After previously being upgraded to “questionable” yesterday, the Washington Wizards will finally have backup center Ian Mahinmi active tonight against the Brooklyn Nets, Scott Brooks confirmed to CSN Mid-Atlantic earlier this afternoon. Mahinmi has only played one game for the Wizards so far, logging 14 minutes in a 112-100 home loss to the San Antonio Spurs on November 26th. In that time, Mahinmi recorded one point, one rebound, one steal, and one block, while also committing two turnovers and picking up three personal fouls.
Per Brooks, Ian Mahinmi (knee) will be active tonight, hopes to play him about 5-6 minutes per half #WizNets
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) February 8, 2017
The 30 year-old center from France will be on a minutes restriction, likely playing around 10-12 minutes. Mahinmi was recovering from a surgery on his left knee that he had back in October, which was later followed up by platelet-rich plasma therapy to both knees that originally had him listed as out for about six weeks. After previously playing with the Indiana Pacers, Mahinmi signed with the Wizards last summer as an unrestricted free agent on a four-year, $64 million deal.
With Mahinmi out, the Wizards have been primarily using Jason Smith as the primary backup center behind Marcin Gortat. Smith has certainly come into his own through the course of the season, though being used as a center is not the ideal use of his talents, as he tends to be more of a face-up forward with a stronger mid-range game. Markieff Morris has also logged minutes at center with the bench with the Wizards decide to go with smaller lineups. rookie Daniel Ochefu has also seen spot minutes with Smith and Morris have picked up too many fouls or been out with injury.
With the Wizards activating Mahinmi, they can make greater use of the defensive prowess he displayed last year while starting for the Pacers. The Wizards can certainly use his rebounding ability and rim protection, as well as his ability to efficiently guard the pick-and-roll. Overall, the Wizards will ideally have a stronger defensive anchor in the middle with Mahinmi instead of Smith or Morris. His strong athleticism should be of great use to the Wizards.
— All Sport News (@All_SportNews) January 11, 2016
With Mahinmi back, expect to see Jason Smith’s minutes drop a bit, as he will likely be shifted more to the backup power forward position behind Morris. Brooks’ tendency go with the smaller lineup that utilizes Kelly Oubre, Jr. at the 3 and Otto Porter, Jr. at the 4 could impact Smith’s minutes. However, Smith has earned his spot in the rotation, and he will certainly continue to be used.
When you hear Ian Mahinmi is finally back. pic.twitter.com/DL79UZqd0s
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) February 8, 2017