Wizards

5 lineups the Wizards can use to build on their winning streak

Wizards

Between all the injuries and multi-game absences on COVID-19 protocols the Wizards have had to deal with, head coach Scott Brooks has had to shuffle his rotations quite a bit. 

Just 26 games into the season, the Wizards have gone with 16 different starting lineups. 16! But now that they've gotten relatively healthy and are putting together some wins - most recently a three-game winning streak with victories over the Celtics, Rockets and Nuggets - the rotation has stabilized a bit. 

To sustain this momentum and get back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the Wizards will have to maximize the players that are indeed available, so here's a look at five that have been the best statistically so far this season. 

*Disclaimer: Lineups with Thomas Bryant and Ish Smith have been excluded due to long term injuries*

The new, permanent(?) starting five

Westbrook-Beal-Mathews-Hachimura-Wagner (+32.4 net rating in 51 possessions)

A huge reason for the Wizards' latest turnaround came from a drastic lineup change Brooks made last week, inserting Moe Wagner and Garrison Mathews in the starting lineup alongside Bradley Beal, Russell Westbrook and Rui Hachimura.

The Wizards needed a jolt of energy in the starting lineup and those two additions provided it in spades. This lineup is scoring a nice 115.7 points per 100 possessions, but it's defending at an insane level right now (83.3 defensive rating). Wagner's versatility on the defensive end is having a positive impact on the overall stinginess of the Wizards' front line, and it also helps that he's developed into a pretty good flopper. 

 

This should probably be the starting lineup until further notice. 

Neto with Beal

Neto-Beal-Avdija-Bertans-Lopez (+57.7 net rating in 33 possessions)

You can't play Westbrook and Beal together all game, so it's good to see that the Wizards have found an explosive lineup full of bench players to group with Beal. This group has playmaking, shooting, and a big presence inside in Lopez to balance out Avdija and Bertans playing the forward spots. 

This lineup has an ungodly 160.6 offensive rating in its time together and most of those minutes have come with Bertans in the worst shooting slump of his career. As he continues to knock down 3-pointers at his normal rate, the Wizards are going to be able to put together some dangerous bench units. 

The core four + Len

Westbrook-Beal-Avdija-Hachimura-Len (+9.5 net rating in 33 possessions)

Washington's four most important players -- they're two stars and last two first-round picks -- have struggled to produce with Lopez at center, but they've had a much better time with Alex Len. 

Whether it's Len's chemistry with Beal on the pick and roll or his mobility on the defensive end compared to Lopez, Len has been the better fit next to those guys. As Brooks continues to find a way to incorporate more than two of his three centers per game, the best way to get Len involved is this five-man combo right here. 

Westbrook with shooters

Westbrook-Neto-Robinson-Bertans-Lopez (+38.1 net rating in 21 possessions)

The best way to maximize Westbrook's strengths is to surround him with shooters, give him a big man to set a nice screen for him and let him drive and kick or finish at the rim. That's exactly what this lineup has and it's no surprise that they've had no problem scoring the ball (161.9 offensive rating). 

Jerome Robinson has basically been out of the rotation, so an alternative option here would be inserting Mathews to provide the floor spacing and defensive activity necessary to make this group run effectively. 

Darkhorse death lineup?

Westbrook-Beal-Avdija-Bertans-Wagner (+86.7 net rating in 15 possessions)

The sample size on this lineup is almost too small to include, but give the fact that Wagner is becoming the primary center on the team, it's an option that could turn into their best five-man lineup by the end of the year. 

This group is switchy, has plenty of shooting and playmaking and could maximize both Westbrook and Beal if everything goes according to plan. So here's to hoping for more of this lineup because it has the potential to be a group you could turn to down the stretch of games against almost any team. 

Tune in to NBC Sports Washington at 9 p.m. Saturday for full coverage of the Wizards' next game against the Trail Blazers