresh, like a opening a door of a new house for the first time, or smelling the leather of a new car, it just makes you feel upbeat and accomplished with what you have done, that’s the attitude of many of the players today strolling around the court of the home of the G League Washington GOGO’s new digs. Wall and company are ready.
With Wall commenting on where he is with this team this year to Dwight Howard talking about having to sit out training camp with a bad back, the results seem to look like the Wizards really taking the Eastern Conference by storm this year. Howard was asked quite extensively about his back, but brushed it off to anything serious at this point. Even Wizards Head Coach Scott Brooks didn’t seem to make that big deal of the problem for his big man.
“I’ve been having to do a lot of traveling with shoe companies and stuff like that in China. So just from training, traveling — and airplanes weren’t made for tall people. … It kind of sucks to fly 15 hours curled up in the fetal position,” said Howard, a 6-foot-11 center entering his 15th NBA season.
“So just a minor setback. It shouldn’t take that long for me to get back on the court,” he added. “I’ve been feeling great all summer. Just something that we’ll have to deal with, and it shouldn’t keep me out too long.”
Last season, when Wall appeared in only 41 of 82 games, the Wizards went 43-39 and were eighth in the Eastern Conference, losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Toronto Raptors.
Howard, an eight-time All-Star, said that he has not had a chance to get on a court with Wall and Beal to start getting a feel for one another.
“We will see how things play out over the next couple of weeks,” said Brooks. We have out first test against the Knicks to see what this roster looks like for the first time with Jeff and Austin on the court for the first time.