Washington Wizards: What to expect with Joel Embiid out for game five

Washington Wizards Joel Embiid. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards Joel Embiid. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 3
Washington Wizards Daniel Gafford.
Washington Wizards Daniel Gafford. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

What to expect from the Washington Wizards with Joel Embiid out.

With Joel Embiid out, the Washington Wizards should consider cutting their center rotation down from three to two. Alex Len got his fewest minutes this series in game four and can get schemed out of the game when Embiid is unavailable. Len is a big body to throw at Embiid in an attempt to slow him down but doesn’t offer much else in this series. Lopez and Gafford can handle Dwight Howard without his help. When the 76ers go small, Len cannot keep up with a smaller, quicker lineup that operates closer to the perimeter than the paint.

Len would be able to punish the likes of Mike Scott down low, but twos are greater than threes, and the 76ers have already taught the WIzards that lesson enough times this series. Lopez could get taken advantage of against smaller lineups for similar reasons as Len. We saw that in game four when Lopez was out there for most of the 76ers’ fourth-quarter comeback. Against those lineups, Gafford is the most suitable option among the center trio. However, with his conditioning issues, keeping up with a smaller, quicker version of the 76ers might accelerate his exhaustion. There’s a chance we could see some super small lineups with Rui Hachimura acting as a center, too.

Gafford and Lopez each had their best games of the series in game four. It’s not surprising that they excelled with Embiid off the court, and both Lopez and Gafford recorded more minutes in game four than they did in any previous game this series. Simply put, the two got the job done in game four. Don’t overthink it.

dark. Next. The Wizards should keep hacking Ben Simmons