WASHINGTON -- Integrating new additions comes with the territory for point guards. Tomas Satoransky is living the adjustment life on, and most excitedly, off the court.
The Washington Wizards reunited Wednesday following the weeklong NBA All-Star break. The practice session was the Wizards’ first since a pair of trades on Feb. 6 added Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker and Wes Johnson to the roster. Playing four games in six days left no time for formal practices. More group work comes Thursday before the playoff push continues Friday at Charlotte.
“We’re glad for that,” Satoransky said of the practices. “When we made those trades we were in game rhythm. It’s obviously tough to practice (during the season). I think our offense is definitely going to be better.”
The 27-year-old Czech Republic native’s world became infinitely better during that busy game stretch. Becoming a first-time father has that effect.
Satoransky missed the final two games before the break to be with his wife, Anna, as she gave birth to the couple’s first child, Sofia.
Always a natural smiler, Satoransky practically floated when asked about the life-altering event coming during the season’s lone extended break.
“It was great timing,” Satoransky said. “I could spend all the time with my family. Words can’t describe the feeling. It was huge for me. Very emotional.”
We can, therefore, imagine Satoransky’s thoughts were perhaps a touch divided on the first day back at work, though he ended the previous quote with, “Looking forward to getting back to work and finishing the season strong.”
The Wizards (24-34) need collective resolve from all their key figures over the final 24 games. Washington sits in 11th place in the Eastern Conference and three games back of the Detroit Pistons for the eighth and final playoff berth.
“Everything is still open,” Satoransky said of the playoff chase. "Like everyone says, we have to take it game by game. We still feel like we have a chance. We have good potential with this group.”
This group might as well be considered a new team. Six of Washington’s top seven scorers from last season are no longer with the team or, in the case of John Wall, out with a season-ending injury. More than half of the players in the current rotation were not on the team six weeks into the season. Portis, Parker and Johnson play their fifth game with their new team Friday.
“I’m kind of used to this,” Satoransky said of the changes. “Observing new players, trying to help them get in our system. That’s kind of what a point guard has to do.”
Another change looms. Center Dwight Howard is expected to rejoin the team Thursday for the first time since undergoing back surgery on Nov. 30. The eight-time All-Star did his rehab work in Atlanta. Head coach Scott Brooks said Howard, whose return to Washington was delayed a day because of snowy conditions in the area, would begin with non-contact work before the medical staff established new timelines.
For now, that means a heavy-dose of small-ball. Brooks primarily kept only one traditional big man – Portis or Thomas Bryant – on the court with a combination of Trevor Ariza, Jeff Green and Parker at forward. Satoransky believes the versatility with these pieces – including two-time All-Star guard Bradley Beal – offers upside.
“I feel like we have a defensive minded group,” Satoransky said. “We can switch everything and make it tough on the opposite team. I think we got better at that.”
If the Wizards are lucky, a trait not often associated with the team during this most frustrating season, no additional modifications are required beyond Howard’s potential return.
“There’s a lot of things that happened this season. Hopefully, this is it,” Satoransky joked.
Even if new or unforeseen events lead to additional tweaks, who better to handle than a point guard floating on air.
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