Three thoughts about your Washington Wizards following Friday's 120-116 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers and ahead of Sunday's 5:00 p.m. tip against the Utah Jazz.
* "The minutes are there to be had"
That's what Coach Scott Brooks said at Saturday's practice with regards to Washington' suspect bench. The addition of Bojan Bogdanovic will help, especially now that he's had at least one practice with his new teammates, something he didn't have before Saturday's loss. But adding the 6-foot-8 forward will alter the rotation and minutes. That several reserves continue to struggle, namely Kelly Oubre Jr. and Trey Burke will as well.
Burke struggled simply bringing the ball up the court at times against the 76ers while Oubre labored with his shot. The inconsistent second-year forward is 4 for 20 from the field over his last five games. "Right now we need a better version of Kelly," Brooks said. "We're going to keep challenging him, keep pushing him. Hopefully he comes back better tomorrow night."
Ian Mahinmi appears likely to play Sunday barring a setback. The big man returned to practice after sitting out the second half against Philadelphia with a stiff back.
* The Locked On Wizards Minutes/Rotation Plan
Until the Wizards add another guard -- Mario Chalmers? Jose Calderon? -- the key for Brooks is to maximize the options on the roster. Specifically, put the bench pieces in the best possible situations while not compromising what's been working with the starters.
This was the primary focus of the latest Locked on Wizards podcast with comments from Brooks on future plans with Otto Porter and Bogdanovic. The basic flow chart version is below.
Starters: John Wall, Bradley Beal (guards); Otto Porter, Markieff Morris (forwards); Marcin Gortat (center)
6 min: Bojan Bogdanovic replaces Morris
4 min: Kelly Oubre Jr. replaces Porter; Trey Burke replaces Beal
Key: Maximize Burke' minutes, Part 1, by playing him off-ball with Wall.
Starters: Burke (guard); Porter, Bogdanovic (wings); Morris (forward), Mahinmi (center)
8 min: Beal replaces Burke; Satoransky replaces Porter
6 min: Wall replaces Bogdanovic, Smith replaces Morris
4 min: Gortat replaces Mahinmi; Morris replaces Smith; Porter replaces Satoransky
Key: Maximize Burke' minutes, Part 2, by playing him off-ball with two starters (Morris, Porter) and the two best bench options (Bogdanovic, Mahinmi ). Since Burke struggles running offense, give Porter more responsibility as ball handler -- he was used as a press break at times with Georgetown -- and facilitator. Get more bang for the buck with his upcoming contract extension by having him expand his game.
1H minutes: Wall (18), Beal (16), Gortat (16), Porter (16), Morris (16), Bogdanovic (12), Mahinmi (8), Burke (8), Oubre (4), Sato (4), Smith (2)
Starters: John Wall, Bradley Beal (guards); Otto Porter, Marfieff Morris (forwards); Marcin Gortat (center)
6 min: Bojan Bogdanovic replaces Morris
3 min: Kelly Oubre Jr. replaces Porter; Trey Burke replaces Beal
1 min: Mahinmi replaces Gortat
Key: Shave minutes off Oubre, Burke in the second half
Starters: Satoransky (guard); Porter, Bogdanovic (wings); Morris (forward), Mahinmi (center)
9 min: Beal replaces Satoransky; Oubre replaces Porter
6 min: Wall replaces Oubre, Porter replaces Morris
5 min: Gortat replaces Mahinmi
4 min: Morris replaces Bogdanovic
Key: Get all the required minutes from the starters while keeping them fresh for the finish with enough wiggle room for more if needed.
2H minutes: Wall (18), Beal (18), Gortat (16), Porter (18), Morris (16), Bogdanovic (14), Mahinmi (8), Oubre (6), Burke (3), Satoransky (3)
Total minutes: Wall (36), Beal (34), Gortat (32), Porter (34), Morris (32), Bogdanovic (26), Mahinmi (16), Burke (11), Oubre (10), Sato (7), Smith (2). DNP: Sheldon Mac, Daniel Ochefu, Chris McCullough, Danuel House.
- Injuries, foul trouble and game flow are among the factors that could alter this basic plan. This includes unique lineups like Morris as small-ball center or Satoransky playing with Wall and Beal.
- Burke and Satoransky minutes are somewhat interchangeable depending on whether the situation calls for a shooter or passer
- Oubre and Smith's minutes are somewhat interchangeable depending on whether the situation calls for size
* Stat of the day
The Wizards have not lost back-to-back games since that Jan. 2-3 Texas two-step against Houston and Dallas. They'll have to overcome Utah, owners of the NBA stingiest defense (95.7 ppg).
Reports have the Lakers looking to buyout the remainder of Calderon's contract. The 35-year-old has lost a step or two, but he still might be able to help this roster. It's worth noting Calderon shares the same agent -- Mark Bartelstein -- as Bradley Beal and Jason Smith. Two other Bartelstein clients were just traded to Brooklyn.
UPDATE: Scratch that idea, apparently.