Clearly, the New Year hasn't gone according to plan for the Wizards, who fell to 2-5 in January following Saturday's wild home loss to the Houston Rockets. There are the broad scenarios to ponder, like what's with an 0-4 home record, but 2-1 on the road. There are also individual numbers to ponder. We started with Washington's backcourt and wing shooting threats and now, a trio of big men.
January: 10.0 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 26.7 minutes, 43.0 FG%,
Season: 12.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 32.2 minutes, 51.6 FG%
*There are times offensively where the rugged Gortat looks like he's been part of the Wizards pick-and-roll schemes forever and a day. He knows when to find spacing for the mid-range jumper and when to hammer the rim for layups or offensive boards. There are also times where it appears the 6-foot-11 center was only acquired in early January rather than late October as he searches for proper spots on the court. Gortat is 7 off 22 (31.8 percent) from the field over his last three games. One easy fix? Pair Gortat once again with his bestie Nene. Whether that's best for the team is something else. For the most part Gortat has been solid to studly on the defensive end this month.
January: 7.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 22.9 minutes, 58.5 FG%,
Season: 6.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 21.5 minutes, 53.8 FG%
*Though the overall numbers show a spike up in production, the recent trend is actually going the other way as Booker has played 18 or fewer minutes and grabbed five or fewer rebounds in three straight games. That said, the energetic 6-foot-8 forward has largely thrived since his insertion into the starting lineup on December 9. Playing with four capable scorers has allowed Booker to focus on what he does best, rebounding and running, rather than trying to generate his own offense. However his lack of size proves challenging against imposing front courts, which is a factor in his fluctuating minutes. Still, Booker's value goes up exponentially when playing with the starters rather than coming off the bench.
January: 10.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 0.7 blocks, 2.4 turnovers, 23.9 minutes, 43.1 FG%,
Season: 13.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 0.8 blocks, 1.9 turnovers, 28.7 minutes, 49.8 FG%
*Nene is Nene is Nene is Nene which means he's the team's most valuable player, the on-court shaman who raises the game of those around him. Washington has risen from 30th to 27th in bench scoring with the Brazilian big man coming off the bench. That said, there are times where his presence likely would help a lifeless start during the first quarters of games. Also, despite playing fewer minutes, he's averaging more turnovers of late. Unless coach Randy Wittman believes the negative impact on Gortat, John Wall and others outweighs the positives for having a viable second unit that won't lose leads, Nene should remain on the bench for now.