Simple recipe to win
Washington Wizards focus on the basics and learn from mistakes
Resilience is something the Washington Wizards Head Coach Wes Unseld Jr. is seeing from his team this year.
On Oct. 20 at Capital One Arena, some hopeful words were shared from both players and coaches as practice was wrapping up.
“Basketball is about learning. We learn from a mistake and try our best not to repeat it,” said Unseld, who has now begun his second year as the head coach of the District's NBA team.
It is always a good sign when the practice right after a win is focused on fixing mistakes, but it is an even better sign when the best player is on the same page.
“There is a lot we can do better and there is always room for improvement,” said Bradley Beal, who is now a 10-year veteran for the Wizards.
The team started regular season play at Indianapolis on Oct. 19 with a seven-point win over the Indiana Pacers (3-4). Every win comes from a recipe, and sometimes, the recipe can be quite simple.
“It’s all about how we start and finish quarters,” Unseld said. “We want to put our players in the areas of the floor in which they can excel and be resilient.”
One of these players seems to be Daniel Gafford.
“For me, it’s about being at the right place at the right time and just playing smart,'' said the 6-foot-10-inch forward center.
When asked about his defensive approach, Gafford simply answered with: “Moving my feet, not reaching and not getting mentally fatigued.”
In the NBA world, the Wizards seem to always find themselves in the underdog position and are usually overlooked by other squads. But on Oct. 20, there was an energy in the air, the type that encourages players to be more focused, locked-in and bought in.
Beal may have said it best:
“At the end of the day, we are pros like everyone else. We can’t worry about other peoples’ opinions. We are a young team and have the opportunity to grow, as long as we stay poised and don’t get rattled.”
The very next day, the Wizard's 4th quarter performance brought them a 102-100 victory over the Chicago Bulls (5-4) in their home opener. Maybe this year the Wizards’ key ingredients will just come down to resilience, moving their feet and poise.