There’s no question that the beginning of the Washington Wizards’ season was as grueling as any in the NBA. After dropping games to teams such as the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder right out of the gate, the Wizards bounced back by winning 6 of their last 8 games. The difficulty in their schedule has gotten considerably weaker, but they’ve still played two-sets of back-to-back games without much time to rest. After finally getting a break in their schedule this week, Randy Wittman decided to rest some of his starters during the second half of today’s practice to help them rest up before Friday nights game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Randy Wittman has gotten little to no production from his bench this season, so dedicating a practice for his reserves certainly couldn’t hurt. John Wall and Bradley Beal have constantly talked about getting a rhythm and confidence from practice, so I’m assuming Wittman is hoping a practice for the reserve players would do the same.
Otto Porter, who hasn’t played a game yet but practiced for the second time for the Wizards tonight, got lots of praise from his teammates after the practice. Gortat when out of his way to talk about Porter with the media after practice saying; “What I’ve seen from Otto [Porter], he’s definitely a talented kid. His shot looked really good. He’s making a lot of shots. Most of the time he’s with me shooting over there, and he’s looking really good. He could be the joker in the sleeve. He might be the guy who’s going to come in here and help us win some games, especially off the bench.”
Gortat even joked about Porter, saying laughingly “his calf is the size of my wrist. He’s got to put on some weight, I mean he might get destroyed out there. He’s so small” After making some jokes about Porter, Gortat talked about how well Porter played in practice. As a rookie, Porter will inevitably get teased by some of the veterans on the team but I found it very interesting the Gortat went out of his way to praise Porter.
Washington’s bench has been the league’s worst this season, so having Porter contribute as a reserve would definitely increase their chances of winning. Besides Porter, today’s practice was focused on the other key reserves which the Wizards need to provide some relief for the starters. Bradley Beal and John Wall are amongst the top-10 in minutes per game, with Beal leading the league, so having increased bench production is something Wittman and Co. are aiming for.