Should Nene continue to come off the bench?
Stats can be manipulated to bolster many an argument. Some might argue that's the case here, but there is data that suggests the Wizards' current lineup is working quite well.
As a reminder, the Brazilian big man has come off the bench in five straight games since returning from his foot injury. His other 16 games have been as a starter, meaning he's missed seven of Washington's 28 games. The 14-14 Wizards look to break .500 on New Year's Day against the Dallas Mavericks. Now, the numbers:
Scoring: On the season, the Wizards rank 18th in the NBA with 99.6 points per game. Over the last five games, the scoring is up to 105.8, the ranking is 11th. For some content, the Rockets on the season are fourth in the league with 105.7 points per game.
Bench scoring: Not so long ago Washington's reserves averaged the fewest points in the league. Now, 29th out of 30 teams with 22.9 points, according to Hoopsstats.com. Over the last five games, the Wizards are generating 35.4 points, which ranks 11th among NBA teams in that span, one slot ahead of Dallas.
Field goal percentage: On the season, 15th at 45.0 percent. The last five games, seventh at a 47.2 clip.
Point differential: On the season Washington remains underwater and middle of the NBA pack, allowing 0.39 more points per game than its scoring. Over the last five games, plus 4.40, ranking eighth in the league.
Nene: The change in lineup certainly hasn't hurt his personal stats. Actually, he's been better on a per minute basis.
As a starter (16 games): 32.6 minutes, 51.4 FG%, 6.2 reb, 2.9 ast, 1.1 stls, 14.8 pts
As a reserve (5 games): 23.0 minutes, 53.8 FG%, 5.4 reb, 3.0 ast, 1.2 stls, 12.2 pts
Per 48 minutes as a starter: 21.7 pts, 9.1 reb, 4.2 ast
Per 48 minutes as a reserve: 25.5 pts, 11.3 reb, 6.3 ast
Sure, we're talking short sample size, but there a long list of reasons why coach Randy Wittman should keep the lineup as is. Recent uptick in production is just one of them. Winning four of five games is another.