Morning tip: Booker 'throwing guys around'

Morning tip: Booker 'throwing guys around'
October 17, 2013, 8:00 am
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Randy Wittman reflects on when he played in Baltimore

WAKING UP Thursday with the Wizards, who play the New York Knicks later at Baltimore Arena …

Who would've thought that Trevor Booker could be the linchpin to the Wizards' success in the preseason? 

Coach Randy Wittman was full of compliments after Booker, a reserve power forward, played last weekend in Rio de Janeiro. 

Then his performance in their 100-82 win vs. the Miami Heat -- Booker was inserted into the starting lineup in place of Jan Vesely -- took it to another level. 

"Energy-wise, he probably gives us that as well as toughness," Wittman said after Wednesday's practice. "I thought looking at (Tuesday's) game, breaking the film down, he was throwing guys around. He was physical, he was hitting people, setting good screens. That's a dimension that he brings."

In 16 minutes, Booker had eight points on 4-for-5 shooting, five rebounds, two steals, a blocked shot and an assist. In Saturday's 83-81 loss to the Chicago Bulls, Booker had three points on 1-for-2 shooting, six rebounds and a blocked shot in 18 minutes.

Considering he'd missed most of training camp with a sore right knee up until that point, his output is even more impressive.

"I'm definitely not," Booker said when asked if he was in game shape. "Maybe a week away. I'm pushing it every day. We'll see."

Wittman is being careful with him. He held out Al Harrington vs. the Bulls because of a sore left thigh and Eric Maynor vs. the Heat because of soreness in his left Achilles. 

"I'm trying to limit his minutes right now. So far, so good after two games (and) how he felt coming in here this morning," Wittman said of Booker. "We don't want to push it to the limit right now. We'll keep increasing as long as he feels good."