Wizards

Quick Links

Projecting the Wizards' starting lineup and rotation without Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans

Projecting the Wizards' starting lineup and rotation without Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans

Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans not playing in Orlando means the Wizards have to replace their top two scorers and, arguably, their two-best players. Head coach Scott Brooks now has to form a lineup and a rotation with two major pieces missing.

How he approaches that decision could change as the rest of the season goes. Perhaps they first gear things towards trying to make the playoffs and then shift towards player development if they lose a few games out of the gate.

With that in mind, here is a projection of what the Wizards could look like in Game 1:

STARTERS

G - Ish Smith

Though both of their top two point guards are in Orlando, this one isn't an easy call because Brooks has shifted Smith and Napier back-and-forth in the starting spot. Napier had started eight straight games before the season shut down, but with Beal out, it would make sense if they rolled with Smith as the starter given his ability to get players into rhythm and push the pace.

G - Jerian Grant

This may be the biggest surprise on here, but it also makes some sense if you think about it. Grant is a more experienced player than Jerome Robinson, which Brooks might prefer at least at first while the team's playoff hopes are very much alive.

F - Troy Brown Jr.

Brown is listed as a small forward, but the best role for him in Orlando would be as a versatile playmaker on offense. He is a good passer and, with Beal out, they could try to run some plays through him to maximize those strengths.

F - Rui Hachimura

This is the easiest call in the starting five. He has been a mainstay at the four all season and now should have a much larger role on offense with both Beal and Bertans out. Expect Hachimura to take 5-10 more shots per game than he usually does (11.1/g).

C - Thomas Bryant

Bryant gets the nod over Wagner and Ian Mahinmi here because the Wizards are going to need all the offense they can get with the players they are missing. Bryant can get you double-digit points on the regular.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WIZARDS TALK PODCAST

BENCH ROTATION

G - Shabazz Napier

Putting Napier on the bench gives you a guy who can shoot and score. Without Bertans, the second unit could struggle in those areas. If Napier doesn't start, he will probably be their sixth man.

G - Jerome Robinson

Robinson is going to be one of the most interesting Wizards players to watch in Orlando. So far in his career, he's always had to take a backseat to veteran players and often stars. In L.A., it was Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Lou Williams. In D.C., he has had to wait in the shadow of Beal. Now, he should get the best opportunity to seek his own shot that he has had in the NBA so far.

F - Isaac Bonga

Though Bonga has started 41 games this season, the likely increased responsibility for Brown means it makes sense for Bonga to come off the bench. Bonga would still get plenty of minutes and during an important time for him without a guaranteed contract for next season at this point.

RELATED: SEE SOCIAL JUSTICE STATEMENTS WIZARDS WILL WEAR

F - Admiral Schofield

Schofield seems like the most likely player to enter the rotation with Bertans out. General manager Tommy Sheppard recently mentioned him as someone who could earn an opportunity. And Schofield says he has returned having dropped close to 20 pounds. 

C - Moe Wagner

Wagner will definitely be one of the top seven or eight members of the rotation. He has already proven his worth this season and is one of the young players the Wizards hope to get some valuable experience in Orlando with an eye towards next year.

Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Kevin Durant posts cryptic, oddly timed tweet after Nets lose to Trail Blazers

Kevin Durant posts cryptic, oddly timed tweet after Nets lose to Trail Blazers

The Nets, playing without Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and most of their key rotation players, lost to Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers Thursday night, clinching a play-in opportunity for Portland as the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Lillard had 42 points and was masterful from deep. At one point, he even pulled up from the logo just beyond half-court and drilled a three. 

While Lillard was the story of the game, Durant drew some attention on social media afterward by tweeting a picture of himself dunking in Drake's "Laugh Now Cry Later" music video.

Durant's been out all year recovering from Achilles surgery, but for some reason Nets fans are still holding out hope that he might return, so one of the leading theories for the motivation behind the tweet is that Durant would return for the playoffs. The Nets hold the seventh seed in the East and are set to face the defending champion Raptors in the first round.

RELATED: IMPORTANT NBA OFFSEASON DATES TO REMEMBER

He would have to enter the bubble and quarantine for 10 days before presumably playing in his first game in over a year with little to no ramp-up. If Durant entered the bubble today, he'd be able to return by the time the Nets play the Raptors in Game 5 of the first round. Seems unlikely.

Another theory is that because the Blazers beat the Nets, there's a good chance the Lakers will have a tougher road to the NBA Finals. Given we have no reason to believe he's interested in the Lakers winning a title or that he'd actually be happy after his team loses probably busts this one as well. 

Could it be that Durant was excited about being in a popular music video and tweeted a still of himself coincidentally 30-or-so minutes after his team wrapped up its regular season? Probably, but when has that ever stopped the Twitter detectives from going nuts online?

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WIZARDS TALK PODCAST

Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Bradley Beal feels bad for the Phoenix Suns: "Boys went undefeated down there, no reward."

Bradley Beal feels bad for the Phoenix Suns: "Boys went undefeated down there, no reward."

Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal didn't make the trip to Orlando for the NBA restart due to shoulder rehab, but don't think for a second he wasn't tuned into the NBA action every day. 

One of the many incredible storylines inside the NBA Bubble was the performance of Devin Booker and the Phonix Suns — the Suns, who were the second-to-last team invited to the restart, went 8-0 in the seeding games but still didn't qualify for the playoff play-in tournament. 

Beal chimed in on Twitter. 

"Feel for Phx!" Beal said. "Boys went undefeated down there, no reward."

After defeating the Dallas Mavericks, 128-102, yesterday afternoon, the Suns needed the Brooklyn Nets to down the Portland Trailblazers in order to make the play-in tournament. While the game was extremely exciting and came down to the last shot, Damian Lilliard and the Blazers walked away victorious. 

RELATED: IMPORTANT OFFSEASON DATES FOR WASHINGTON WIZARDS

Suns head coach Monty Williams gave an awe-inspiring speech to the team after their victory, noting that regardless if they got into the tournament or not that he was extremely proud of them.

"This was therapeutic for me to be around a group like this. I love you," Williams said. "I don't care what happens tonight, I know what I've got in this room."

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WIZARDS TALK PODCAST

Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: