Washington Wizards: Sam Dekker, Troy Brown Jr. should be playing more

Washington Wizards Sam Dekker (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Sam Dekker (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Since the trade deadline, the Washington Wizards have been giving Wesley Johnson minutes over some of their younger players.

The Washington Wizards have undergone considerable turnover since the season started, so it makes sense that the rotation would have changed with the new acquisitions. What doesn’t make sense is how Scott Brooks and his staff are making those decisions lately.

Most notably, Wesley Johnson has effectively knocked Sam Dekker out of the rotation since being acquired from the New Orleans Pelicans, and is also preventing rookie Troy Brown Jr. from getting some minutes as well.

Acquired at the deadline for Markieff Morris, the trade for Johnson was widely considered to be a move to get the Wizards under the luxury, and not so much about Johnson himself, who wasn’t seeing much playing time in New Orleans.

Yet, Brooks has been playing Johnson about 18 minutes per game in his six games with the team. By contrast, Dekker has played only one total minute in those games, and Brown Jr. just four minutes.

It’s not as if Johnson is putting up productive numbers when he’s on the floor either. He’s averaging four points per game on 33 percent shooting (25 percent on three-pointers). The best case for Johnson is he technically has the highest Defensive Rating on the team since the deadline, but not by much and the team’s defensive struggles don’t leave the impression it’s making much of a difference.

Neither Dekker nor Brown Jr. are consistent players, but they at least have variability that Johnson lacks.

Between when he was acquired by the Wizards from the Cleveland Cavaliers on December 7 and the deadline, Dekker was averaging 6.8 points per game on 51 percent shooting. Because of his energy and athleticism, Dekker was able to have a meaningful impact in several games, including eight game of 10 or more points.

Dekker will be a restricted free agent this offseason and, while the Wizards will have the opportunity to match another team’s offer, it’s important they fairly assess his fit in Washington. He can be a worthwhile role player, but it’s hard to know when he’s completely out of the lineup.

As for Brown Jr., while his numbers leave a lot to be desired (2.2 points in 7 minutes per game), as a raw talent, the Wizards should be giving him reps to see what they have in the young prospect, especially ahead of next season. Johnson isn’t part of the team’s future while Brown Jr. should be.

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With the Wizards seemingly out of the playoff picture now that they are four games out of the No. 8 seed, it’s time to look ahead and not prioritize a veteran like Johnson’s minutes over younger players like Dekker and Brown Jr.