After relying heavily on John Wall in the previous game, Wizards coach Scott Brooks said before tipoff vs. the Atlanta Hawks on Friday that he was concerned about wearing down his point guard too much. He won't play Saturday in their first back-to-back of the season vs. the Orlando Magic which will open the door for rookie Tomas Satoransky to make his first start.
"John's minutes were really good tonight," Brooks said after Wall put up 21 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in 33 minutes. "Part of his rehab plan was to be real cognizant of his minutes. Tomorrow, part of the plan is he's not going to play in the back-to-back. He might not play in the first few. That's all fluid."
With Trey Burke being unproductive for the first three games, Brooks has gone away from him as the primary backup. Satoransky relieved Wall in this one and played 22 minutes, posting a modest stat line of four points, three rebounds and one assist.
But the second-unit offense ran smoother with him on the floor and he shared a three-guard backcout in the fourth quarter for the second game in a row with Wall and Bradley Beal (and Marcus Thornton when Beal leaves).
'Tomas stepped up tonight," Brooks said after a 95-92 win over Atlanta. "He's a multiple (position) defender."
Brooks wouldn't commit to saying Satoransky would be in the starting lineup.
"There's a good chance. I've been thinking about it because I knew this was the plan going forward. I like how he plays," Brooks said of Satoransky, a 6-7 combo guard who played professionally in Spain for four years before joining the team that drafted him in 2012.
Wall, who had surgeries on both knees May 5, played 37 minutes Wednesday in a loss to the Toronto Raptors. Beal, who has had a history of stress reactions in his lower right leg, played 39 minutes for the second game in a row.
This means Beal will have to carry more of the offensive load in Orlando and be monitored closely as the Wizards play their third game in four days.
"Looking back after last game, I played him a few minutes too many," Brooks said about Wall before Friday's game. "Not that I put him in harm’s way, I need to have better performance from our bench. Last game we did not have that."