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The Official Washington Wizards Thread: The Unseld Jr Era


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Hall of Fame guard and Baltimore Bullets legend Earl Monroe stopped by practice at George Mason's Patriot Center on Thursday to speak with the team. Monroe said it was the first time that he had been in a training camp since his final season with the New York Knicks in 1979.

Although Monroe spent the majority of his career in New York, where he won a title in 1973, he always felt a connection with the Bullets/Wizards franchise; one that was cemented three years ago, when he became the fourth player in team history to have his jersey retired. Monroe was invited by new owner Ted Leonsis to take part in a new Bullets/Wizards alumni association and he was more than willing to get on board. He plans to be around through Saturday and he gave the players his thoughts on the upcoming season.

"I expect big things from them," Monroe said. "They are at the beginning of something that I think is going to be very, very special and just keep going. I told them, I don't want to impede on what they do, but if any of them had any questions they want to ask, I was going to be here and that I was here, basically for them."

Monroe finished with the third-highest scoring average in franchise history at 23.7 points per game and he held the franchise scoring record of 56 points until Gilbert Arenas scored 60 points against the Los Angeles Lakers in December 2006. I spoke with Monroe on the night of his jersey retirement three years ago and he congratulated Arenas on knocking him from atop the record books, but added, "I wasn't shooting three-pointers at that time."

On Thursday, Monroe said that he has never had the chance to meet Arenas. "I haven't had a one-on-one type of chance to talk to him, but we have a very mutual respect for each other. In the last couple of years with the injuries and whatnot, he really hasn't gotten back to what he was, but I'm expecting him to really come forth and be a force this year."

After watching practice, Monroe said he was impressed with No. 1 overall pick John Wall. "John, I didn't realize he was as fast as he was, as tenacious as he is," Monroe said. "But I'm glad to see it and I'm hoping that as the year goes on, that this team will really come together. Good teams start with camaraderie and these guys have a lot of that, and I'm looking to see how that progresses over the year."

When asked about how Arenas and Wall would mesh, President Ernie Grunfeld mentioned how he grew up watching Monroe and Walt "Clyde" Frazier playing with the Knicks. I asked Monroe how he would able to make it work with another point guard and he said: "It's a little bit different here because they are basically on the same team from jump street, so when I went there, they already had a squad in place and it was a matter of me just trying to fit in there. When I look at it, I look back and say, okay, somebody has to take a back seat, until such time where I needed to step up."

Other former players, such as Wes Unseld, Bobby Dandridge and Kevin Grevey from the 1978 championship-winning Bullets are expected to stop by this week. Elvin Hayes had said he would attempt to attend training camp this week, but he is not expected to participate.

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Adam Morrison remembers being matched up against Kobe Bryant in one of his first practices with the Los Angeles Lakers. Coach Phil Jackson was trying to get a sense of what the new arrival was made of, less than three years after Michael Jordan had made him the third overall pick of the 2006 NBA draft for the Charlotte Bobcats.

The results were as lopsided as one would expect. "He was killing me," Morrison said.

But Bryant didn't just welcome Morrison to the Lakers with a barrage of post-up moves, pull-up jumpers and fadeaways. Bryant saved his best work for the locker room after practice, when he posed a question to Morrison.

"He said, 'Can you guard me without S.O.S. on the back of your jersey?' " Morrison said, adding that Bryant never let up with the trash talk during his time in Los Angeles. "Some of the stuff I can't repeat."

Morrison said being around the Lakers, and Bryant specifically, the past few seasons helped him become a better player and gain an understanding of what it takes to improve individually and accomplish the ultimate team goal. Morrison left Los Angeles with two championships, but the 26-year-old also acknowledges that most of his time in Los Angeles was spent as a spectator in a sport coat.

"I didn't get on the court - at all," said Morrison, who appeared in just 83 games the past two seasons in Charlotte and Los Angeles. "I always tell people I was a fan with an all-access pass, pretty much, and I got a check every week. I felt part of the team but, being the draft pick that I was, I got a lot of flak for not playing. People don't understand; it was a very good team. Wasn't like I was playing somewhere that wasn't good."

