The Washington Wizards making the conference semifinals last season should have been a stepping stone to greater things in 2015-2016, but so far, it’s been a lot more difficult than expected, with offensive changes hard to adjust to for some of the players.
The Wizards have lost their last three games, falling to 6-8, now last in their division. In these three losses they haven’t been able to score over 87 points, and are ranked 25th in the NBA when it comes to offensive efficiency, scoring only 98.1 points per 100 possessions, and losing by 5.2 points every 100 possessions. They also happen to be one of the worst rebounding teams in the league (48.2% rebounding rate), which hasn’t made things any easier.
Randy Wittman is trying to make things different. With Nene coming off the bench, having Kris Humphries next to Marcin Gortat has been something to adjust to. Now, he’s going with Jared Dudley as the ‘4’, making it a lineup similar to what the Orlando Magic ran for so many years around Dwight Howard, with four players on the perimeter and just one in the paint. Gortat, a former Magic player, isn’t exactly comfortable with the change.
It’s tough also because in the system we play — four outside, one inside — I’m by myself in there fighting for rebounds, and usually we got two, three guys inside the paint. So it’s a little bit different without Nene Hilario being at the four. Jared Dudley is a different player. He’s giving a lot to the team, and I love to play with him, but just as Jared is giving us offensively great opportunities, we are suffering on the rebounds a little bit.
Other issues have been John Wall shooting just 39% from the field and Otto Porter Jr. not living up to his promise, struggling to fill the shoes left by Paul Pierce, scoring just 12 points in over 31 minutes a night. The Wizards have talent and experience to be a bigger force than they are right now in the East, but without getting the offense more stable, it’s going to continue being a very rocky and frustrating season.