Washington’s bench has been awful all season long thus far, forcing Randy Wittman to play his starters more than anyone likely anticipated. The drop off between the starters and reserves has been dreadful, leaving Wittman with no other choice than to play John Wall, Bradley Beal, and even Nene more minutes than ever in the past few seasons. Beal, who’s sidelined for at least a few weeks with a stress injury in his fibula, has lead the NBA in minutes per game while John Wall is sixth and could very well climb if his minutes don’t decline in the next few games.
Although Wittman isn’t too pleased about having to play his starters for an extended amount of time, he realizes that he has to do so in order to win games:
The bottom line is, that we put ourselves in the position to win, and I’m not going to lose a game. I’m trying to do the best I can from the standpoint of getting smarter with a sub before a timeout, and let them get the timeout. … Some of these guys are reaching into 40-plus, which I don’t like to do, but you know what, if we have to go out and win a game, we’re going to go out and win a game.
Thankfully for Wittman and the Wizards, more and more players that were injured at the beginning of the season are starting to get healthy, so they should get a boost sooner than later. Otto Porter, who was drafted third overall by the Wizards out of Georgetown, should be making his debut with the team early this month. Porter has already practiced with the team after sitting out for months with an injured hip and was seen shooting around during pre-game warmups, which is more than he’s done since playing in Summer League.
If all goes well, Bradley Beal should be making his return with the team around the same time as Otto Porter. Although nothing is set in stone, Beal seems pretty optimistic about being ready in two-weeks since the medical staff discovered the stress injury at it’s very beginning stages.
Washington is also anticipating a return from Al Harrington, who’s sat out 10 games with a sore knee. Wittman will inevitably rest Harrington some games, but I don’t think anyone thought he’d miss this much time since he’s last played. Chris Singleton has helped fill Harrington’s role these past few games, but I think his return will mean much more to the team than given credit for. Nene wasn’t too pleased about having to play 35+ minutes last night with a sore achilles, so having Harrington return this week should give the Wizards some relief.
Randy Wittman’s bench problems won’t be completely solved with the returning bodies, but it should help. Eric Maynor has been awful, to say the least, this season so the backup point guard spot will always remain an issue. Having Otto Porter, Al Harrington, and most importantly Bradley Beal back in the lineup should help the Wizards reserves. How much? Only time will tell.