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The Wizards' most effective lineup this season isn't the one you would expect

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Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Lineup data is always tricky because the sample sizes are small and it can be hard to determine if a lineup's effectiveness is due to its novelty, or if it could be effective in bigger role. The data is best used to make suggestions rather than draw conclusions.

With all that said, the Wizards have one lineup that's worked exceptionally well this season and deserves a chance to see if they can be more effective with more playing time in the second half of the season, based on these lineup numbers from NBA.com:

On the season, any lineup with Wall, Beal, Dudley and Gortat has a Net Rating of +7.9. In fact, if you swap out Garrett Temple and put in Ramon Sessions, that lineup is a +26.4 in 40 minutes of action.

It can be tempting to look at the data and conclude there's something wrong with Otto Porter, since Temple and Sessions have played better alongside the other four starters than Porter, but I think that's a misread. Instead, what the data might really be suggesting here is Otto Porter needs to spend more of his time as 4 moving forward.

Part of the reason why Porter and Paul Pierce worked so well together last season was because Pierce could handle some ballhandling duties, which left Porter free to do more work off-the-ball. For as much as Dudley does to help the Wizards, he doesn't bring that to the table. When you have Porter, Dudley and Gortat on the floor together, it puts all the pressure on Wall and Beal to make something happen for the offense and it gives them less versatility to guard smaller lineups.

Washington shouldn't be in any rush to stop using the Wall, Beal, Porter, Dudley, Gortat lineup because they've been very effective together over a larger sample size. That said, it would hurt to dabble with more lineups that feature an extra ballhandler, because we've seen enough during the first half of the season to experiment with it more down the stretch.