On most nights, putting newly added Shelvin Mack into the starting lineup for the first time in his career would be the pregame headline.
That's just not the case when the change occurs because Jordan Crawford violated a team rule. After starting the previous eight games, Washington's leading scorer will come off the bench against Cleveland.
Wizards coach Randy Wittman announced the violation during his pregame press conference, but offered no further explanation. Comcast SportsNet's Chris Miller reported the third-year guard was late for a shootaround. Crawford averages 15.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists.
On some level, especially when looking at the big picture, this move was inevitable. Injuries have pushed Crawford into the lead guard role, though his wiring is certainly more scorer than distributor. While the current Wizards rely on Crawford's point-producing knack, the volume shooting guard's ideal role is that of high-confidence bench scorer.
“We talked about [Crawford coming off the bench] from training camp,” Wittman said. “I do think that’s a strong point of his because of his aggressive nature. In the real scheme of things, that’s how you’d like to use him. But we’ve got a lot injuries, and we’ve had to use him in a lot of different ways. Obviously, we still have guys out, and we’ll still continue to look at different ways.”
With the Wizards suspect offense lagging, the retooling team called up Mack and fellow guard Garrett Temple from the D-League over the weekend.
"It’s always about building something," Wittman said about the symbolism behind the moves following Tuesday's practice. "We’ve got to build something, a momentum, create a momentum, and I told them, the only chance we have of that is staying together and continuing to work hard. We’re going to continue to do some things, we’re doing things differently, we’ve got to continue to try to develop these guys, I’ve got to continue to try to instill them with confidence.
"I think that’s a main ingredient in anything we do positive, is you’ve got to have confidence in doing it. We’ve got to keep plugging and work to build ourselves a momentum. What is that? Obviously, it’s winning some games, but how many, where we’re at, how many in a row, let’s just get some momentum going and see where it can take us, see where it takes you and see what you can build on from that. There’s no magic number or goal, it’s too fight ourselves out of this hole and how far can we fight ourselves up and out of it. Are we going to continue to fight and stay together and be in this thing together? It’s the only way you can do it. If we’re not then it’s going to be a lot of the same."