Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE
Randy Wittman has correctly used the first six preseason games to tinker with different lineup combinations, but it's time for him to settle on a rotation.
The Washington Wizards are 2-4 in the preseason, and really, that doesn't matter very much. That's because coach Randy Wittman has, correctly, used the first six games to try out a ton of different lineup combinations in an attempt to see which ones actually work well. There hasn't been one set starting lineup, and Wittman hasn't been shy about throwing out odd five-man units to end games.
However, with two games to go until the start of the regular season, I think it might be time for Wittman to play the regulars more often. With John Wall out for a month and Nene looking increasingly unlikely for the season opener, now is the time for everyone left on the roster to develop some chemistry. If the Wizards are to get off to a decent start without their two horses, lineup familiarity will be big reasons why. That's why it's time to play these last two games like real contests rather than as means for experimentation.
I think Wittman knows this too, which is why these last two starting lineups might be very instructive. Based on what we've seen in the preseason, here's how I think the rotation should look.
PG: A.J. Price. Two straight strong performances should pretty much seal up the starting point guard job. Shelvin Mack hasn't played nearly as well recently, and Jannero Pargo is what he is. Price has the fully guaranteed contract and he's been the best player at the position in the preseason, so this is a no-brainer.
SG: Bradley Beal. Beal hasn't always played great, but he's generally been pretty solid. That consistency makes him an ideal starter, especially with no other perimeter scoring threats in the starting lineup.
SF: Martell Webster. I think he should start over Trevor Ariza, both because of his preseason play and because the Wizards need more offense with Wall and Nene sidelined. Webster is a good shooter and an aggressive offensive player, and while Ariza might be better defensively, the Wizards need offense.
PF: Trevor Booker. A no-brainer after his first two preseason games.
Kevin Seraphin: Given his injury, it's probably better to start him slow than to rush him in as a starter.
Trevor Ariza: He still belongs in the rotation despite his struggles, and I expect him and Webster to split time at small forward pretty evenly.
Shelvin Mack: Showed more than Pargo, so he should be the backup point guard.
DEEP BENCH PLAYERS
Jan Vesely: He had his moments, but simply wasn't consistent enough to earn a spot in the rotation. How can a coach rely on him when he's fouling constantly and struggles with his confidence?
Cartier Martin: I don't think he ever really got a completely fair shot, but the wing is crowded.
Jannero Pargo: Worth keeping around until Wall comes back, but probably not for much longer.
Brian Cook: Worth keeping around in the short term if Nene can't come back healthy.
What do you think the rotation should look like?