Beal wants to be a playmaker in year two
FAIRFAX, Va. -- In five stints on NBA rosters since 2006, Pops Mensah-Bonsu has yet to stick for a full season.
The most games he has played in a season is 22 with the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors, but that was in 2008-09.
Today, Mensah-Bonsu believes he's a better player although he's an incredible long-shot to make the Wizards' roster. They already have the maximum of 15 players under contract for the upcoming season, but president Ernie Grunfeld could like what he sees and try to execute a trade that opens a spot.
"Even though I've been cut or released a few times, I feel like whenever you lose you should never lose a lesson. Any experienced I've had it was a life experience. I've grown as a man," said Mensah-Bonsu, a 6-9 forward from George Washington who has played in Moscow, Turkey, France, Israel, Spain, Italy and the D-League. "I can appreciate everything I've been through up until this point. Hopefully, I get more of an opportunity here and we'll see where it goes."
The Wizards began camp a week earlier than last year at George Mason University because of a preseason game Oct. 12 in Brazil. It'll wrap up here Wednesday and move back to Verizon Center.
Mensah-Bonsu was the talk of camp Monday after he was on the receiving end of a highlight-reel dunk from Jan Vesely. But he took it in stride.
Starting center Emeka Okafor (herniated disk) is out indefinitely, and though he's not an offensive threat he provides the Wizards with the defense and rebounding they need to get out in transition for easy baskets. If his injury keeps him out for a long period and the Wizards are in a jam with lack of size in the low post, they've at least had a first-hand look at Mensah-Bonsu to determine if he could be a fit.
"Defense, rebounding and running the floor. My game is pretty simple," Mensah-Bonsu said. "I've always been a guy who's brought energy, defensive edge to the team. With my ability to run the floor and be athletic I feel like I can guard a few different positions. I'm not an offensive liability. I've improved on my game. If I ever need to take a 17-foot jump shot I could do that. I've got more confidence in my 17-foot jump shot. I've worked on it to the point I feel like I can hit it at a consistent basis."
Of course, if it doesn't work out here or with another NBA team, Mensah-Bonsu had to try again.
"I'm 30 now. I take a different approach. In recent years, I had no problem going back to Europe with me being from London. Europe wasn't as bad for me. I liked it," he said. "But as far as the NBA is concerned I always felt like I wouldn't be content with my career if never took another shot, if I never got a real opportunity like I wanted. I could've made all the money in the world overseas. The person and how competitive I am as a player, I probably would've never lived with myself if I never came back and gave it another shot. This is why I'm here."