clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Raptors Vs. Wizards: Flip Saunders, Others Discuss Lineup Change

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Hello, Wizards fan. You're probably here to learn more about the new starting lineup Flip Saunders rolled out in the Wizards' first win of the season over the Toronto Raptors. As it turned out, this was a major topic during the post-game media session. Shocking, I know.

In the post-game press conference, Saunders revealed that he actually planned to make the change on Monday. He talked to Andray Blatche to reveal his plans, so this was not an injury-related thing. Blatche and Rashard Lewis actually ended up playing with the second unit in practice. In addition to that, Blatche also did injure his shoulder in practice, and the team wasn't sure either he or Lewis (ongoing knee pain per Saunders) would be able to play. Both ended up playing.

"I told [Andray] we needed some offensive punch, some stability from the bench," Saunders said.

For now, Blatche and Lewis seem on board.

"Even if it costs the job of me coming off the bench, if this is how it is all season long, as long as we playing like that I don't have no problem doing that role. It's all winning and making steps," Blatche said. ... "In that situation we won, and I like it that way, you know? As long as we got a win column on the list off a situation like that, why change it?"

(UPDATE: As DavidDunn noted, Blatche also said this: "It's fine to me, as long as we winning. If we're not winning, then that's when everything change.").

"Hey, if we can win ballgames every night, and me coming off the bench, Dray coming off the bench, let's do it," Lewis told SB Nation D.C.'s Michael Katz. "I'm all about winning. My whole motto my whole career is I do whatever it takes to win ballgames, and if we're going to win ballgames with us coming off the bench, then I'd rather win than be a starter."

Saunders essentially came to the conclusion that his units weren't balanced. His starters couldn't score, and the bench players were young and not scorers themselves. That's why he decided to change things up.

"To become a good team in this league, usually you become a bit better when you go to your bench," Saunders said. "Jason Terry's a starter. The good teams have somebody like that in there that's better than many of the guys they have on the floor, usually. So I thought tonight, I thought Book and Singleton played really well together, and defensively, we really got after it."

One Wizards holdover starter felt the move made a huge difference.

"We might have [a solution]," Nick Young said. "The guys we brought in from the start, Book and Chris, they bring energy and aggressiveness with me and John out there. We're trying to even it out."

Another Wizards starter disagreed slightly.

"You can't really say it's all about that," Wall said when asked about the change. "It's just all about everybody's energy. I think we all sacrificed, moved the ball and didn't worry about who was scoring."

Nevertheless, the move at least coincided in a victory. So is Saunders going to go back to the well again?

"I can't tell you that," Saunders said when I asked. "I don't want to give my scouting report to Chicago. You got to have something to think about."

He paused for a second.

"But those groups will play together, because those groups played well together."

Basically, expect the new lineup to return on Wednesday.