Why the Wizards need to make Corey Kispert a starter as soon as possible

Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Lakers
Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Lakers / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

On Thursday, the Washington Wizards went toe-to-toe with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in search of their first win since January 29th. The game featured a flurry of scoring from the Wizards' bench, including 20 points from 24-year-old forward Corey Kispert. The game in L.A. marked Kispert's fourth 20-point output in his last five games, a torrid streak that included just his second start of the season in Tuesday's matchup with the Golden State Warriors.

During his start on Tuesday, Kispert logged just over 33 minutes, serving as Washington's starting small forward in the absence of Deni Avdija. His scoring production remained consistent throughout the game, scoring twice in each quarter. In the fourth, Kispert knocked down a pair of three-point attempts, ending the night with a team-best 4-of-9 shooting line from beyond the arc.

Wizards' Corey Kispert deserves a spot in the starting rotation

Over his past five games, Corey Kispert is averaging 18.4 points per game with an impressive 44.7 three-point percentage, knocking down 17 of his 38 attempts from three-point range. Among Wizards players, only Tyus Jones has matched those figures over any five-game span this season.

League-wide, Kispert is among an elite group of volume three-point shooters in overall offensive efficiency. The Wizards' forward is one of just seven players in the NBA shooting 48.2 percent or better from the field while attempting at least 5.7 three-pointers per game this season.

Alongside his offensive output being plenty of reason for the Wizards' former first-round pick to see an increase in playing time, Kispert's size aids his defensive versatility. The lateral quickness he exhibits, coupled with his 6'7" 220lb frame, allows him to guard larger forwards without being a liability when switched onto a guard.

Although his season-long defensive metrics show struggles, Kispert displayed some of his defensive potential right away in his start against Golden State, rejecting a Moses Moody three-point attempt and a Jonathan Kuminga layup within the game's first three minutes.

With rookie Bilal Coulibaly sidelined due to a pelvic contusion, the Wizards have an opportunity to further develop Kispert with a trial run in the starting lineup. Currently starting in place of Coulibaly is 26-year-old Landry Shamet, whose contract for next season is non-guaranteed.

Washington will return to action on Friday night in the second half of back-to-back games against the Los Angeles Clippers.

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