The Wizards' surprising starting five

The Wizards' surprising starting five
April 3, 2013, 12:00 pm
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Updated 6: 40 p.m.

Part of the pregame and in-game routine for reporters is looking through game notes provided by the teams. Interesting and new nuggets pop up here and there, but for the most part it's a reference used for things like double-checking on say Bradley Beal's season-high for points (29) or the team's record in game two of a back-to-back (6-12 for the Wizards heading into tonight's such scenario at Toronto) or the last time the team say scored under 20 points in the first quarter (actually the Wizards had 18 last night in their win over the Bulls). 

Why am I telling you this? Just setting the habitual scene, one that can lead to glossing over of certain staples within the many pages of notes. Case in point, it had been some time since I really looked at the Wizards' various starting lineup combinations, but with Nene back there was reason to take a gander at the page. Once in perusal mode, it shocked me that the group of five most often used this year by coach Randy Wittman included...Garrett Temple. 

Including Tuesday's win, Washington's eighth straight at home, the unit of Temple, John Wall, Martell Webster, Nene and Emeka Okafor has started 16 games, winning nine. 

Now, 16 is a tiny amount for a team's primary group after 74 games, though obviously it's been a mix-and-match kind of season for Wittman with so many injuries this season. Even the Bulls, who have also been beset by injuries even beyond Derrick Rose, have a group that's played together 25 times and that itself is hardly a robust figure.

The other intriguing part is that Temple, like the game notes themselves, has become a game day staple, but also in such a subtle way as to gloss over.

The heady role player with a defensive knack who is aware of his strengths and limitations joined the Wizards on Christmas Day , signed out of the D-League along with Shelvin Mack. While Mack is long gone, Temple has received ample playing time in part because of injuries to Wall and Bradley Beal plus the demotion and subsequent trading of Jordan Crawford.  

Wittman has praised the 6-foot-6 guard's effort throughout the season. While he's no long term starter, Temple should add to his current total of 28 starts (sixth on the team) now that Beal has been ruled out for the remainder of the regular season. Based on what he's done so far - including averages of 4.7 points and 2.3 assists in 21 minutes per game - the former LSU product has certainly done enough to justify the Wizards bringing back the upcoming free agent next season.

Other random starting lineup factoids:

Best record: the group of Wall, Beal, Webster, Nene and Okafor is 6-2, which is rather nice. Not nice is Wittman only have these players able to start eight games together. Injuries, injuries, injuries.

Worst record: A.J. Price, Beal, Trevor Ariza, Trevor Booker, Okafor went winless in seven opportunities. Fairly confident there won't be an eighth. When this group was together early in the season, Beal's perimeter shot had little shot of being successful, Ariza's was worse and Okafor had yet to turn into a double-double machine.

Only undefeated starter: Small sample size and not relevant at all, but Jason Collins is 2-0.

Winless starters: Two players are 0-4. Shaun Livingston no longer lives here...but Jan Vesely does.

Signs of Wall's impact: Take the same five that started the most games and swap out Wall for Beal. Instead of 9-7, that group is 0-5.