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Game 1 begs question of who Scott Brooks will trust in his playoff rotation

Game 1 begs question of who Scott Brooks will trust in his playoff rotation

NBA Playoff series can take on different forms during their span of upwards of two weeks. Only so much can be gleaned from one game and especially a Game 1. Much can and will probably change over the course of what will be somewhere in the range of three to six more games between the Wizards and Raptors.

Clearly, though, the way head coach Scott Brooks plans to handle his playoff rotation is much different than what we saw in the regular season. Despite having a better bench on paper than they did one year ago, that does not mean Brooks will use the full group of players he has available.

In their Game 1 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night, Brooks went away from several guys we are accustomed to seeing play large roles. Ian Mahinmi played only two minutes, Tomas Satoransky played 11 and Kelly Oubre, Jr. played 16.

PODCAST: PREDICTING THE NBA PLAYOFFS

Mahinmi is the team's primary backup big man and is making $16.6 million this season. He averaged 14.9 minutes per game during the regular season and 13.9 in four meetings with the Raptors. 

Satoransky is the team's best backup guard. He not only backs up John Wall at point guard, but is their best option at shooting guard behind Bradley Beal as well. He averaged 22.5 minutes in the regular season, though that is skewed by 30 starts due to Wall's injury.

Oubre's 11 minutes were 11.5 below his season average. He was the Wizards' sixth man all year, logging more minutes on average than starters Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat.

Brooks went away from Mahinmi, Oubre and Satoransky to different degrees. The one bench player he trusted most was Mike Scott, who provided a spark with 14 points in 26 minutes. Brooks relied heavily on his starters and particularly Beal and Wall who played 41 and 39 minutes, respectively.

RELATED: DON'T BLAME THE GAME 1 LOSS ON THE REFS

There are reasons to argue that each player's minutes going down was surprising. Oubre perhaps less than the others given his recent shooting struggles and how Brooks has described his defense in recent weeks, but the fact Otto Porter was playing through a right lower leg strain would seemingly help his cause. Those minutes went to Scott instead, which is understandable.

Mahinmi only playing two minutes was much harder to predict. He scored two points, picked up two quick fouls before the midway point of the first quarter and was gone, never to be seen again. Brooks didn't call his name even when Raptors' big man Serge Ibaka was going off for 23 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks. Ibaka was arguably the player of the game, but clearly Brooks did not see Mahinmi as the solution.

Satoransky figured to play a significant role in these playoffs as the third guard. We knew that as the final stretch of the regular season played out. Once Jodie Meeks got suspended the day before the playoffs began for 25 games, it seemed to even further cement Satoransky as an important cog in the playoff rotation.

There seemed to be no one else they would turn to when giving Wall and or Beal a rest. Tim Frazier played three minutes at point guard, but that theory was largely proven true yet Satoransky's role was effectively shrunk.

RELATED: WALL AND DRAKE TALKED TRASH FACE-TO-FACE

It wouldn't be a dramatic change in Game 2 to have Satoransky play more minutes, perhaps as Brook seeks to solve the Wizards' issues both shooting threes and defending them. Satoransky is good at both. He shot a team-best 46.5 percent from long range during the regular season and has proven solid at defending perimeter shooters.

Oubre's role will fluctuate based on how he starts games and Porter's injury. The biggest headscratcher involves Mahinmi.

There were times this season when Brooks went away from Mahinmi entirely despite him being healthy and available, like on March 10 when he received a DNP-CD against the Heat based purely on matchups. The same happened on April 1 against the Bulls.

RELATED: FULL 1ST ROUND NBA PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

There were six games this season where Mahinmi logged less than six minutes, similar to Saturday against the Raptors. Does Brooks not think Mahinmi is a good fit against the Raptors?

Time will tell throughout this series, but so far Brooks has tightened his rotation for the playoffs beyond the point many may have expected.

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2018 NBA Draft: A list of Green Room attendees

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USA Today Sports

2018 NBA Draft: A list of Green Room attendees

The NBA officially announced a list of 20 players invited to the Green Room at the 2018 NBA Draft. Provided that all attend, here's a list of who'll be there.

