Mike Scott has been the Wizards’ most pleasant surprise all season long and he’s taken that to a new level so far in the playoffs. He has 34 points in 54 minutes off the bench while shooting 14-of-20 from the field. More importantly, in a series where the Wizards have been outscored by 18 points through the first two games, Washington is +19 with him on the floor.
It would be one thing if Scott was just feasting on the Raptors’ reserves, but he’s had to play a lot against the Raptors’ key players because of Marcin Gortat’s struggles so far in the series. Gortat posted the worst defensive rating on the team in both games, and his defensive limitations were put on full display early in Game 2 as Toronto jumped out to a big lead.
He wasn’t any better on the offensive end. After a solid Game 1 performance, he finished 0-of-4 from the field and only played 12:05 in Game 2, the least he’s ever played in a playoff game as a Wizard.
It’s only natural to wonder if the Wizards need to make a change in the starting lineup. Based on Scott Brooks’ comments after the Wizards’ loss on Tuesday, it sounds like he’s already thinking about it. Here’s an exchange from his postgame press conference when he was asked about Scott’s performance:
“Scott, do you think you found something you can sustain for the rest of the series with Mike Scott coming in at the backup five?”
“Yeah, who knows, he might be a starting five.”
We’ll see how Brooks feels after more contemplation and film examination, but there’s no question the Wizards need to make some adjustments to get back in the series. Getting Scott more playing time is the first place to start. He won’t shoot 70 percent all series, but his off-ball movement and smart passing is very valuable against the Raptors, whereas Gortat’s value is diminished because it allows the Raptors to keep their effective, traditional big men out of the floor more often.
Gortat is far from the team’s only issue right now, and replacing him with Scott, who has struggled alongside Markieff Morris most of the season, creates other issues Washington will need to examine. At this point, however, putting Scott in the starting lineup is probably their best shot at tipping the scales back in their favor as the series heads to Washington.