DC Sports Day

Wizards’ Depth Will Carry Them Far

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The Washington Wizards have one of the deepest rosters in the NBA, and that is why they are primed for another playoff run.

They are very strong in the front court, and are able to start Marcin Gortat at center and Kris Humphries and Otto Porter, Jr. at the forwards, and have Nene come off the bench.

Having Nene anchor the second unit gives the Wizards a major advantage, as they were already strong with Gary Neal, Jared Dudley, Ramon Sessions, and Gary Temple. They also have Drew Gooden and DeJuan Blair, who are not in the rotation as often yet.

They showed the value of their bench on Saturday night as they got a nice win in Detroit against a solid Pistons team. That night, the entire starting lineup was negative in the plus/minus numbers, meaning Detroit was getting the better of them. The Wizards’ bench was all positive, with Nene racking up a +24 and Temple a +23.

Nene was the focal point on both ends of the floor, and was a big reason they held Andre Drummond to just eight points and 13 rebounds, the first time he did not reach a double-double this season.

Nene put up nice numbers in his 22 minutes, as he had 18 points on a superb 9-for-10 from the field, and seven rebounds.

Wizards Head Coach Randy Whitman said after the game, “I thought our bench saved the day twice. In an 82-game season, that’s what it takes. Our bench won’t always play like that, and the starters will save the day, but tonight, it was the bench.”

The Wizards also deserve a lot of credit for the emergence of Kris Humphries, as they have turned him into a reliable power forward that they can count on in any role.

Humphries was in the starting lineup a lot last season, his first with Washington, and is averaging 8.2 points and 4.9 rebounds a game. There are also nights he can break out, such as when he had 23 points against Orlando on November 14.

The Wizards are in one of the toughest divisions, in basketball, the Southeast. It will be quite a battle for the division title between Washington, Atlanta and Miami, who play similar up-tempo styles on offense and lock-down defense.

Atlanta and Miami also have incredible depth. Atlanta can turn to Mike Scott, Tiago Splitter, and Jeff Teague, while Miami can call on Josh McRoberts, Justise Winslow Gerald Green, and Udonis Haslem.

All NBA teams have decent starting lineups,but what separates them is their benches.