While Scott Brooks shares the blame among the 15-man roster, and even his coaching staff, in explaining the 2-7 start by the Wizards, Marcin Gortat tends to be more blunt.
“We need energy. We need effort. We’ve got to make shots,” Gortat said after a 106-95 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night. "I think there’s a lot of things we can do better. I think right now, as far as I know, I think we’ve got one of the worst benches in the league right now.”
That quote will raise a lot of eyebrows, and likely land him in hot water with Brooks as it would have with the previous coach Randy Wittman.
Gortat had 18 points and 14 rebounds as the Wizards couldn't retain their early lead with John Wall being held out as a precaution by the team and Bradley Beal nursing a right hamstring injury. The second unit, which has been a glaring weakness, couldn't sustain.
- Trey Burke: He was 3-for-7 for six points and had three assists. But what the stat sheet didn't show was his inability to get the Wizards into their offense particularly in the third quarter when the Bulls dominated 28-14.
- Marcus Thornton: After starting two games ago when only Beal was out, he came off the bench to shoot 4-for-14 in 23 minutues and missed all four of his three-point shot attempts.
- Jason Smith: The backup center can play well in spurts, but the Wizards can't run offense through him. They needed buckets and Smith shot 0-for-4 in 17 minutes.
- Kelly Oubre: The second-year forward is the most promising of the group, but early foul trouble can get him off his rhythm which makes him hard to predict. He played just nine minutes. Oubre had his third foul by 10:54 of the second quarter.
The emergence of Tomas Satoransky (12 points, nine assists) and Sheldon McClellan (15 points), who had breakout games in Chicago in their second and first starts in the backcourt, should stabilize the second unit when Ian Mahinmi returns from left knee surgery as early as later this month.
Andrew Nicholson, however, has fallen completely out of the rotation after being the primary backup to Markieff Morris at power forward and rookie Danuel House has yet to see game action.
Beal said recently that Brooks was getting "fed up" with how the Wizards are playing, but he didn't call out any particular group or unit. That'll likely be the message from Brooks after the Wizards practice Monday.
Gortat's honesty about the obvious tends to get him in trouble with coaches. When it happened with Wittman two years ago, it became a debiltiating situation in which they avoided talking to each other for most of last season. Brooks won't let that happen and will try to get his center on the same message.
The only way to fix it is by winning, and the next five games are winnable for the Wizards regardless of their injury situation or bench play: vs. Sixers, Knicks, Heat, Suns and Magic.
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