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Crunching the numbers

It's becoming increasingly clear that the playing rotation and roster is taking shape even with four fake (I mean, preseason) games to go, including tonight's against Lithuanian team Zalgiris Kaunas at VC. We know the starters are Arenas, Stevenson, Butler, Jamison and B Haywood. The top three reserves will likely be Daniels, Songaila and Blatche (based on his ability to play the backup 5 and his performance thus far in camp and the first four games).

Yesterday, Coach Eddie Jordan said that he plans on using the last four games to determine the 9-12 slots. The contenders: guard Roger Mason Jr, forward-center Oleksiy Pecherov, forward Dominic McGuire and guard Nick Young. Roger can play both guard spots and has shown an ability to knock down open shots and run the offense.
Like Blatche, Pesh can play PF and C and he can shoot the three-ball as well as anyone on the team (we know he's willing to shoot, that's for sure). Another valuable thing about Pesh: he's a worker bee so Jordan can use the competition between him and Blatche to motivate both players.

"Who is going to climb the lader a little bit faster than the other guy?" Jordan said. "It's about growth and understanding what we want and developing quicker."

McGuire has impressed the staff with his rugged style on defense and ability to make things happen on offense without having plays called for him. He gets his on offensive rebounds and other hustle plays. This team seriously needed a guy like that off the bench last season. Too early to get a read on Nick Young. He had his best game the other night at Chicago and is working hard but as an offensive-minded guy who needs the ball, it always takes longer to adjust.

"We know our top eight guys right now and we're looking at who is going to be that ninth guy," Jordan said.

Now, I'm hearing that the Wiz may only keep 13 players and that includes Etan Thomas so Mike Hall, Donell Taylor and Tony Massenburg could be on the outside looking in right now. All three could use some good games here down the stretch of the preseason.

By Ivan Carter  |  October 19, 2007; 10:19 AM ET
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