In the last week of preseason, some coaches settle on their rotations and allow the free agents on the roster to get playing time before most get waived. Randy Wittman, who hasn't had Martell Webster or Alan Anderson, figures he won't change much with the Wizards' game tonight at the Miami Heat and the finale Friday vs. the Toronto Raptors in Montreal.
“I’m probably going to play the same we’ve played," said Wittman. "I’m not worried about getting into regular minutes. Our starters have gone anywhere from 20 to 25 minutes.”
Nene hasn't played since Oct. 11 because of a sore right calf. Jared Dudley (lower back surgery) is expected to make his Wizards debut before the exhibitions wrap up.
So that means trotting out the starting five of John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kris Humphries and Marcin Gortat. Where rookie Kelly Oubre slots is another matter. He's a small forward and comes in behind Porter. Dudley is a career small forward but is projected to me used more as a "stretch" power forward off the bench. So is Drew Gooden, who probably should continue to be the first one to fill in for Humphries.
Of course, Gooden and Dudley are better three-point shooters than Humphries who has made just two in his career during the regular season. Both of those came when he was a rookie in 2004. Could Humphries end up the odd man out again, like he was going into the playoffs last season?
When Dudley gets into top shape, he'll play both forward spots pending matchups. The educated guess here is Oubre, who like Porter when he was a rookie, struggles with the defensive assignments in the Wizards' system, will have his time reduced until he gets up to speed. When the 19-year-old is ready, then he'll see more time and get it consistently.
But with Webster (right hip) and Anderson (left ankle) out of the picture for now, it'll give Oubre a chance to get spot minutes. The Wizards are 4-1 in the preseason, but it's the regular season record that matters.
"We’re moving in the right direction," Wittman said about how his players are adjusting to the new offense. "We jut got to continue to keep that focus from a transitional (defense) standpoint, from running hard one end to make sure we’re running hard on the other end. We’ve got to make that our number one priority. We got better against Milwaukee in that aspect than we did against Philly. Those are the things we got to continue to clean up.
“They’ve done a good job of understand of how we want to play and trying to play that way for 48 minutes. Right now I see a dropoff just when we get tired. I got to do a good job of recognizing that, getting guys in and out."