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Washington Wizards Emeka Okafor And Trevor Ariza Talk About John Wall

9:54 AM, Jun 23, 2012   |    comments
Photo via Kevin Jones cellphone camera.
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- I was thoroughly impressed Friday at the Wizards introductory press conference of Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza.

There may not be a happier player in the league than Okafor. Constantly smiling and shaking hands with the new folks in Washington, the eight-year veteran knows it's his duty to impart wisdom amongst the youthful Washington players, especially John Wall.

"Being the face of a franchise is difficult, especially at a young age,"said Okafor, who recalled his days of representing the Charlotte Bobcats. "All you can do is just play your game. Be young; have fun. Make mistakes; learn from them. And continue to grow."

Ariza, 26, was more of a wild card to judge personality wise. Blessed with a tepid sense of humor, yet a smooth business talker, Ariza realizes this chance in Washington is redemption for his downtrodden years in Houston and New Orleans.

"Being in Houston, I took a lot of bumps in the road, trying to figure out what I [could] do. I'm still trying to figure out what I can do," said Ariza, who also told reporters he's still trying to find the confidence that made him the player he was with the Lakers.

Ariza, more than any other Wizard, may benefit the most from Wall's style of play. The two actually played on the same pickup team in Los Angeles the day the small forward was dealt to Washington.

"I think he has unbelievable talent. I watched him play last year and got to play with him a little bit during the summer. I can't believe somebody can really be that fast with the basketball and that explosive," marveled Ariza.

"And from what I've seen, he's been working on his shots. I didn't think in previous years he was that comfortable shooting the basketball. Teams would go under on him a lot. This year I'm not so sure if teams are going to be able to do that," praised Ariza.

Wall was incredible at the rim last season, netting 61.9 percent of his attempts. From everywhere else on the court though, it was a constant struggle.

These are Wall's specific shooting stats according to HoopData.com: From 3-9 feet (28.3 percent), from 10-15 feet (32.1 percent), from 16-23 feet (29.0 percent) and from three-point range (10.7 percent).

So in reality, Wall's 42.3 field goal percentage in 2011-2012 is quite skewed. Here's to hoping Ariza is right.

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