LAST season the Washington Wizards’ bench was a hot topic of discussion. Their star backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal had them poised as one of the best teams in the East and they were within one game playing in the Conference Finals, yet the finger was pointed to their lack of depth as the reason they failed in the playoffs. In 2017-18 they once again seem to lack the key reserves ready to step in and help, but it might not be an issue.
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ONE of the reasons they may be able to survive without top reserves is due to the growth of their young guys. We all know what Wall and Beal can do if healthy and Gortat is a walking double-double, but Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter have helped them leap out to a fast start. Oubre has taken on the added responsibility with Markieff Morris injured averaging 12 points a game while starting five contests. Porter, who took a big jump last year has been even more impressive, with his continued ability to stroke the three-point shot a massive bonus.
WHILE they don’t have any sixth man of the year candidates, the players they have in their second unit are OK. Players like Bradon Jennings, Marcus Thorton and Bojan Bogdanovic from a season ago have been substituted with Tim Frazier, Mike Scott and Jodie Meeks, all of whom have been solid so far. So far this season the reserve units ranks 24th in bench scoring with 27.4 PPG a night, not much different from a year prior when they were 29th with 26.6 per outing.
THEY managed to score 45 bench points tonight against the Kings with Scott and Meeks scoring double digits. Part of the reason for their big output was because they played in a blowout W and piled the points up in garbage time, but they have already shown their talents in other games this season. In a close loss, to the Warriors both Scott and Meeks again scored at least 10 and snagged 10 rebounds between them. Speaking of the Warriors, they are another team that sacrificed some depth to keep the majority of their core together, a gamble that some think will backfire.
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WHEN it comes to playoff time every team shortens their rotation a few players with teams only relying upon seven or eight players. The extra players are only necessary to help them get through the regular season and play a big role should a starter suffer an injury. Baring any of the Wizards above mentioned key players suffering a big injury they seem to have the right mix of top-end talent and young guys taking leaps in their development. It might not be enough to derail LeBron and the Cavs for the East crown, but no-one is talking about their lack of depth as they are poised to have one of the best seasons in the clubs history.
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