On Sunday, head coach Scott Brooks confirmed that guard/forward Carrick Felix would be on the Wizards’ opening day roster, winning the 15th spot after being invited to training camp on a non-guaranteed contract.
Felix, a 6’6″ swingman from Arizona St., was drafted 33rd overall in the 2013 draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, but hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since the 2013-14 season, when he played in seven games with the Cavs. He split time during his rookie campaign with the Canton Charge of the then D-League, and has since played with the D-League’s Santa Cruz Warriors and Long Island Nets, while also rehabbing a knee injury in 2014.
After Sheldon Mac went down with a season-long Achilles injury earlier in preseason, the Wizards then waived Daniel Ochefu, which may have opened the door for one of the camp invitees to crack the roster. The team then announced on Saturday they waived guard Donald Sloan, which left the 15th spot open for Felix.
On Sunday, Felix said he found out he made the team by being congratulated by teammates when he arrived for practice. He then spoke to the media before he had even let his close ones know that he was on the team.
“After this, I’ll probably go to my phone and have a lot of text messages from family and friends, I’ll definitely call my mom first and let her know what’s going on and she’s going to be very happy,” said Felix.
Felix may have seemed like a longshot to make the roster a few weeks ago, but he had an excellent training camp and made an impression on the coaching staff with his infectious energy in practice each day.
“Carrick gives maximum effort… Every time he’s on the court, whether it’s practice or a game, he’s still developing his shooting, but I like what he brings, he brings toughness to our team, he brings a great work ethic and was well deserving of that spot,” said Brooks after Sunday’s practice.
While Felix made the team, he knows this was just the first step in his road back to the NBA.
“Now that I did what I needed to do, I think the next step is to get better every day. Find a way to help this team, whether it’s in practice, getting the guys better, bringing positive energy around, or hopefully one day getting on the court, but for now it’s just get better every day.”
With injuries to Markieff Morris and Mac, Felix will be one of the 13 active players on opening night on Wednesday. While it’s unlikely he’ll see any significant playing time early in the season, he has already shown Brooks that he can jump into a game and provide instant energy, something that every team in the league wants on the end of their bench.