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Ian Mahinmi inexplicably falls out of Wizards’ rotation

The Wizards center is more or less their best option to win games. Why bench him now, even if his long term future in D.C. is practically non-existent?

Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards
Ian Mahinmi hasn’t played for the Washington Wizards since Feb. 28.
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Washington Wizards center Ian Mahinmi has been criticized heavily by fans because of his four-year, $64 million contract. I get it, the guy is foul prone. He was injured much of his first season with the Wizards. But Le Roi de Normandie shows up to work every day, and he’s even taken a page out of Emma Meesseman’s book. I can’t fault any of these things.

Though Mahinmi may have had his moments this season, the Wizards have effectively shut him down in the short term, likely because they aren’t in playoff contention. And as Benjamin Mehic mentioned earlier this season, they wouldn’t have played Mahinmi unless they really, REALLY had to.

Because of player injuries, they did.

According to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks notified Mahinmi that he was taking him out of the rotation recently.

I’m not sure why the Wizards would do this ... now. Mahinmi was the Wizards’ starter for 35 of the 38 games he played. Washington still has a shot to make the playoffs, even though I called it off earlier this week. Sure, Thomas Bryant may be seen as the longer term solution now, but it’s not like he has convinced us that he is worth keeping beyond the season himself.

Ultimately, these things are exactly why I wrote my column yesterday about the center rotation. Everyone, even Mahinmi himself and his mother knows that Le Roi de Normandie is NOT a long term solution for D.C. in the low post. None of the other options, whether it’s Bryant, Moritz Wagner or Anzejs Pasecniks made a convincing case themselves.

Most coaches will keep going for the playoffs until otherwise, so I’m wondering myself whether Scott Brooks received a directive from General Manager Tommy Sheppard to limit or totally siphon off Mahinmi’s minutes.