- Yi Jianlian greets his fan club after Sunday's scrimmage (Photo: TBD Staff)
I didn't get the chance to go out to Wizards training camp a whole lot this week, but I got to see the very beginning, a legend in the middle, and one of the best plays I've seen in person at the very end.
Yesterday afternoon, the Wizards capped off their training camp with a FanFest out at George Mason University. The highlight of the afternoon was the scrimmage (four 10-minute quarters) between the white team, which featured John Wall, Andray Blatche, and Kirk Hinrich; and the black team--featuring Adam Morrison, Nick Young and Yi Jianlian.
It was pretty standard stuff until the end of the first quarter when John Wall did this.
Other notes are after the jump.
-If you ever get the chance to watch Sam Cassell coach any kind of athletic competition, grab it and don't look back. The great point guard coached the black team yesterday and treated it like it was the seventh game of the NBA Finals. "Free throws, boy!!!" he yelled after Lester Hudson clanked a foul shot. He was off the bench to slap fives with every player after a made basket. And when Nick Young sank a three with seconds to go, tying the scrimmage at 78, Cassell danced a jig down the bench, which bore a strange resemblance to this famous dance.
For the record, the white team won 80-78 on Al Thornton's runner with 2.5 seconds to go.
-Yi Jianlian had a large cheering section at yesterday's scrimmage-- around 100 students from Beijing who were in town for a symphony performance. Yi posed for photos with the group after the scrimmage and clearly had a good time with them. "It feels great," Yi said. "I'm so happy. I'm very happy."
More encouragingly for the Wizards, Yi showed no sign of the minor Achilles injury which plagued him during the FIBA World Championships this summer in Turkey. The 7-footer performed very well in the post against the likes of JaVale McGee and Blatche, blocking a couple shots, showing good agression on the boards, and getting inside for layups and dunks, much to the delight of his cheering section.
"My foot feels pretty good. I don't have any problem," Yi said. "Day by day, I'm getting better. My body feels great for the past week."
-JaVale McGee was still not happy with his player rating on 2K Sports' NBA 2K11 video game, and let the media know about it yesterday. "I was playing it last night, and I had a 25 [rating] on layups," said McGee, who sounded genuinely perplexed about the issue. "Everybody else was like an 80." As Bullets Forever noted last week, McGee's complaints have already forced 2K Sports to adjust his overall rating from a poor 59 to a slightly less poor 64.
For what it's worth, 2K was more charitable when it came to McGee's dunk rating. "I was like a 95 on dunks," he said. With John Wall tossing him alley-oops all season, the Wizards will no doubt hope McGee's rating improves for the 2012 edition.
-Gilbert Arenas did not play in the scrimmage as he continued to recover from a sprained ankle suffered earlier in the week. He spent the scrimmage shuttling between the two benches, wearing a white towel on his head.
"He's hurt, and it's swollen," Wizards head coach Flip Saunders said. "We'll have to wait and see because he got hurt [Friday], he didn't do anything [Saturday], and he hasn't done anything [Sunday]. We practice [on Monday] and then play. I don't know."
Arenas still got a warm reception from the crowd, in keeping with the reaction he got at the Midnight Madness event.
-And finally, quote of the camp goes to Flip Saunders, who was asked about Wall's fantastic move. "That's why I brought him up to Minnesota those three days," Saunders said. "So he finally picked up that move."
The Wizards open their preseason schedule Tuesday in Dallas against the Mavericks.