The Wizards bench has been a mess so far through the first nine games of the season. Whether it’s blowing leads built up by the starters, a stagnant offense, or the inability to score; it’s all been on display during an upsetting start to the season.
However, there has been one constant, and it’s Tomas Satoransky. The 25-year old rookie has played well so far for the Wizards averaging 4.7 points and 2.7 assists in his 18 minutes off the bench.
The stage doesn’t seem to be too big for Satoransky evidenced by his 3:1 assist-to-turnover ratio and ability to step into the starting lineup when called upon against the Magic and Bulls. He’s been one of the only bright spots off the bench for the Wizards and will need to elevate his game even more if the Wizards are going to right the ship and start winning games again.
It all starts with his scoring. As we’ve seen, he is most comfortable in the offense when the ball is in his hands and he’s making plays for others.
However, he has made just 18 field goals this season, with 12 of those coming from the 0-9 foot range. He does most of his scoring from close in and prefers going left while rising up for a floater in the lane or making a cut off the ball on a play like this:
Outside of the paint, Satoransky has been much less of a threat. He’s shooting only 6-19 on shots 10 feet or further from the basket. Defenses know this so they tend to lag off on him when he’s standing out on the perimeter.
If the Wizards bench is going to bust out of this slump, it’s going to have to start with Satoransky. As mentioned, he has no problem setting up his teammates, now he just needs to be more of a scoring threat. Far too often Satoransky’s defender goes under the screen or just leaves him wide open. Since he hasn’t developed much of a shot, he’ll either miss the wide-open look or worse, pass it up altogether and dish the ball to one of his more trigger-happy teammates.
On Saturday against the Bulls, Satoransky took a step in the right direction with his aggression. He attempted a season-high 12 shots, and although he only made four of them, he had the right idea taking more shots outside the paint to try to keep the defense honest.
For the Wizards bench to break out of this slump, they’ll need the aggressive Satoransky from the Chicago game to show up on a nightly basis. It’s important that he continue to set his teammates up, but he also needs to improve his shot as he’s the best and most important player on the Wizards bench at the moment.