Nobody really knew who would step up to fill Bradley Beal's shoes when he went down with his wrist injury in the preseason. We figured Glen Rice, Jr. would get the first crack at the starting shooting guard spot, but then he twisted his ankle. Otto Porter was also a name mentioned in the discussion. In the end, though, Garrett Temple was given the nod on opening night and he's made the most of his opportunity.
And then some.
Temple is playing the most minutes of his career so far this season and he's producing very solid numbers thanks to the perfect combination of his improved shooting, his tight defense, and the John Wall Effect; which typically gives shooters wide open opportunities on a consistent basis. Keep an eye on this, fantasy players.
When Wall went down with an injury during the 2012-2013 season, Temple played 22.7 minutes per game during that season, the most of his career, yet he only averaged 5.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game.
In five games so far this season as Wall's backcourt mate, Temple is playing 35 minutes per game, shooting 46.9 percent from the field, hitting nearly three three-pointers per game at a 51.9-percent clip and averaging a career-high 13.8 points per game. On top of that hot shooting, he's very active on the glass, grabbing 4.2 rebounds per game, and Temple's impressive defending has generated 1.6 steals per game for him, as well.
It's quite a difference playing next to Wall instead of for him or behind him in the rotation.
As long as Beal is out (most likely until the end of this month), Temple will continue to play tons of minutes next to Wall in the backcourt. He'll also continue to set himself up behind the three-point arc when the ball is in Wall's hands, now that he has the confidence to pull the trigger and connect consistently. Also, Temple is one of Randy Wittman's favorites, so even when Beal does return, expect to see Temple on the court often.
Any way you put it, Temple is going to be getting minutes on the court throughout this season and deservedly so. Now that he is producing much bigger numbers on the stat sheet each night, there will be no reason for Wittman to keep him out of his rotation. Nor should any fantasy owners looking for a cheap, productive option.