Wizards

Wizards

It would've been unfair to expect the Wizards to win more than one game in a four-game road trip consisting of the Suns, Nuggets, Lakers and Clippers. 

Still, the way they lost, especially in Los Angeles, prompted head coach Scott Brooks to hint at lineup changes moving forward. 

As the Wizards offense continues to be outrageously efficient, their defense just hasn't been able to provide any sort of resistance against opposing offenses. 

Chase Hughes outlined a few options Brooks could consider to fix the defensive woes, so what do the stats suggest?

We're going to take a look at the three best offensive, defensive and overall five-man lineups the Wizards have this season per 100 possessions.

For reference, the Wizards' current starting five of Isaiah Thomas, Bradley Beal, Troy Brown, Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant have a 101 offensive rating, 117.9 defensive rating and a -16.9 net rating. Not great. 

Best defensive lineups (min. 20 minutes played)

1. Ish Smith/Bradley Beal/Jordan McRae/Davis Bertans/Thomas Bryant: 77.9 DEF rtg
2. Smith/Beal/McRae/Bertans/Moe Wagner: 95.2 
3. Thomas/Beal/Bonga/Hachimura/Bryant: 105.8

Chase may be on the money suggesting a return to the starting lineup for Ish Smith and playing Isaac Bonga more minutes.

Smith isn't exactly a defensive ace, but he's consistently been better than Thomas on that end of the floor. If Thomas is relegated to the second unit where he can be the primary ball-handler with Bertans and Wagner spacing the floor, he could see an uptick in his scoring and efficiency. 

 

But what if fielding a good defense is impossible for this Wizards team? What if the best defense for them is an even better offense? Here's a look at three five-man combinations that get the most buckets. 

Best offensive lineups

1. Smith/Beal/McRae/Bertans/Bryant: 130.4 OFF rtg
2. Smith/Beal/McRae/Bertans/Wagner: 127.3
3. Thomas/Beal/Bertans/Hachimura/Bryant: 127

The common theme here? Smith, Beal and Bertans. Whatever changes Brooks plans to make moving forward, more minutes for Smith and Bertans figure to be first in line. 

Everyone wants balance though. If you can find a lineup that gives you both great offense and defense, you want to try and give that group as much time as humanly possible. 

So here's a look at the three lineups that have the best net rating on the team. That calculation is done by simply subtracting your defensive rating from your offensive rating. 

Best lineups

1. Smith/Beal/McRae/Bertans/Bryant: 52.8 NET rtg
2. Smith/Beal/McRae/Bertans/Wagner: 32.1 
3. Thomas/Beal/Bonga/Bertans/Wagner: 11.1

The Smith-Beal-McRae-Bertans-Bryant combo owns the Wizards' best offense and defense, so it's only natural for them to hold the top spot here.

Brooks may not make three changes to the starting lineup at once, especially since Hachimura is starting to show more promise in his starting role. But playing Bertans and Smith more with Beal is statistically their best option. 

If Brooks makes changes and the defense is still putrid, it may be time to make some roster changes. The NBA's recently signed restriction for this past summer's free agents ends on December 15, so there's a good chance we know by then which teams are in the market to make a trade. 

If there's an offensively starved team with an abundance of defenders -- Magic, Thunder -- the Wizards would be a natural trade partner. Whether they want to make any upgrades during a rebuilding year remains to be seen, but it's an option given the imbalance offensively and defensively with this roster. 

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