Will Bynum hasn't played in this series with the Atlanta Hawks, and he only made one appearance in the final game of a sweep of the Toronto Raptors in the first round. But he's one of the last players to know that John Wall had five non-displaced fractures in his left wrist which could elevate Bynum into a more meaningful role come Game 3 Saturday.
After Paul Pierce, Ramon Sessions, Bradley Beal and coach Randy Wittman spoke to assembled media Thursday afternoon about the news, Bynum remained on the practice court working up a sweat with some extra repetitions. It's a common practice here with bench players who aren't getting a lot of time in the rotation.
When was Bynum told? "Right before the game," he said, referring to Tuesday's 106-90 loss in Atlanta when Wall was a late scratch because of his inability to grip the ball with his left hand. The seven-game series is 1-1.
When Bynum was told the question was in reference to Thursday, his eyes eyes lit up. "See, I didn't even know that. Wow," he said. "Dang. I didn't know that. It doesn't change my mentality. Hopefully Witt will use me."
Sessions will get the start as he did in Game 2. For defense, the Wizards will opt for Garrett Temple. He's their best on-ball perimeter defender and the Hawks have plenty of scorers on the outside. For offense, Wittman could chose to go with Bynum, who is about seven inches shorter than Temple but can be more prone to offensive outbursts with his dribble penetration.
"Our guards have to get in the paint and create easy opportunities. We have to have great ball movement," Bynum said. "And we got to be aggressive on the defensive end. We've got to hit them first. It's pretty simple. The little things like that is the key. It's the energy, the 50-50 balls, the extra pass, the hockey assists, those are the keys to winning the game."
Sessions scored a playoff career-high 21 points in the loss. Bynum's career playoff-high came in 2009 when he scored 22 points for the Detroit Pistons.
"Because we play Sessions and John together a lot coming down the stretch, in practice Will is getting a lot of reps a that second unit point guard," Wittman said. "He's comfortable with what we're doing and everything."
Bynum took a moment to soak in the news. The last player signed to the roster as a free agent in late March and the last to know. But if Sessions can replicate Tuesday's effort and Bynum rise to the occasion, in a strange way this could benefit the Wizards in the short-term. But that's being extremely optimistic.
"I've been playing for a long time so things happen. You have to be ready," Bynum said. "I know it's tough for John because I know how eager he was for this opportunity. I know it's tough for him. For guys like myself for whoever gets the call to be ready.
"For sure, we can still win. It's just going to be tough without him."