Every week Wizards Extreme will feature 5 burning questions and their answers pertaining directly to the Washington Wizards and the current state they are in. This week's segment addresses the recent changes in the rotation made by coach Wittman and how it will effect certain players, as well as Andray Blatche’s return and the impact he will have.
Today’s feature includes responses from the Wizards Extreme’s team –Chuck Lamar, Saam Bozorgmehr, Trevor Jackson, Abdullah Sharif, and Asad Naqvi.
1. Coach Randy Wittman has recently made a lineup change, benching both JaVale McGee and Nick Young. How do you feel about the change?
TREVOR: I can’t do anything but like the move. When players are not playing up to their ability or playing within a team concept, there should be repercussions. Wittman has these guys in practice everyday, and knows who actually deserves to play. The sense of entitlement around the club is ridiculous, and I for one am glad to see someone finally make the players accountable. The fact that McGee doesn’t understand why the move was made should be enough said. If the team is going to continue to lose, at least they can lose playing the guys who hustle and seem to care when they are on the floor.
ABBY: While the absence of JaVale and Nick hurts the Wizards offensively, there are plenty of negative intangibles that warrant this move. Since taking over, Wittman has been committed to involving players who show effort, hustle and consistency. The key word is “consistency” which is something that McGee and especially Young have sorely lacked as of late.
ASAD: I feel the change was necessary. Randy Wittman has been in the game and he is a no nonsense type of coach which makes me support that if the Wizards brought him back, I would be all for it. But that’s another story. Nick hasn’t been a superstar and he is very streaky. JaVale has his ‘blonde’ moments on the court more than his own dunk moments. His basketball IQ is in question and he either needs more time or needs to be traded. I know it hurts to say that since his potential could hit the sky. Wittman benching both Young and McGee was louder than words. Wittman basically was stating that if you aren’t getting the job done, then the next person in line will step up no matter who it is. That’s what I love about Randy’s attitude; he just does not care about your status. It’s either you can play or you can’t.
CHUCK: I'm a little dismayed that it has come to this but something had to give. In the beginning of the season we had such high hopes for these two guys and despite flashes of brilliance, their lack of effort hustle and decision making, left Coach Wittman no other option. With a team thatis as young as the Wiz Kids, hard work has o be rewarded and selfish play has to be punished.
SAAM: I love everything Randy Wittman has done so far. You can see that the team is playing harder and guys are holding themselves more accountable. I really respect his approach to the job. So long as he's the coach, he's going to do things his way and I love that mentality. If he thinks benching Young and McGee is the best approach to getting production out of your team, then I say do it. It can't get much worse.
2. Do you think the shakeup will result in more wins?
TREVOR: Unfortunately, I don’t see any type of large increase coming in the win department this season. I think no matter what the rotations are, wins are going to be hard to come by. And to be honest, the way this season is going, I don’t want to see a big jump in the wins column. I am always against tanking, and think teams should always try and compete, or face losing their team. But this team is just about lost anyway. All I can hope is that some of the young guys continue to develop, and that we get the best pick possible in the draft and get an immediate impact player.
ABBY: While the shakeup hasn’t initially translated into wins, the increase in energy and hustle is clearly apparent, and it began in the second half against Milwaukee on Tuesday and for most of the Orlando game. Wittman’s philosophy is to place the best 5 guys on the floor in terms of effort and hustle, regardless of who it is.
ASAD: Will it result in more wins? Possibly but will it make a drastic change in wins? No, definitely not. This is just a minor change and you will see many more to come as the season progresses and comes to an end. This is now a trial period for all the players excluding John Wall. If you noticed during time outs or break times during games, Randy gets the team together and gets them to break a huddle with a cheer of some sort (like 1, 2, 3 DEFENSE) Before, Flip never dared to do that. The little things count.
CHUCK: I'm not sure if this will translate into more wins, but this season shouldn't be about wins it should be about changing the culture and attitude of the team.
SAAM: I don't know if it will result in more wins per say because this team still lacks overall depth and talent, but It could inspire some other players to step up and "carry the load." I don't think it will lead to more wins than they would've ended up without the benching.
3. How do you think this affects McGee and Young moving forward?
TREVOR: It is hard to tell with both players, as both Young and McGee have shown to be inconsistent even when given starters minutes. If I had to guess, I would say McGee has a better chance to bounce back and stay in the regular rotation. The team is going to need McGee more than they will need Young. Nick is not a mentally tough player, so I feel like this demotion is going to impact his game more. Even with regular minutes, he has not been contributing to the team other than purely as a scorer. Playing as a scorer off the bench may suit his game.
ABBY: Both McGee and Young seemed flat and uninterested during pre-game warm ups against Orlando. McGee stated in his post game interview that he hasn’t figured out the message Wittman is relaying to him, which essentially tells me that he feels there is nothing wrong with his game. Big problem. There are only a select few players that aren’t in danger of being traded. The Cinnamon Duo are not on that list.
