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Riding the Wizards Bench October

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CWebb's Business Empire Expands

Perhaps you saw that article about Chris Webber taking majority ownership of a Gold's Gym in Greenbelt, Prince George's County, MD. Yet another way that CWebb is expanding his presence in the DC area.

The name certainly raises the profile of that particular Gold's Gym above all of the other fitness facilities in the area. Think about it: you can go work out at the same place that an NBA player may work out. You might even get to work out with other teammates, as I'm sure they shouldn't have too much of a problem getting in to do their thing (most of them live in Maryland north of the gym).

Of course, don't expect to get in a basketball game with CWebb. I'm sure he's got his crew of good players to play against - I'm guessing no scrubs like you or me allowed on that court when CWebb shows up. (And even if we did, we'd get toasted pretty good.)

What's Up With Training Camp?

Wow, is anyone at training camp not hurting enough to miss at least one practice session? Of the regular players, I think only Juwan and Whitney have not missed a practice. Of course, if you're a non-roster invitee trying to make the team, you better not miss a practice and learn to play with the nicks and bruises. And all of them have practiced when required.

So, now the Wizards sign on Charles Shackleford, looking for any sort of front-court depth for the preseason. The two expected centers for the season, Gheorghe Muresan and Lorenzo Williams, will not get any practice time at Shepherd College, leaving Eric Leckner and Amal McCaskill as the only legitimate centers. Shackleford, however, is a member of the walking wounded, and his best years are clearly behind him. He already has one arthritic knee, bad enough that it required surgery back in May. Still, the Wizards need warm bodies to conduct practices.

Who Will Make The Roster?

This training camp has produced few surprises in terms of the non-roster invitees. Remember in past years: Mitchell Butler, Anthony Tucker, and Ben Wallace. Decent players who at least provided a few quality minutes during the regular season, always hustling and at least providing good defense even if offense was spotty.

This camp has been devoid of this kind of talk. Maybe it's the injuries that are dominating all talk about the team. The way things are sounding, Lorenzo Williams is not close to being ready to play. Muresan hopefully will be on the starting roster when the regular season starts. But another center will probably be needed if Williams ends up on injured reserve (as I expect he will). That center, by all indications, will probably be Eric Leckner, who has plenty of experience in the league and will bang and rebound when necessary.

Also, it doesn't sound like Shammgod is lighting the camp on fire, but none of the other guards are lighting it up, either. Because the team wants ball handlers, Shammgod stands a good chance of making the team over Rhodes or Oliver. Just don't expect him to get playing time in the regular season.

What about Darvin Hamm? A question mark. I think Bickerstaff likes something in the way he plays (he kept him last year when he coached Denver), but the team is already overloaded with forwards. Not likely to make the team, but if a forward goes down to injury, he's a possibility. I'm really curious about what potential he has, and how he's developed as a player in the past year.

What do you think?

The Regular Season Start May Be A Little Easier

The Wizards may have gotten a bit of a break on their schedule in the first couple of months of the season. First, Alonzo Mourning has surgery on the patellar tendon in his left knee and will be out for the first month or so of the regular season. This is a break for the Wizards in that they play the Heat 3 times through the middle of December (December 17 is the 3rd game).

The availability of Muresan for games against the Heat is key. You expect Ike Austin or Terry Mills to slow down Muresan? No way. Let's hope Muresan is available and in shape for these games. We could steal a game or two against the Heat early in the season.

Even if Mourning comes back early (like he's vowing), he'll still be slowed. Plain and simple, the foot needs time to heal. Playing on it will just delay the healing process. Still, he'll be effective later in the season, but should he ever face the Wizards, he may not be as effective as he has been in the past.

The other bit of good news is the surgery on the foot of Scottie Pippen. He's expected to miss the first couple of months of the regular season as the foot heals. The Wizards again get a break, as they play two games against the Bulls in the first month. This includes the final game at USAir Arena; wouldn't it be nice if the Wizards could close out the building with a win?

The key matchup now is Juwan Howard on Toni Kukoc. Howard should absolutely kill Kukoc offensively and defensively, as he's done in the past. Further, Kukoc has his own foot soreness problems, though he plans on starting the regular season for the Bulls. Big advantage for the Wizards. However, as long as the Bulls have Michael Jordan, anything is possible in these games.

wtf 8 October 1997

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