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A look into Wizards final practice before tip-off. 
Posted on June 19, 2018 at 11:11 AM.


A look into Wizards final practice before tip-off.


Jordan and Hamilton chat over shooting tips.

WASHINGTON -- Michael Jordan's comeback is almost here.

Only 3 days before the Wizards open the 2001-02 season against the Philadelphia 76ers and Iverson, Jordan is still working hard on his game.

"Michael was Michael; he looked good," guard Chris Whitney said. "He didn't even have to try, the way he moved, used screens and those type of things. He looked good. He went as hard as he could go."

Jordan survived plenty of rough contact too, getting knocked to the floor when the practice went full court. No. 1 overall pick Brown, who signed a three-year, $11.9 million deal, said Jordan showed no fatigue at all in the 2 hour session.

"He just got up and played harder. He's Mike," Brown said. "You can't keep up with Mike. He's a step ahead of everybody. With two, three years off, it doesn't matter."

"He's feeling much better now, and I think he's itching to start getting back into the swing of things, playing some real games." coach Doug Collins said. "But I know his spirit and heart is to start pushing it and to get himself into condition. With him, I just sort of sit back and watch. With him being president of the team, I think we'll keep two spots open for him."

Jordan tried to keep his workouts earlier in the offseason a secret, leaving by side door's while reporters were kept waiting in a hallway outside the Wizards practice court. He never made himself available for comment. Collins didn't even mention that Jordan had practiced, leaving the players to spill the beans. But now the secret is out and everyone can sense a weight has been lifed off Jordan's shoulders.

As for Kwame Brown, the first high school player to be drafted No. 1 overall, he ended practice by making his first two clutch NBA shots. Alone at the free throw line, he sank two free throws that kept the team from running six wind sprints.

Brown was immediately surrounded and congratulated with hand-slaps and high-fives, first and foremost Patrick Ewing.

"Nobody likes to run," Brown said.

Brown said the thing that needs most work still is his conditioning.

"I'm almost ready to compete at an NBA level," Brown said. "I didn't know the game was this fast. On TV, it looked real slow. I thought college was faster. But guys like Pat, Mully and Jordan are still darn fast and they are at the tail end of their 30's."

Brown is a 6-foot-11, 240-pound center from Glynn Academy in Brunswick, Ga. At 19, he is the youngest player taken with the first overall pick. His first real game action comes next week against the 76ers.

Meanwhile, Collins confirmed the team has not yet decided on the starting line-up for game 1, but that recently signed point guard Tyronn Lue would certainly have some time guarding Allen Iverson.

Lue played strong defense on Allen Iverson in the NBA Finals. He averaged 3.4 points and 1.2 assists in 38 games for the Los Angeles Lakers last season.

Lue would share point guard duties with Whitney, who said he had recovered from the ankle injuries that bothered him last season. Rip Hamilton is also a contender to start at Point Guard.
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