Tag: Paul Pierce

Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards - Game Six

Wizards’ Otto Porter says he is “definitely” ready to play some stretch four

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The Wizards went big — with Marcin Gortat and Nene up front — and stayed that way most of the NBA season. Then come the playoffs, coach Randy Wittman finally broke out a small ball lineup with Paul Pierce at the four for long stretches, and it got the Wizards to the second round.

Pierce is now a Clipper, but the playoffs saw the emergence of Otto Porter as his ready replacement — he averaged 10 points a game, shot 37 percent from three and was making plays.

Is Porter ready to step into Pierce’s role as a stretch four? “Definitely,” he told Tom Byrne and Vinny Del Negro on SiriusXM NBA Radio.

“Definitely, because that’s who the NBA is transitioning, you know, to smaller lineups. So being able to stretch out as a four is going to be key, and that is something with our coaching we might end up doing. It’s definitely something I’ll be comfortable with.”

He better be, it will be one of the keys to Washington’s season. The Wizards are going to start games big still, but there will be more small ball with Porter and just signed Jared Dudley at the four. Wittman is not going to sit on this lineup all season.

Elsewhere in the interview, Washington entering the season with high expectations. They believe they are a team ready to challenge Cleveland atop the conference. 

Porter also said John Wall and Bradley Beal are the best backcourt in NBA. What else was he going to say? It is certainly near the top, although that duo out in Golden State has some hardware that backs up their case nicely. 

Martell Webster as stretch four? Wizards may try it next season.

Washington Wizards v Cleveland Cavaliers
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When the Washington Wizards tip-off next season, they will have Marcin Gortat at center and Nene at power forward.

But their moves this summer show that when one of those two sits (specifically Nene) the Wizards will embrace going small, as they did last playoffs when they blistered the Raptors in the first round. (Small-ball was less effective against the Hawks.) Washington let Kevin Seraphin walk to the Knicks this summer and replaced him with guys like Jared Dudley, a stretch four. (Paul Pierce left, but it was Otto Porter’s time.)

What about Martell Webster?

He may play some stretch four, too. But he is going to have to earn those minutes, notes J. Michael at CSNmidatlantic.com.

Webster played some (at the four) when he began his career with the Portland Trail Blazers and the Wizards have floated the  possibility of using him there when — if? — he can work his way back onto the court.

The challenge, of course, will be cracking the rotation that already has Drew Gooden, Jared Dudley and Alan Anderson expecting to log a majority of the time there behind Nene when the Wizards go to small-ball lineups.  Webster, who is 6-7, played in just 32 games last season which was his least since the 2008-09 season. It also was the first time since then that Webster didn’t log a start.

The challenge for Webster — and the Wizards as a whole — going small is on the defensive end. As Matt Moore pointed out in an interesting piece at CBSSports.com, the Wizards three-point shooting and offense was much better when they went small, but the Hawks defense neutralized that somewhat. Worse yet the small ball Wizards simply tried to outscore teams, their defense suffered. That can sometimes work, against certain lineups, but it is not a long-term solution. Look at it this way, the Warriors are champions because they can go small without sacrificing defensively (thanks to Draymond Green — that’s why he’s getting paid more than you, Tristan). That is hard to replicate.

Webster is going to have to stay healthy then actually knock down threes to see the court as a stretch four — you don’t help space the floor if nobody respects you from three.

But as the Wizards go small more often — at least we expect Randy Wittman to go small more — Webster will get a chance to prove he has a role with the team, and in a small-ball NBA.


Report: Lakers-Clippers scheduled for Christmas


The Lakers have the NBA’s longest active streak of Christmas games, playing on Dec. 25 the last 16 years.

Pencil them in for 17.

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angels Times:

This joins Warriors-Cavaliers and Heat-Pelicans as the reported Christmas games in the NBA’s tentative schedule. This is probably the least-attractive matchup on paper, though.

The Clippers have at least three players – Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan – better than any Lakers. It’s possible, with the right breaks, J.J. Redick, Lance Stephenson and/or Paul Pierce could best any Laker, too.

Oops, I forgot Kobe Bryant is still arguably the NBA’s best player.

This is a regular-season game, and any team can win one of those. So, don’t be surprised if the Lakers win. This might be their biggest game of the season while the Clippers look forward to the playoffs.

But make no mistake: This is the Clippers’ game to lose, and they’re also playing for something – trying to carve into the Lakers’ massive fan base in Los Angeles.