Because of the opponent and out of necessity, the Wizards likely will resort to more small lineups than usual tonight against the Phoenix Suns though 7-footer Ryan Hollins, who joined them earlier in the week, expects to get his first start (CSN, CSNmidatlantic.com and NBC Sports Live Extra, 6:30 p.m.).
Hollins was signed Monday after the Wizards (7-9) waived Martell Webster. Nene (left calf) is out, Drew Gooden (left calf) didn't shoot around with them this morning and starting center Marcin Gortat (personal leave) returned to Poland to be with his hospitalized mother after Wednesday's loss to the L.A. Lakers. Kris Humphries (ankle) didn't shoot around this morning and is questionable to play.
"I've been everywhere in this league from a starter to a guy off the bench to first man, last man, five minutes, two minutes," said Hollins, who played 11 minutes but didn't score against the Lakers. "That last game was good because I've been working my butt off. There's no way you can simulate game minutes."
Hollins is familiar with John Wall, who spends offseasons in the Los Angeles area. That's where Hollins is from.
"In the NBA we all essentially run the same sets and it's just learning the concepts," Hollins said. "Once you learn your concepts, you learn your teammates you get chemistry. It's easy. Me and John, we play together just about every summer in the offseason. I'm really familiar with his game already. ... Ten years in, you can pick up plays pretty quick."
The Wizards, however, will be facing a team in Phoenix (8-11) that has been problematic in the past because of guard play and their high volume of pick-and-rolls. Starting center Tyson Chandler (hamstring) is out and Alex Len is expected to get the start. Markieff Morris (knee) went through shootaround but is questionable.
That's where Jared Dudley, who played the five spot in a 97-85 win on Tuesday at the Cleveland Cavaliers, comes in. The Suns could go small even more often.
"I expect to play everything," said Dudley, who has played a season-high 32 minutes in the last two games. "To be able to play 40-plus (minutes), we only got three bigs so for me, a lot of guards, a lot of pick-and-rolls, my value being up in the picks. ... We're all going to play depending on how well you play you can play more. If those guys get into foul trouble I might not have no choice. It could be one of those games where you play 45. You just don't know. The good thing is they're small, too."
The Wizards successfully went to a lineup of Wall, Bradley Beal, Garrett Temple, Otto Porter and Dudley twice in that game. The first time, it was for 2:34 of the second quarter when they expanded a three-point lead to 10. The next time came in the fourth quarter, with LeBron James on the floor, and coach Randy Wittman stuck with it for nine minutes because of foul trouble to Gortat. The Wizards stretched a 14-point lead to 19.
Porter is the tallest of the bunch at 6-8, but they have a lot of length with Temple at 6-6 and Dudley 6-7. They also can call on rookie Kelly Oubre, who is 6-7 and has a 7-2 wingspan. When they swallowed up Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson in Cleveland, they fronted the post and doubled from the weak side on the entry pass. If the ball went back out to the perimeter, they're athletic and long enough to recover to the shooters. It caused havoc, missed shots and allowed them to get out in transition.
"This is a perfect game if you're going to be hurt," Dudley said.
MORE WIZARDS: Wizards scramble to plug gaps to challenge Suns