Wizards Al Harrington: Washington Now A Good Place To Play

6:30 PM, Sep 27, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Wizards Media Day

WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- I've been to three Wizards media days. There was a different vibe on the practice court atmosphere Friday morning at the Verizon Center.  

It wasn't John Wall and his new $80 million smile. It wasn't Bradley Beal's new haircut, or Kevin Seraphin chatting it up about his animals. It wasn't Jan Vesely saying that he's willing to play center either. 

As surprising as this sounds, a sweeping reason to believe in the direction the Wizards are heading was the sight of Al Harrington in red, white and blue Washington jersey. 

Harrington is a well put together veteran. He's an intelligent speaker. He has a way of putting teammates at ease. He's well traveled. At 33, Harrington is entering his 16th NBA season and at all of his stops but his last on in Orlando, he's been a valuable asset. Further, Harrington is basketball obsessed and takes his craft seriously. He values winning. 

Need proof? Harrington described to me why he chose the Wizards, saying: "I watched the way they finished last season. To me, I thought they were one of the hottest teams in the East. And the biggest reason was they were healthy."

"I thought there was a void here where they could use another veteran leader. And playing with one of the top point guards in the league is always something that is enticing," Harrington later added. 

The thing people forget is that both Nene and Emeka Okafor were traded to the Wizards. Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison were also traded to D.C. So you'd have to go back all the way to 2003, when the Wizards originally signed Gilbert Arenas away from Golden State, to find a well respected player who has chose the Wizards voluntarily. With core young pieces in place, Harrington may be setting the trend for how the Wizards continue to fill out their roster. Veteran players are considering Washington an option, and not just for monetary purposes either. 

Emeka Okafor was pleased when he heard Harrington had joined the Wizards roster. "It shows people see the promise of what this team could become."

So what kind of role exactly will Harrington play? He's a deadly sharpshooter who can catch fire from the bench. At 6-foot-9, he can play either forward position depending on the situation. I think because of his experience, his shooting touch -- which will lure tall defenders from the blocks and the fact that he's clutch will put Harrington in the fourth quarter lineup more often than not. A lineup of Wall-Beal-Harrington-Seraphin-Nene in the fourth quarter gives you lots of flexibility. Harrington lost 27 pounds and says he's ready to run and gun.

Bradley Beal was probably the most excited about the Harrington acquisition. "He's going to help out tremendously. It's going to make the floor much more spacious. 

Barring any catastrophic injury situation, the Verizon Center should start prepping for some postseason basketball in late April. 

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