Jordan Crawford, who finished last season as the starting shooting guard, has also shown his worth as more than just a scorer. He has led the Wizards in assists in two games and his playmaking has forced Wittman to rely on him as a situational point guard, at times sharing the floor with Beal.
With no set timetable for Nene to return from his plantar fasciitis, veteran Emeka Okafor has been the easy choice to start at center.
When healthy, Trevor Booker likely will get the shot to start alongside him at power forward. But with him still regaining his wind after missing five games because of a left hamstring injury, Wittman has gotten an extended look at Jan Vesely and let Chris Singleton earn playing time at the position.
Wittman “just told everybody, ‘Nobody is above anybody,’ ” Singleton said. “Coach set the standard for everybody, like this is an even team. I think everybody is just buying in and we’re coming together and gelling.”
The depleted front line has created more opportunities than usual for big men Brian Cook, Earl Barron and Randolph, who are all signed to non-guaranteed training camp deals. All three have had memorable outings and hope to stick.
The only obvious cut is point guard Steven Gray, a point guard who played only one minute in the first seven games. But when Wittman boarded the flight back to Washington, he had to make decisions that will affect the lives of the players and his team. Painstaking as it will be, Wittman will take a difficult choice over the alternative.
“I’d rather have it that way, than looking for questions, telling management I need some more players,” Wittman said with a laugh. “No question, but it’s still not easy.”
Wizards note: In the preseason finale, Vesely and Price both had 13 points to lead the Wizards, who finished the preseason 3-5. Barron, getting his first start of the preseason, had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Crawford had 11 points and Booker had 10. Okafor and Ariza were given the night off.