Point guard derby: Status quo or Price is right?

Point guard derby: Status quo or Price is right?
October 12, 2012, 12:45 pm
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With Janerro Pargo available for the first time as a member of the Washington Wizards, Randy Wittman finally had a chance to utilize all of his point guards. Well, all those except for the injured John Wall. Therein lies the rub - or stress as the coach continues searching for a starter, a rotation, a plan with the playmaking speed merchant expected to miss the first month of the season with a left leg strain.

So with two preseason games in the books has Pargo, A.J. Price or Shelvin Mack emerged as the starter? Coach Wittman?

"No, not yet. We’re still too early," Wittman said following Washington's 108-101 home loss to New York. The coach also indicated his plans to shake up the lineup, the rotation moving forward, which could in turn shake up the point guard derby.

"We’re going to play different guys now moving forward, getting different guys looks and starting. Right now, we’ve played the first two games with the same group. We give a couple games together to see, and we’ll change that up now moving forward. But I think they’re all doing things that I like and dislike. That hasn’t solidified anything in my mind yet."

As for what the trio did against the Knicks, let's go to the numbers.

A.J. Price: versus the Knicks, the native New Yorker finished with 7 points, three assists and one turnover in 19 minutes. Better than his 3-of-10 FG, 5 turnover performance in the preseason opener? By the numbers it was, but Price also presided over a second straight slow start offensively. No doubt the solid but not dynamic in any single area point guard is hurt by the lack of shot makers currently in the starting unit. That should change Saturday against Cleveland, whether that's because Price or others move to the second unit.

Jannero Pargo: In over 23 minutes he tallied 9 points, matched Bradley Beal with a team-high five assists and directed traffic during the Wizards 22-0 second quarter run. On the flip side, he also committed six turnovers and missed seven of 11 field goal attempts. More than Price or Mack, the 33-year-old Pargo comes across as commanding on the court, which should not be surprising for a player who's been around the NBA block a few times. Still thinking his game is best served as a confidence guy off the bench, but Wittman might not have a choice other than to test him out with the starters for now.

Shelvin Mack: With Pargo available, the second-year guard received only six minutes against the Knicks after playing against the Bobcats. In that span against New York, he doled out three assists and made his only shot from the floor. That's now 10 assists in two games with nary a turnover. Any turnover-adverse coach would love that stat line. Does that mean Wittman will play Mack more in the third or fourth preseason game? Hard to say, but if not, that would be awfully telling about Mack's slot in the point guard pecking order.