ASAD: I think this is huge as McGee will either realize that his starting job is not permanent and that his career in DC may come to an end as the Wizards could trade him. With Nick Young, this may be his last year as a Washington Wizard. He brought offense to this team and that’s it. Defensively he had his moments (mainly his defense against Kevin Durant) but it’s inconsistent. Like I have said before, action speaks louder than words. Do not be surprised if McGee is dangled along with Andray Blatche with the trade deadline looming.
CHUCK: In an ideal world this would motivate them to work harder and play smarter but alas this isn't an ideal world. Both of these guys are known to be immature and petulant. I hope not but i think they will just brood and leave the Wizards the first chance they get.
SAAM: It certainly hurts their trade value if Ernie was planning on making moves at the deadline, but I don't think anyone expected Nick Young to be back next season and the jury was out on JaVale since the beginning of the season. I don't think it affects them being able to play elsewhere though. Nick can definitely score and JaVale's athleticism is quite rare. I'm sure some other teams in the league can get something out of them but it seems pretty evident that they don't care to play team basketball. I think the fan patience has grown thin with both of these players and I don't see them staying.
4. What player will benefit the most from this move?
TREVOR: This is a toss up between Jordan Crawford and Trevor Booker. Overall, I am going to say Trevor Booker. Crawford has been playing much better lately, and the hope is he can keep playing well in the starting spot. Booker has been taking every advantage of his opportunities. He has played very well filling in for Blatche, and with the latest coaching move he has been playing at the center spot in certain small ball rotations. Against the Bucks he played very well at the center spot, and even forced Scott Skiles to make adjustments to match up with the Wizards unit. Think about that, another team actually having to adjust to match up with the Wizards! Booker also played very tough against Dwight Howard on Wednesday when the opportunity presented itself. It just shows how valuable a young player he is, and his toughness should help him stay in the rotation from here on out.
ABBY: The situation that Wittman has created here is that anyone on the roster not named John Wall is subject to the doghouse. This couldn’t be any clearer after two of the Wizards’ “stars” were taken out. Obviously with McGee’s minutes being surrendered, that paves the way for Kevin Seraphin, although last night it was Trevor Booker relished his opportunity against Orlando as Wittman gave him solid minutes at the 5 position and defended Dwight Howard fairly well.
ASAD: The player that will benefit the most will be actually be more than one; Jordan Crawford, Trevor Booker and Chris Singleton. They all will get increased playing time along with opportunities to start. Jordan has the hot hand as of late with his shooting and he has better defense than Nick at this point. Trevor Booker has been a great pick for this team as someone once stated saying, “If we (Washington) had 5 Trevor Bookers out there, we would be great.” Trevor Booker has been doing well for himself as he has averaged 10 points per game and 9 rebounds the past 10 games. Singleton had a career high 16 points and 9 rebounds against the Milwaukee Bucks. Hopefully we can see more of that Chris Singleton.
CHUCK: The player that benefits the most from this is Trevor Booker. He becomes THE big man in town and for the most part plays thee right way, which will keep him on the floor in Coach Wittman's system.
SAAM: As much as it hurts me to say it, I think Kevin Seraphin benefits the most. Less McGee on an already extra small line-up means you'll see more of Seraphin out on the court.
5. According to reports, Andray Blatche is nearing a return to the court and may be targeting Saturday, March 3rd as the date. What impact will his return have on the roster?
TREVOR: I am willing to bet that most Wizards fans hope Blatche is only on this roster for the remaining 6 games prior to the March 15th trade deadline. Even though it has not shown up in the win column, it does appear that this team is forming some chemistry with the young players. I would hate to see Blatche’s return ruin any of that development. Let’s just say Dray remains on the roster for the rest of the season: I would like to see him in a back up role. He could back up Booker at the PF spot, and McGee at the C spot. If he comes back in shape and shows a willingness to play team ball, I wouldn’t mind seeing him get a few starts at C if Wittman wants to go with a smaller lineup. Again, all of this is based on whether he will even be on the team after 2 weeks.
ABBY: N/A. Sorry but I really don't want to entertain a single thought anymore about this guy on the team.
ASAD: Blatche may be out of shape. But I will say two weeks ago, I sat and talked to Andray Blatche (more personal than basketball related topics) and he looked refreshing. Believe it or not, he looked like he lost weight. He looked a little bit slimmer. We can only hope he is in shape and motivated more than ever. He is on the trading block as reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post, so his stocks could rise once he is healthy. His return will be before the trading deadline so this could be a show case of his talents and show other teams around the league that he is in fact, 100% healthy.
CHUCK: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. That pretty much sums up my feelings on 7-day 'Dray. Someone should issue a stay away order. He is poisonous to thhese young guys and if he's not traded by the deaadline then he needs to be amnestied right away.
SAAM: Well as much as the fans don't like Andray Blatche, he's one of the more prominent scorers on the team. Yes, I just said "scorer" and "Andray Blatche" in the same sentence. Now that Nick Young and Javale McGee won't be getting as much playing time, maybe this means Andray Blatche can be effective coming off the bench like he had been before he went down.