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Wizards

A poll of Wizards fans on Twitter to field ideas of what should be changed would likely involve wholesale firings. That is much easier to say when it's not your $21 million to buy out head coach Scott Brooks' contract.

What is much more likely, especially in the short-term, are changes made by Brooks himself. That is, if he chooses to adjust anything noticeable at all.

Through two-plus seasons with the Wizards, Brooks has often preferred to keep a steady hand and trust his previously laid plans. He has yet to overtly bench a key player. He has never wavered from his starting lineup with John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr. and Markieff Morris as the core four.

Even when Brooks has hinted at major changes, he has balked. So, there's no guarantee you will see anything significantly different about the Wizards' lineup or rotation construction over the next few games.

But, what if Brooks does veer off course and do something drastic? Here are five possibilities he could explore, if he so chooses...

Bench a starter

If Brooks wants to get everyone's attention, the best way would be to make a change in the starting lineup. Wall, Beal, Porter and Morris have been safely assembled as a group, but they aren't the same foursome they were two years ago when they were one of the best lineups in basketball and led the Wizards to 49 wins.

Through their seven games together (Morris missed one), they have been solid this season with a +9.1 net rating in 124 total minutes. But, as Friday's loss to the Thunder showed, they have some limitations as a group defensively. Wall and Beal aren't locking down the perimeter like they are capable of doing and Porter and Morris aren't quick enough to clean up the mess. They are also busy guarding their own men.

The starting lineup will need more time with Dwight Howard for Brooks and the rest of us to get a good read on it. But if they keep losing, perhaps swapping Kelly Oubre Jr. in for Porter or Morris for one game would send a message. 

Oubre hasn't shown enough to truly justify overtaking one of those spots in the long-term, but everyone knows he would infuse energy. Plus, he might be more willing to do the dirty work on defense than anyone else on the roster. The starting lineup could use some of that.

Play Troy Brown

It's only a matter of time before the hashtags come out of the woodwork, that #FreeTroyBrown floods our timelines. The Wizards are struggling with rebounding, defense and their energy level. Those are some of the biggest selling points for the 2018 first round pick.

Brown doesn't have a reliable shot quite yet, but he's working on it. And so far this season, though it's come in garbage time, he's 5-for-10 from the field and 2-for-3 from three. He is a smart, dedicated and versatile player who creates for others. The Wizards could use more of those qualities.

Now, it's not entirely clear whom Brown would replace. Maybe he gets some of Austin Rivers' minutes. Or, if Brooks adjusts the starting lineup to put Oubre in for Morris, maybe Morris moves to the five in the second unit to replace Mahinmi and Brown takes the open spot in the primary bench group. Wait, did we just fix the Wizards' rotation?

Give Tomas Satoransky more minutes

The continued growth in Satoransky's game seems to be there, yet so far this season he has seen a reduced role. On Friday, he played only five minutes before Brooks emptied his bench. For a guy who commits on defense, moves on offense and can hit threes, it's a head-scratcher.

Anyone could have guessed that a healthy Wall, plus the addition of Rivers, would be bad news for Satoransky's minutes, but neither Wall or Rivers have played well to start this season. Satoransky, though to be fair, has been on the floor for some of the Wizards' worst stretches this season.

Stop putting Wall off the ball

It was debatable in theory and so far it does not appear to be working. The experiment with Wall playing off the ball has some clear limitations.

Wall is the fastest player on the team, the best passer and the most likely to get past his defender to break down the defense off the dribble. When he's off the ball, the offense loses that element. 

And Wall just doesn't seem to be comfortable playing without the ball in his hands. He camps out on the three-point line and hasn't been effective cutting through the lane.

There is logic behind having Beal or Porter initiate the offense, and Wall has been committing way too many turnovers, but two years ago when this team was one of the best scoring attacks in basketball, Wall was in the drivers seat. It seems like the Wizards would be smart to get back to basics and figure those out first before getting creative.

Shake up the bench

Brooks, for the most part, has been apprehensive to stagger starters with the bench. He has done it more so this season by experimenting with guard combinations, but it's not uncommon to see a full group of bench players out on the floor at some point by halftime.

Brooks could stagger one of his starters with the bench more often. It might be the best way to get Porter or Morris more shots, as they can fade away when sharing the floor with Wall and Beal.

Or, Brooks could make his bench a revolving door. If Mahinmi isn't playing well, give Jason Smith or Thomas Bryant a shot. If Oubre or Green aren't getting it done, promote Brown for a night. 

Bryant, for one, is intriguing. He is one of the biggest and most athletic players on the team and plays with good energy. Maybe he can grab some rebounds or alter some shots. If Brooks sees his regulars playing without passion and energy, turning to a young player who is champing at the bit for the opportunity doesn't seem like a bad idea at all.

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