DeJuan Blair is looking forward to repairing his reputation in Washington, according to J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. Blair had a disappointing first season with the Wizards after agreeing to a sign-and-trade from Dallas, appearing in just 29 games and averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds. But Blair, who still has two years and $4MM left on his contract, expects to get more playing time this season with Kevin Seraphin gone to the Knicks. “It’s my body [that’s the difference],” said Blair, who dropped 30 pounds over the summer. “Last year was a big wake-up call coming from Dallas, went from playing in the playoffs to not playing at all … This year I worked all over the summer.”
There’s more news from the Southeast Division:
- A rash of injuries to wing players may force Kelly Oubre Jr. into the Wizards‘ rotation sooner than expected, writes Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. Free agent addition Alan Anderson will miss a big part of the season after ankle surgery this week, his second procedure in five months. He joins an injured list that includes Martell Webster [arthritic hip], Garrett Temple [sore hamstring] and Jared Dudley [back surgery]. That leaves Oubre and Gary Neal as the only healthy wings off the bench. “Every day I’m just trying to work, and I’m trying to find myself on the court and make sure the game comes easier for me,” Oubre said. “I never really had expectations on playing time or anything like that. I’m just all in on the team.”
- NBA veteran Damien Wilkins, signed by the Hornets after an injury to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, tells Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer that he understands his place on the team. “I’m not going to come in and try to be MKG. There is only one him – that’s why he makes the big bucks,” Wilkins said. “I’ve just got to be myself and provide some leadership and experience, make plays on both ends of the floor.” Kidd-Gilchrist is expected to miss the season after dislocating his right shoulder in a preseason game.
- Channing Frye has become more agile and aggressive as he prepares for an expanded role with the Magic, according to John Denton of Magic.com. Frye was mainly a three-point shooter in Jacque Vaughn’s offense last season, but new coach Scott Skiles wants him to play a more complete game.