David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
Long, contested jumpshots are always on the menu in D.C. With a new rotation in the offing, it's worth asking who the designated transition defenders are going to be.
Yesterday, Mike wrote about the need for a set rotation with only two remaining preseason contests. Based on the evidence so far, I don't think anyone is prepared to argue with:
That said, given the dearth of shooting in this lineup (as in every lineup the Wizards likely field this season), it's worth asking who the primary transition defenders are going to be. As you've seen plenty of times over the past few seasons, no shooters = packed paint = long twos = long rebounds = transition triggered. Last year, we saw Chris Singleton in that role, often camping at the three-point line and not doing much else until he was tasked with being the first man back.
We'll probably see something much more fluid this season, with the primary transition defender changing based on the play, the platoon approach, if you will. Out of the projected starting five, only Trevor Booker and Bradley Beal have the speed to get back in transition, which should work out as those are probably the only two fans are comfortable with taking the kind of jumpshots that tend to trigger the opposing team's transition game. At the same time, not having Booker's (and to a lesser extent, Beal's) rebounding instincts on the offensive glass is a downside, especially when considering Booker's ability to wreak havoc with his kinetic style of play.
Outside of the starting five, Singleton and Trevor Ariza are obvious candidates for the role by simple virtue of their athleticism. Randy Wittman will certainly demand players get up and down the floor, but we probably won't see anything too similar to the Nick Young designated transition defender role. As we saw over and over again last season, an inconsistent three-point shot just won't demand the attention of defense, especially coupled with a lack of off-ball movement. As the offense won't be able to afford that sort of stagnation, that probably results in the platoon approach to transition defense, I'm imagining. Beal seems like a natural fit, for transition defense with his combination of speed and long-range shooting, though hopefully getting his shot blocked on the perimeter with no help behind him doesn't turn into an extremely unwelcome theme.
What are you expecting to see in transition defense this season?