Morrison found himself buried, lost, and forgotten. But now he has an opportunity to resurrect his career - or get it started, depending on your perspective - with the Washington Wizards. "I really like the situation here," Morrison said after a recent practice at George Mason's Patriot Center.

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I can guarantee you Atlanta doesn't win 50 games this year.

Actually I wouldn't be surprised if they did win more the 50 games. They were a good team last year and they have brought everyone back and got rid of a terrible coach. That team is young and with youth comes progression.

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Actually I wouldn't be surprised if they did win more the 50 games. They were a good team last year and they have brought everyone back and got rid of a terrible coach. That team is young and with youth comes progression.

Declining and complacent Joe Johnson, no starting caliber PG on the roster, discontent Jamal Crawford, new coach who wasn't qualified to run an NBA team but got hired because his salary would be low, no real center on the roster, moving Josh Smith to SF. I could go on and on. Atlanta isn't winning 50 this year.

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Arenas, Wall, Blatche, and Hinrich are ballers.

Rest of the team? Meh.

If Howard can return healthy I think we could maybe push for an 8 seed. We'll be a matchup nightmare for anyone with our ability to score.

Yi is a good player too. I think a lot of people have forgotten about him, or don't know anything about him.

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I can see that from his average PPG :ols:

Cool fact: only men's NCAA player to get a quadruple double. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/boxscore?gameId=273172630

I'm actually shocked by that. I know it's one of the rarest feats in all of sports and only a handful of people in the ENTIRE world have accomplished it, but considering how many players have been absolutely dominate in college (especially back in the day) you would think more than one would have done it. Pistol Pete is the first one who comes to mind. I mean he averaged 40+ a game in each of his four seasons in the NCAA. You would think he would have been able to sneak a quad-double in there somewhere. But no, it's Lester freaking Hudson and only Lester freaking Hudson.

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Yeah we got him, but he won't make the team. He looked horrible from what I saw on TV (CSN) in training camp. Would rather have someone with some upside. Morrison ain't that guy.

MJ might go down as the worst drafter in the history of NBA GMs. Crazy how the GOAT can't judge talent worth ****.

Augustine might rescue him though.

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Gilbert Arenas: "I'm moving aside for [John Wall] to become a star"

"Right now I'm out there to hit open shots, teach John the ins and the outs of the game, and then eventually go on and move on. I'm on my way," Arenas said, offering a subtle hint that he could be dealt before his $111-million contract expires in 2014. "This is the NBA. There's few players that stay in the same city, so right now the city is John's. I'm not here to fight anybody. I'm here to play alongside of him. He's Batman, I'm Robin. When I came in, Larry [Hughes] moved aside for me to become a star and I'm moving aside for him to become a star."

"I love his game," Arenas said about Wall. "I loved it when he was in high school. He can get to the basket at will. He's fast."

Arenas said he told him, "With the shooters you have on this team and the talent you have, you're going to do everything you want to do. Whatever you feel comfortable, we're just feeding off of you. This is your team and we're behind you. Let him be, let him fly and let us fill in the gaps.

"He's going to be great," Arenas said. "He has knack for finding people and getting to the basket. I told him he's too young to be hitting the ground so hard, so often. When it's all said and done, they're going to have to compare him to what Derrick Rose and them are doing now because he's going to have the ball in his hands and an opportunity to score. He has a whole bunch of shooters around him and we're going to make him look good and he's going to make us look good."

"You always start a franchise with a point guard and a big," Arenas said, mentioning Blatche, McGee and Yi Jianlian. "You just build the team around them. You've got to keep building until you get something special and right now they have special players."

When asked if he needed to go elsewhere in order to play a more desirable role, Arenas said, "I'm content on what I'm doing right now. Everything happens for a reason. It's easy to play with [Wall] basically we're basically family. We both came from the same agent [Dan Fegan], so me and him get along great. We're like brother, so if I want my brother to grow, I've got to step down."

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  • BRAVEONAWARPATH changed the title to The Official Washington Wizards Thread: The JOHN WALL ERA
  • BRAVEONAWARPATH changed the title to The Official Washington Wizards Thread: The Unseld Jr Era

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