The Washington Wizards have struggled to find many lineup combinations that work too well this season. Coach Wes Unseld Jr. hasn't found his ideal rotation so far through 17 games, resulting in the Wizards having the worst defense in the league by a mile. However, there is one very intriguing 5-man lineup that has had success in limited minutes. It's time Washington deployed it more.
The lineup of Landry Shamet-Bilal Coulibaly-Corey Kispert-Deni Avdija-Danilo Gallinari has been the fourth-most used lineup for the Wizards this season. Yet, they still only played 49 possessions together, according to Cleaning the Glass data. In those minutes, however, the Washington Wizards outscored their opponents by 55.1 points per 100 possessions. That is the best net rating out of any 5-man combination on the team that played significant minutes together.
The sample size here is obviously small. To get healthy data for any lineup, one needs at least a few hundred possessions together. The stats when this group is on the court together, are nevertheless eye-popping, with an offensive rating of 130.6, and a defensive rating of 75.5.
This combination of five players is exciting for a variety of reasons. First, it includes the three most important young Wizards on it in Coulibaly, Kispert, and Avdija. Second, playing without Tyus Jones, Kyle Kuzma, or Jordan Poole gives Coulibaly an opportunity to run pick-and-roll and increase his usage rate. Third, it has enough spacing thanks to Gallinari, Shamet, and Kispert that Coulibaly and Avdija can explore their offensive capabilities. Since the Wizards can't stop opponents anyway, this at least gives them a chance to outscore them with a young, dynamic, and sharpshooting group.
It is of course difficult to play this lineup for extended minutes. The veterans in the starting lineup have to play significant minutes, especially with the way Kuzma has been playing. Jones and Poole are established, high-profile players who need to be near the top of the team hierarchy. Plus, the Wizards' issues haven't been the starting five anyway. It's been every other lineup.
That is why this Shamet-Coulibaly-Kispert-Avdija-Gallinari group needs more of a chance. If this five can handle heavy loads as the main bench unit, the Washington Wizards can have a shot of keeping games more competitive. And that is the most that we can ask from this team this season.