John Wall believes the Wizards will be able to play with a faster tempo now that aging small forward Paul Pierce has joined the Clippers, David Aldridge of NBA.com reports in his weekly column. The Wizards’ floor leader feels that with Otto Porter at that spot in place of Pierce, the club will be able to rely much more on its transition game. “We kind of wanted to be a halfcourt team because he couldn’t get up and down the floor,” Wall told Aldridge. “He’s not the young Paul any more. And he helped us out a lot in so many other ways, making big shots and being a leader. But now it’s going to be an opportunity to let Otto exhale, running the floor, being able to create off the dribble, him slashing to the basket, and just anybody that comes into that position.” The Wizards were just 16th in pace last season but coach Randy Wittman wants more possessions, Aldridge adds. “If you have the ball, and you have an open shot, you’re shooting it,” Wittman said to Aldridge. “If you don’t, you’ve either got to pass, or dribble penetration. You can’t hold it and dribble and dribble.”
In other news around the Southeast Division:
- Shooting guard Jeremy Lamb has the most upside among the Hornets’ offseason acquisitions, Ken Berger of CBS Sports opines. With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist likely out for the season, Lamb could be a starter on the wing alongside small forward Nicolas Batum. But Lamb either has to display an improved jump shot or develop his drive game and get to the paint in order to take full advantage of the opportunity, Berger continues. The Hornets’ front office tried to acquire Lamb long before he was finally made available by the Thunder, Berger adds. Lamb was dealt in June to Charlotte for Luke Ridnour and a protected second rounder.
- The Hawks are experimenting with a big lineup of Tiago Splitter at center, Al Horford at power forward and Paul Millsap at small forward but the results have been mixed thus far, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. “Obviously, we have a lot of good big guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told Vivlamore. “We are trying to figure out a way to play them together.” The Hawks were 28th in the NBA in rebounds last season and the big lineup could help improve that figure, Vivlamore adds.
- The Magic have not found any superstars with their recent lottery picks but they could all contribute the team’s revival, Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel reports.