TOWSON, Md. -- Though there was no discussion about Kevin Seraphin's comments, after he said that he didn't feel that he had a fair shot to get playing time with the Wizards under coach Randy Wittman, there was a related topic covered Wednesday after a second day of training camp at Towson University.
Wittman was asked about remarks made by DeJuan Blair, who was distraught after seeing less playing time than Seraphin last season as a backup center to starter Marcin Gortat. Blair was told to be more professional if he hoped to get on the court in his second season in Washington.
"You’ve got to maintain and be ready at all times, physically, mentally, attitude, all that. You’re not always going to be happy. Even the people you call stars, they aren’t always going to be happy but you got to be professional," Wittman explained. "I've probably got a couple guys pissed at me today. … If you’re not happy with playing time you got to force playing time on me. Those kind of things."
Wittman pointed to what happened last season, when Bradley Beal didn't start the first nine games after he broke his left wrist in preseason. The Wizards went 7-2 with Garrett Temple in the starting lineup at starting shooting guard. Then later in the season, it was Kris Humphries who missed a lot of time with a hamstring strain and had Drew Gooden take over.
"Bradley Beal is hurt at the start of the year last year, who was ready? Temple. Temple played as good as he’s probably played in his career, he was ready," Wittman said. "Hump went down with a hamstring injury. He was playing good and Drew was ready. Drew stepped in and played. Drew wasn’t playing very much when Hump was playing like that. That’s being professional. I’m sure Temp wasn’t happy wasn’t getting the minutes he wanted to get but he was ready."
Seraphin had a rollercoaster five-year tenure with the Wizards before signing with the New York Knicks as an unrestricted free agent this past summer. He told CSNmidatlantic.com after they were eliminated in six games of the East semifinals last season that he wouldn't come back.
He often drew Wittman's ire for not being in top physical condition (he dropped 20 pounds before 2014 training camp), blowing defensive rotations, committing turnovers because he was overdribbling and goofing off on social media and while sitting on the bench during games. Seraphin even skipped joining the French national team to work out with Wittman two summers ago where he began to show significant improvement with his basketball IQ, but when Gortat received a five-year contract for $60 million that meant he could be nothing more than a backup in D.C.
Even though there'll be a healthy competition for playing time for Seraphin in New York, with Robin Lopez also a major free-agent signing for them, he has a chance to get more time. And the change of scenery is probably worth him taking short money ($2.8 million) in order to prove himself so that when he becomes a free agent in 2016 maybe he can cash in when the salary cap goes up from $90 million to about $108 million.
MORE WIZARDS: Wiz take in the ol' ball game