Wizards Bench Needs Re-Tooling ASAP!Posted on November 13, 2013 by Cory Grubbs
After a 2-5 start through their first seven games, the Washington Wizards are off to a rockier start then most were hoping for. The starting line-up is producing as we had all hoped, as a lineup of Wall, Beal, Ariza, Nene, and Gortat have produced a +45 point differential in 89 minutes of action together. When media outlets, including ourselves, were predicting playoffs and and a win total in the mid-40's, this is the type of output we envisioned.
Enter the bench unit though, and the script gets completely flipped.
Eric Maynor hasn't been the steady back-up PG that Ernie had envisioned. Al Harrington, while he's looked good in spurts, has not been consistent through seven games. And the worst, who some were expecting to be in the running for 6th man of the year, has been Martell Webster. When Martell is on the court, Washington has been outscored by 72 points!!
Randy Wittman has mostly stuck with a nine man rotation to start the season. After the starting unit, Wittman has gone with Harrington, Maynor, Webster, and Kevin Seraphin for all the reserve minutes. Of those four bench players Seraphin is the only one posting a positive +/-. But don't get too excited over that last sentence. He's only posting a +/- of 0.7! You can be generous and round that .7 +/- for the season to a nice whole 1.0. If you are not aware what that number represents, it means that the Wizards have scored 1 whole point more than their opponents with Seraphin in the line-up. To sum up this last paragraph for the general fan, Washington gets punished when the second unit comes in.
So what's the solution? What can the Wiz do to correct this major flaw? Since there is really no valuable trading chips on the roster aside from the starting five, a trade is almost certainly out of the question. The next logical step is the free agent pool. Washington currently has all 15 players on the roster under contract with all 15 being guaranteed for at least the rest of this season. That means Ernie would have to cut someone and pay them this seasons salary in order to make room for a free-agent addition. With Washington only $1.36 million under the luxury tax line and the most prominent free agent being a 35 year-old Rip Hamilton, I don't see a free agent signing in the Wizards' future. A change in the Wizards' rotation looks to be the only answer.
Otto Porter could help ease some of the bench woes when he returns, but when he'll be back and how productive he'll be right out of the gates is weighing on everybody's minds. So back to the drawing board it is. One player that I know most of the Wiz following would LOVE to see get some meaningful minutes is Glen Rice Jr. With Martell and Maynor both struggling early on, it should be time to see what another reserve guard that goes by the name of Glen Rice Jr. can provide. If his per 48 minutes stats (144 PPG and 48 RPG) are any indication, he could help in curing the bench woes that are crippling the Wiz.
Another phantom deep on Wittman's bench, Jan Vesely, could also provide some much needed help. Harrington has struggled to be the consistent force off the bench a la his Denver days. "Uncle Al" is posting the second worst +/- on the team as when he is on the court Washington has been outscored by 57 points. Vesely showed signs of improvement in the preseason and was actually Wittman's starting PF. Now he's hidden on the bench with only one single minute to his name through the first seven games.
I'm not saying by any means that Jan and Rice Jr. will provide some sort of infomercial miracle fix to correct the bench woes,but it's quite obvious changes need to me made before the season gets out of hand. As Wizards fans we've seen some pretty big early season holes, and we all know where those holes lead to: the draft lottery. It's time to make some changes and get back on track for that playoff run season everyone was hoping for.