DeMatha alum Oladipo returns to DC with Magic
On a hot streak having won seven of their last nine games, the Wizards have three days off before hosting one of the NBA's worst teams in the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday (CSN, 7 p.m. ET).
The veterans already have issued advisories to their teammates on how to handle their recent success:
Trevor Ariza: "Don't think about the days off. Worry about the work that you got to do. This is a long season. It's still early."
Marcin Gortat: "I kind of know how it is to lose 60 games in a season. ... I hear how everybody's excited that we're finally winning. Just simple stuff like walking by the board where we have the standings and people watching saying, 'Damn, we're (fourth) in the standings, that's crazy.' I just see the emotions, the happiness that we have in this organization. It's big. If you're winning nobody talks about the small problems. Nobody talks about the little screw-ups and stuff like that."
Martell Webster: "No days off. Everybody's coming in to get up shots. It's easy to get complacent. You stop doing the things that helped get you there. That's not the focus on this team …even if it means coming in getting some maintenance done."
Nene: "Just remember what I said in the beginning, everybody likes to judge. It's not how you start, it's how you finish. When you don't know how things will go in the future just be quiet. People like to open their mouths and say things. … We've been playing good. We've been playing together. We've been playing hard. We've been playing the right way and that's a good thing."
This is the balance that president Ernie Grunfeld wanted on the roster, and why they traded one of two second-round draft picks in June. It's why they re-signed Webster and brought in Eric Maynor, though the latter has underperformed so far.
The Wizards want experienced players who know better. They're in the top half of the Eastern Conference standings at 9-9, but .500 isn't good enough. They should be no worse than 12-6. And a two- or three-game losing streak can make them plummet in the standings quickly.
What they've accomplished so far is noteworthy, but these still are just baby steps.