Keys to the Palace: Go west, young men

As the D.C. area was bombarded with snow this week, the Wizards were out enjoying sixty degree weather out on the West Coast.  Unfortunately, they didn't make the most of their time inside the climate-controlled domes, going 1-3 on the week.  What makes the performance this week even sadder is that all four of Washington's opponents missed the playoffs last season.  

Of course, Phoenix was the victim of an extremely deep Western Conference.  The Kings, Clippers, and Warriors on the other hand, would have been bottom feeders in any conference last season, just like the Wizards last season.  With the exception of the Warriors, all of the teams I have mentioned, including the Wizards, have improved since last season.  

While the Suns, Kings, and Clippers have developed thanks to the acquisition and development of young talent, the Wizards went the veteran route, figuring that it would take less time to integrate veteran players into the team than a raw talent.  Yet as you look at the standings, the Suns are right back in the thick of the Western Conference battle, the Kings and Clippers are hovering around .500, and Washington is the one struggling to win one-third of their games.  If this year has shown anything, it's that rebuilding can be faster than remodeling.

As the Palace undergoes renovations, who deserves keys inside?  Follow me after the jump to see who goes in and who stays out.


Gilbert Arenas

#0 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • @ Los Angeles - 16 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 steals in 34 minutes (+11)
  • @ Sacramento - 33 points 6 assists, 4 rebounds in 38 minutes (+4)
  • @ Golden State - 45 points, 13 assists, 3 rebounds in 43 minutes (+17)
  • @ Phoenix - 22 points, 3 assists, 4 rebounds in 24 minutes (-21)

Gilbert bookended the week with two clunker performances.  But like an Oreo, the middle of the week was sweet.  We will see if the swagger Gilbert gained out West will travel with him as the team heads back to D.C.  In the meantime, enjoy some highlights from Gilbert and Stephen Curry's performance on Friday.


Final Verdict

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Andray Blatche

#7 / Forward / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • @ Los Angeles - 3 points, 3 rebounds in 13 minutes (-11)
  • @ Sacramento - 4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks in 18 minutes (-8)
  • @ Golden State - 8 points, 6 rebounds in 22 minutes (-12)
  • @ Phoenix - 7 points, 9 rebounds in 21 minutes (-9)

The bench was a weak point all week, and Blatche was one of the big culprits.  The good news is that while Blatche has slumped as of late, he isn't hitting the dizzyling lows that he reached earlier in his career.

Final Verdict

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Earl Boykins

#12 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • @ Los Angeles - 1 assist, 1 rebound in 13 minutes (-13)
  • @ Sacramento - 8 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds in 15 minutes (-11)
  • @ Golden State - 2 points, 1 rebound in 4 minutes (-8)
  • @ Phoenix - 1 point, 2 assists in 14 minutes

Earl was the other big culprit in the bench's woes this weekend.  11 points, 4 assists and 2 rebounds is decent output for one game, not four.

Final Verdict

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Caron Butler

#3 / Forward / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • @ Los Angeles - 20 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals in 39 minutes (+16)
  • @ Sacramento - 16 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist in 39 minutes (+3)
  • @ Golden State - 28 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 steals in 46 minutes (+13)
  • @ Phoenix - 10 points, 4 rebonds, 3 assists in 28 minutes (-18)

On the whole, Caron had a solid week.  His shot selection improved, but as Kyle pointed out in this excellent post, Caron still has inefficient tendencies he needs to rid himself of.  He summed it up best when he said, "why must Caron always find himself facing up further away from the basket than from where he started?"

Final Verdict

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Javaris Crittenton

#8 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • @ Los Angeles - DNP - Injured
  • @ Sacramento - DNP - Injured
  • @ Golden State - DNP - Injured
  • @ Phoenix - DNP - Injured

Just when it looked like Javaris was turning the corner, it looks like his ankle has flared up again.  Why can't this guy catch a break?

Final Verdict

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Randy Foye

#15 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • @ Los Angeles - 4 points, 1 rebound in 4 minutes (-5)
  • @ Sacramento - 0 points, 1 rebound in 5 minutes (-3)
  • @ Golden State - 2 points in 4 minutes (-5)
  • @ Phoenix - 13 points, 4 assists, 1 rebound in 19 minutes (-3)

Foye logged 19 minutes on Saturday, the first time he's played over 15 minutes since he November 24th against Philadelphia.  His performance, albeit mostly in garbage time, might be enough to earn back some minutes that he has lost to Earl Boykins.

