WASHINGTON — Otto Porter grabbed a rebound, looked upcourt and fired a perfect 70-foot pass to Chris Singleton for an NBA-style fast break.
It’s a new routine for the league’s No. 3 overall draft pick. The Washington Wizards are not Georgetown.
“It is different,” Porter said. “We’re a running team now.”
The Wizards wrapped up a three-day minicamp Thursday ahead of their upcoming Summer League games in Las Vegas. The star attraction was the rookie forward who played for the Hoyas in the same arena — but for a very different coach. The Princeton-style offense of John Thompson III needs to be placed firmly in Porter’s rearview mirror.
“He has a little bit of trouble right now understanding that we want him to turn when there’s a change of position and run,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “But, hey, it’s for everybody. It’s just a quicker-pace game, quicker decision-making, quicker players you’re playing against. It’s just a whole ‘nother league.”
There couldn’t be a bigger contract between Porter and the Wizards’ other draft pick, second-rounder Glen Rice Jr., who played last season in the D-League after getting kicked off the team at Georgia Tech following multiple suspensions.
This week only served to reinforce some of those differences. Wittman called Porter a “very likable young man” who “picks things up quickly.”
Rice, the coach said, needs to push himself more.
“Glen’s going to have to learn how to play hard,” Wittman said. “And play with intensity the whole time. … There’s not a lot of times where you can coast, being in the position he’s in now. And that’s the next step he’s going to have to make.”
After just three days of an NBA practice setting, Rice said he’s already learned more than he thought he would.
“It was a little bit tougher, maybe, than I thought it was going to be,” Rice said. “At some point, you think you know most of the concepts of basketball, but every time I get to the next level, I learn something new.”
There was also a curious contract between coach and boss when it came assessing the current roster. Wittman clearly thinks the Wizards need something more, while President Ernie Grunfeld said the team is essentially fine the way it is.
“We’ve still got situations that I think we need to look at,” Wittman said. “We need to continue to see if we can add a piece, whether it’s picking up a free agent or a trade.”
Wittman specifically mentioned the need for another frontcourt player. He also said it was time for players such as Jan Vesely, Kevin Seraphin and Singleton to “show me who’s going to step up and be worthy of continuing on.”
Grunfeld, speaking a separate meeting with reporters, painted a rosier picture.
“We have 14 guys under contract,” Grunfeld said. “We’re ready to go to training camp. … I think we have most of our positions filled. We’re two deep at least at every position. We added six new players last summer, and you just can’t keep adding six new players every single year.”
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