  • Miles Bridges, Michigan State
  • Mikal Bridges, Villanova
  • Marvin Bagley III, Duke
  • Mohamed Bamba, Texas
  • Collin Sexton, Alabama
  • Jaren Jackson Jr., Michigan State
  • Lonnie Walker IV, Miami
  • Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova
  • Zhaire Smith, Texas Tech
  • Aaron Holiday, UCLA
  • Deandre Ayton, Arizona
  • Wendell Carter Jr., Duke
  • Luka Doncic, Slovenia
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kentucky
  • Kevin Knox, Kentucky
  • Michael Porter Jr., Missouri
  • Robert Williams, Texas A&M
  • Trae Young, Oklahoma
  • Chandler Hutchison, Boise State
  • Jerome Robinson, Boston College

There are two players each invited from Villanova, Michigan State, Duke and Kentucky.

The 2018 NBA Draft will be Thursday, June 21 at 7 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. It will be broadcast on ESPN and streamed live on WatchESPN. The Wizards have Nos. 15 and 44 picks.

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The 2018 NBA Doomsday Mock Draft: A comical look at every team's worst-case scenario

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USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 NBA Doomsday Mock Draft: A comical look at every team's worst-case scenario

The 2018 NBA Draft takes place on Thursday, June 21 and once again provides a glimmer of hope for even the most downtrodden franchises.

The NBA Draft is where teams can prepare for the future; where teams can rebuild and reload.

But the NBA Draft is often a crapshoot. Teams waffle on taking the best fit versus the best available player. Teams often panic and rest on laurels of draft years past. Fans like to build draft stereotypes for individual franchises, and while a lot of that is stupid Internet conjecture, it's fun to talk about and is often some actual truth to it.

So what follows is a look at the Doomsday Mock Draft. What your favorite team is likely to do if all else fails, which it often does.

1. Phoenix Suns: A franchise center who spends his first contract working with the Suns' medical staff more than his teammates.

2. Sacramento Kings: Someone who won't be a member of the Kings by the time 2022 rolls around.

3. Atlanta Hawks: Someone that will make Dennis Schroder unhappy.

4. Memphis Grizzlies: A Mike Conley Jr. repair kit.

5. Dallas Mavericks: Not the heir apparent to Dirk Nowitzki.

6. Orlando Magic: A reach that won't pan out.

7. Chicago Bulls: Someone from Iowa State, probably.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers: ANYONE YOU WANT LEBRON JUST PLEASE DON'T LEAVE US AGAIN!!

9. New York Knicks: /inserts .GIF of Spike Lee looking disappointed/

10. Philadelphia 76ers: Another big man because HINKIE 4 LYFE.

11. Charlotte Hornets: A North Carolina Tar Heel.

12. Los Angeles Clippers: A playmate for the head coach's son.

13. Los Angeles Clippers: DeAndre Jordan 2.0.

14. Denver Nuggets: Yet another athletic guard.

15. Washington Wizards: Nope. Not touching this one.

16. Phoenix Suns: Someone to pass Devon Booker the ball.

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Wingspan. Nothing but wingspan.

18. San Antonio Spurs: One of the Space Jam villains who conveniently falls to the Spurs (See: Leonard, Kawhi. Anderson, Kyle. Murray, Dejounte)

19. Atlanta Hawks: Someone to replace Dennis Schroder.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Someone who Tom Thibideau can play 60 minutes of a 48-minute game.

21. Utah Jazz: A real glue guy. A gym rat. A high-motor guy. Intangibles. Grit. Moxie. 

22. Chicago Bulls: A two-way player who will ultimately get punched in the face by Bobby Portis.

23. Indiana Pacers: DRAFT ANOTHER UCLA PLAYER. WE DARE YOU.

24. Portland Trail Blazers: DRAFT ANOTHER MID-MAJOR GUARD. WE DARE YOU.

25. Los Angeles Lakers: The subject of Lonzo Ball's next diss track.

26. Philadelphia 76ers: A pallet of knockoff burner phones.

27. Boston Celtics: A draft night trade for more draft picks they probably won't use.

28. Golden State Warriors: An unfairly good player.

29. Brooklyn Nets: An unfairly bad player.

30. Atlanta Hawks: We ran out of Dennis Schroder jokes.

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