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Top Stories of the Week: Wizards begin making rotational changes to get back in playoff picture

The Wizards begin December with an adjusted lineup to turn around their season.

New Orleans Pelicans v Washington Wizards
Tomas Satoransky is now in the same starting lineup with John Wall and Bradley Beal. How will that go over the next few games.
Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

It has been a couple weeks since I wrote about the top stories of the week. In short, I went on vacation the week before Thanksgiving to recharge my batteries. But now, I’m back and it’s time to catch up on things.

I could go game by game on how the Wizards played. But instead, I’ll touch on some of the major themes that happened.

The Wizards are stabilizing, but still not eighth in the East

The Wizards started their October with a 1-6 record and were 2-9 at one point. However, November went a bit better for Washington as they went 7-8. Today, they are ninth in the Eastern Conference with a 9-14 record, two games behind the Orlando Magic.

The biggest thing that helped the Wizards’ gradual improvement has been their play at home. The Wizards played nine games at Capital One Arena in November where they went 6-3. After Saturday’s win against the Nets ,the Wizards are now 7-5 in their home games.

Unfortunately, road games are the Wizards’ Achilles’ heel. They are just 2-9 when they are away. Part of that is because they had an early season west coast road trip, but the bottom line is that Washington is one of the worst teams defensively. So until that changes, the Wizards are going to struggle to win most of their games.

It isn’t too late for the Wizards to make the playoffs with room to spare. After all, they are in a weak Eastern Conference and are ninth place. But it’s hard to see them seriously contend for more than a second round playoff appearance, even if we’re being very optimistic.

Trade talk begins to surround Bradley Beal and Otto Porter

The Wizards are still well below .500 at this point in the season. And because there is still plenty of residual bad news over a recent practice when Bradley Beal called out management, we are hearing more rumblings of what key players want to do or where they may go.

First, there are reports that Beal wants to leave the Wizards. His agent ultimately said that Beal didn’t request a trade and Beal himself said publicly that he doesn’t want to leave. So how do we reconcile this?

It’s certainly possible that Beal didn’t formally request a trade. But given that the Wizards are regressing, it isn’t unrealistic to see him think what life will be like once his current contract expires in 2021. So at this time, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Beal leave the Wizards as an unrestricted free agent even though we are still two years away from 2021.

Otto Porter, like Beal is on a maximum level contract. The Sacramento Kings are interested in trading for him. But the problem is that the Kings don’t have much to offer players whom the Wizards would want and whom they are willing to trade. The Kings were interested signing Porter to a maximum contract deal in 2017, and it is apparent that they believe he is worth the price. Osman Baig and Kevin Broom also wrote about several trade ideas involving Porter that could make sense.

The Wizards are probably not trading Beal or Porter in the next couple days. But things can change if the Wizards continue to perform mediocre at best in the next few weeks.

The Wizards are making tweaks to the starting lineup

Alan Jenkins wrote on Saturday about the Wizards’ recent starting lineup changes. Their first two changes involved moving Thomas Bryant to the lineup with Dwight Howard out due to a back injury. And Kelly Oubre was moved to the starting lineup while Markieff Morris went to the bench. Though Morris is now a bench player, his minutes haven’t declined. And in fact, he and the team are doing better. The Wizards even made some changes on Saturday in their game against the Nets with Tomas Satoransky starting in place of Oubre.

These changes are good to see because the status quo wasn’t working. Bryant’s ascendance into the starting lineup is also a risky move considering that Ian Mahinmi would appear to be the more conservative fit given his experience and his large contract. But in Bryant’s case, this is an opportunity for him to get consistent minutes and grow into a bigger role because Howard will be out for about two months to recover from surgery.

John Wall is having a baby!

Bradley Beal and Austin Rivers became first time dads this past summer. And now, Wall will join them in the near future. He doesn’t comment much on his private life and didn’t even mention this news until early last week. Wall has committed to seeing his child born so expect him to miss a game or two in the coming days.

And that’s all from me! Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekends!