On day three of training camp and with the first preseason game fast approaching, Wizards coach Randy Wittman gave his players their first real "extended minutes" of the week, scrimmage style. The Patriot Center scoreboard kept count, refs made calls and several hundred season ticket holders watched from the stands inside the Patriot Center as the "white" team downed the "blue" squad.
The meaningless result - 32 to 14, for those keeping score - had some notable moments, like Cartier Martin draining bomb after bomb and Jordan Crawford receiving extended minutes at point guard due to another playmaker besides John Wall watching the proceedings from the sideline.
One of the players potentially in line to replace the injured Wall. guard A.J. Price, turned in a solid if not at times impressive performance playing largely with those expected to start at Cleveland on opening night.
That's not to say he will be in the same scenario during practices on Friday or Saturday as overall no discernible lineup or rotation pattern was evident. The coach confirmed the observation.
For a team with several new pieces and two main cogs - Wall and Nene - out of action, trial and error is part of the plan.
Wittman, directing his first camp as Wizards head coach, was also quick to point out after practice that he's not rushing the game planning process simply because the semi-real game on Sunday at Charlotte is fast approaching. There is a big picture to ponder. Implementing the offensive plays sets and the defensive plays the team hopes will carry them throughout the season will come when the time is right.
"Sunday is too quick, five days (from camp opening)," Wittman said. "I'm not going to rush getting everything in where they can't get comfortable doing one thing and have 20 things in (the game plan) because we're playing a game. We're going to do it the right way with these guys, how much they can handle, how far how along we are in the next couple of weeks."
Along with Martin, who drained at least two 3-pointers and another long jumper during the 30 minutes of action, the winning side included Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, Bradley Beal, Trevor Booker, Price, Earl Barron and Brian Cook.
Booker, known as an energy player, often served as one-man press, consistently slowing down the "blue" squad's attempts to push the ball or at times even to complete an inbounds pass.
With Jannero Pargo limited after he, according to Wittman, "got his ribs banged a little bit," Crawford often moved over to the lead guard role with Martell Webster and others playing alongside. As evidenced by the lopsided score, his side rarely found its way to offensive success. That led to the occasional frustration-fueled yelp, though the squad's limited production is not a reflection on Crawford's combo guard potential.
His reputation is that of a volume shooter, a reputation Crawford built on during Monday's media day on when in reference to the Wizards numerous injuries last season he said, "If you go in an arena with eight players, who else is gonna shoot?"
Yet Crawford has shown flashes of being a viable distributor. In fact, it may come as a surprise to some that he averaged 3.0 assists last season and nearly four a game following the trade with Atlanta during his rookie season.
The rising third-year guard's game has continued to evolve during the early stages of camp.
"He's made a concentrated effort to get to that next step so far, there is no question about it," Wittman said. "It's been a positive seeing what he's done. Now he just has to continue to grow. He's going to have nights of frustration. How he handles that, does he regress back or does he move forward... He's been a real positive this camp."