The Wizards have had the least productive bench in the NBA thus far, and it certainly doesn’t help that the starters have been hit with injuries throughout the course of the season. Thankfully for Randy Wittman and Co. , the Wizards are finally starting to get healthy and the bench has surprisingly picked up their production as of late.
Eric Maynor, who’s probably been the worst backup guard in the league this season, has fallen out of Wittman’s rotation and has ultimately been replaced by Garrett Temple. Although Temple hasn’t been amazing statistically, he’s been good enough to warrant benching Maynor, who the Wizards signed to a 2-year deal this offseason in hopes of having him take over A.J. Price’s spot as the primary backup guard.
Now that Bradley Beal is back in the starting lineup, Martell Webster has been playing in the backcourt along side Temple off the bench. Washington’s bench was atrocious offensively, so it definitely helps that Webster is back playing the reserve role. Webster scored 30 points off the bench on Monday and became the first Wizard to do so since Jordan Crawford a few seasons ago. He’s probably the best 3-point shooter on the team and having a threat like that off the bench has given Wittman some options in terms of rotations. Although he’s been coming off the bench, Wittman has ended games with Webster in the lineup and it’s definitely worked as of late.
Not only are the Wizards getting some valuable production from their reserve guards, Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin have also stepped up. Booker has started the last few games since Nene’s been out with a sore achilles, and he hasn’t disappointed. Booker is averaging over 12 points and 10 rebounds in the past five games, and needless to say, we haven’t seen him play this well since his rookie season. Nene came off the bench on Wednesday in his return, but I don’t see that happening consistently. Booker will likely continue to get 20+ minutes per game, especially since Nene is still recovering from a variety of injuries. Having a solid rebounding big man coming off the bench is something the Wizards haven’t had in a while, so it’s definitely good to see Booker emerging.
Washington’s other front court players, Jan Vesely and Kevin Seraphin, have also surprisingly played some solid basketball when given the opportunity. Much like Booker, Vesely succeeds in many small areas which often times go unnoticed. Vesely has done a tremendous job running the floor in transition, but he’s also mixed it up with his rebounding and occasional defensive plays. Kevin Seraphin has gotten criticized for constantly making the same mistakes over and over again, but when he plays within himself, he’s showed that he could be a solid scoring big off the bench. Seraphin has had two double-digit scoring games in the past 3 games and he’s gotten to the free throw line more this past week than he has this entire season prior to that stretch.
If the Wizards could get Otto Porter comfortable, and I think they eventually will, their bench will continue to increase their production as time goes on. Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker, Jan Vesely, and even Garrett Temple have increased their play lately and it’s resulted in a 2-game win streak for Washington. The Wizards have relied on their starters too heavily this season and it looks like their reserves are finally starting to pick it up.