Beyond what took place in the last game for Markieff Morris, neutralizing Carmelo Anthony in the Wizards' comeback victory, it opens the door to what's ahead when it comes to three pivotal meetings with the Atlanta Hawks.
The first is tonight at Phillips Arena (CSN, CSNmidatlantic.com and NBC Sports Live Extra, 7:30 p.m. ET).
The Hawks (41-29) lead the season series 1-0 so that's still on the table for the Wizards (34-35), who can get back to .500 after dipping five games below recently. But now with Morris, who was acquired at the trade deadline, they actually have someone who can matchup with Paul Millsap.
He's the one matchup problem they've never solved, losing 3 of 4 regular-season meetings against Atlanta last season and falling in six games of the East semifinals as well.
"It's going to be a good match up, him going against Millsap," said Wall, after the Wizards beat the New York Knicks 99-89 on Saturday. "In the past we'd have to double-team certain people. Now we got somebody that can guard them guys one-on-one without help and be able to go back and those guys at the other end."
The Wizards were in a bind previously. Nene is their best perimeter defending big, but in a more traditional sense. He's more than equipped to defend a face-up, mid range shooter. Millsap, however, is a classic "tweener" which is a plus in today's game, in that he can shoot from the three-point arc and is a threat to put the ball on the floor to get to the rim.
Before he was traded (and now in Atlanta), Kris Humphries nor Drew Gooden could handle the assignment to chase Millsap around the arc. Jared Dudley is more capable in some ways defensively in a team concept but not one-on-one. He's undersized and Millsap could simply post him up for buckets.
Enter Morris, who is 6-10. The Wizards have options. Switch on the pick-and-rolls with Morris and Wall and leave a small player on him, the Hawks are at a disadvantage. That's something the Wizards weren't able to do with Dudley or even when they had Humphries who had no back-to-the-basket game.
"When teams switch on us he can post up. He's able to shoot over people," Wall said. "He can put the ball on the floor, he can create off the dribble and pass and find people. He has all the tools offensively and the way he stood up and played defensively really helped us out."
Of course, Morris has to take advantage of that situation. In an overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, who switched Damian Lillard onto him, Morris couldn't though he was fouled twice on catches that wasn't called. More often than not, the Wizards should be able to exploit such a switch.
"I think that will help us out a lot," Bradley Beal said of Morris. "Somebody who can move and who's pretty much the same size who can guard multiple positions."
Otto Porter wasn't physically able to keep Anthony from getting to his spots in the mid-post. He'd averaged 35 points in the two games the Knicks had played vs. the Wizards before then. But that was before Morris, who has had a penchant for foul trouble, came to Washington.
Morris battled Anthony for real estate, kept a hand in his face and then responded on the other end with a pair of highlight-reel dunks to showcase his athleticism. When Morris was switched onto him, Anthony was held to six points on 2 of 9 shooting in the second half.
He should be able to handle Millsap's physical play, too. Alan Anderson, who returned to action Saturday, also figures to log some time in relief if he's healthy enough.
The Wizards have to keep in mind that the that Atlanta's best shooters, Millsap and Kyle Korver, tend to set a lot of screens to create switches. If the defense isn't on its toes, they'll pop to the arc.
Beal and Porter figured out with Korver that he slides laterally and rarely goes in straight lines to the basket and were successful taking him away during the playoffs.
Millsap, who is only shooting 31% from three this season, is so versatile that they've had to do a lot of helping and mixing up coverages to keep him in contained which opens up space for others. Maybe they'll no longer have to do as much of that.
MORE WIZARDS: Otto Porter comes around when Wizards need him most