The Wizards went a pedestrian 1-1 this week getting smoked on MLK day by the Blazers, 108-98 but bouncing back to beat a depleted Heat team just days later. For as bad as the Wizards looked against the Blazers, they flipped the script and blew out the Heat. Keep in mind, the Heat were playing without Goran Dragic, Dwayne Wade, and Hassan Whiteside who got injured early in the second quarter. However, this is the NBA and a win is a win. The Wizards were scheduled to play Saturday night against the Jazz but Snowstorm Jonas had other plans. As the All-Star break is now in sight, who is trending up and who is trending down?
Trending Up: Marcin Gortat.
Outside of Wall, it’s clear that Gortat is the second-best player on this team. Gortat had a very strong week with two double-doubles in as many games. Gortat had 16 points and 13 rebounds against the Blazers only to follow that up with 15 points and 12 rebounds (5 offensive rebounds) against the Heat.
It’s clear that Gortat is the best and maybe the only player who’s fully dedicated to rebounding on this team. Yes he’s the center so he’s supposed to grab rebounds but he seems like the only player genuinely interested in doing so on the defensive end. Gortat is currently averaging 9.9 rebounds per game, just a hair below his career-best 10 rebounds per game in 2011-2012. In addition, he’s the only one crashing the offensive glass as he gobbles up more than 50% of the Wizards offensive rebounds. Gortat accounted for eight of the Wizards 15 offensive rebounds this week.
Not only has his rebounding been great, his scoring and shooting haven’t taken a dip. Gortat went 14-22 from the field this week. The pick-and-roll game with John Wall is as good as it’s ever been and Gortat is continuing to hit his turnaround jumpers near and around the rim.
This is probably the best stretch of basketball that Gortat has played since he’s arrived in Washington.
Trending Down: Kelly Oubre Jr.
Looks like Oubre has hit the rookie wall.
Oubre went 0-4 from the floor this week and did not score. Oubre only played 12 minutes against the Blazers as the Wizards opted to play most of that game with three guards. Oubre is still bringing energy on the defensive-end so it’s great to see that his lack of scoring hasn’t affected the other side of the ball.
It’s pretty clear, Oubre is the fifth scoring option for the Wizards when he’s on the floor. Over the past week, if Oubre isn’t lining up for a transition three, he’s not getting open shots. The rookie continues to attack the hole which is a nice sign to see; unfortunately, he’ll throw up a contested shot around the rim. It’s still early in his career but as of now, the rookie can’t finish with his right hand. Oubre had a layup blocked at the rim in the Blazers game because he went up from the right side of the hoop with his left hand.
It’s to be expected that Oubre would regress back to the mean a bit after that wonderful stretch he had when he started filling in for Porter. The Wizards aren’t counting on Oubre to score so the fact that he’s still engaged on the defensive end is a great sign. There’s not a whole lot to worry about with Oubre at the moment; it would just be great to see him start knocking down those open transition jumpers again.