Final Verdict

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Brendan Haywood

#33 / Center / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • @ Los Angeles - 12 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 blocks in 41 minutes (+4)
  • @ Sacramento - 9 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks in 35 minutes (+1)
  • @ Golden State - 15 points, 12 rebounds in 33 minutes (+14)
  • @ Phoenix - 3 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist in 27 minutes (-17)

After three strong performances this week, Brendan had his worst outing of the season against the Suns.  It's one thing to have season-lows in points and rebounds, but against Channing Frye?  Seriously?  It's a good thing his other three games were solid as usual.

Final Verdict

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Mike James

#13 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • @ Los Angeles - DNP - Injured
  • @ Sacramento - DNP - Injured
  • @ Golden State - DNP - Injured
  • @ Phoenix - DNP - Injured

This exchange between Mike and Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog sums up everything.

mikejames7: Working hard. Staying on my grind. Gotta stay right even though everything around me seems wrong

dcsportsbog: Um. That doesn't sound good RT @mikejames7 Working hard. Staying on my grind. Gotta stay right even though everything around me seems wrong

mikejames7: It's the truth.

Final Verdict

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Antawn Jamison

#4 / Forward / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • @ Los Angeles - 32 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists in 37 minutes (+5)
  • @ Sacramento - 30 points, 8 rebounds in 35 minutes (-2)
  • @ Golden State - 10 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steals in 36 minutes (+20)
  • @ Phoenix - 15 points, 4 rebounds in 28 minutes (-23)

Antawn carried the team through the first two games of the week.  He nearly helped them win two games that the Wizards had no business winning.  Even after he injured himself against the Warriors, Jamison did what he could to shoulder the burden, but he just could not do so at the same rate.  Still can't fault him for going out there and trying to do what he could to help the team win.

Final Verdict

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JaVale McGee

#34 / Center / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • @ Los Angeles - DNP - Coach's Decision
  • @ Sacramento - DNP - Coach's Decision
  • @ Golden State - DNP - Coach's Decision
  • @ Phoenix - 2 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks in 19 minutes (-5)

After tightening up the rotation for most of this week's road trip, Flip emptied the bench against Phoenix, giving players like JaVale McGee a chance to make their case for more playing time.  If JaVale's performance on Saturday was a lawyer, arguing on JaVale's behalf for more playing time, it would have been Lionel Hutz.

Final Verdict

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Dominic McGuire

#5 / Forward / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • @ Los Angeles - 2 points, 2 rebounds in 8 minutes (-19)
  • @ Sacramento - 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist in 13 minutes (+8)
  • @ Golden State - 0 points, 3 rebounds in 6 minutes (-8)
  • @ Phoenix - 2 points, 4 rebounds in 18 minutes (-2)

Dominic parlayed a solid performances against Detroit and Indiana into more playing time this week.  He's slowly, but surely starting to wiggle his way into the rotation.

Final Verdict

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Mike Miller

#6 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • @ Los Angeles - DNP - Injured
  • @ Sacramento - DNP - Injured
  • @ Golden State - DNP - Injured
  • @ Phoenix - DNP - Injured

If I give you a key, will play this week?  Pretty please?

Final Verdict

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Fabricio Oberto

#21 / Forward / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • @ Los Angeles - 0 points, rebounds, or assists in 3 minutes (-1)
  • @ Sacramento - DNP - Coach's Decision
  • @ Golden State - DNP - Coach's Decision
  • @ Phoenix - DNP - Coach's Decision

I guess it's a good thing that the players ahead of him have made him irrelevant, but his disappearance from the rotation has been rather surprising.s

Final Verdict

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DeShawn Stevenson

#2 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • @ Los Angeles - 2 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist in 24 minutes (+12)
  • @ Sacramento - 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist in 21 minutes (-3)
  • @ Golden State - 1 point, 3 assists in 20 minutes (+2)
  • @ Phoenix - 0 points, 1 rebound in 11 minutes (-8)

DeShawn played 76 minutes and he took ten shots to score five points.  What else do you need to know?  

Final Verdict

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Nick Young

#1 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • @ Los Angeles - 4 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound in 19 minutes (-9)
  • @ Sacramento - 5 points, 1 rebound, 2 blocks in 12 minutes (-4)
  • @ Golden State - 7 points, 2 rebounds in 23 minutes (+12)
  • @ Phoenix - 20 points, 1 assist, 5 rebounds in 27 minutes (-15)

Like Dominic McGuire, Nick is slowly, but surely getting more minutes.  He's still learning the offense and how he fits in, but his defense is keeping him in the rotation.  Who would have thought we would say that at the start of the year?

Final Verdict

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Flip Saunders

Washington Wizards

This Week

  • @ Los Angeles - Lost 97-95
  • @ Sacramento - Lost 112-109
  • @ Golden State - Won 116-108
  • @ Phoenix - Lost 121-95

 


I'm not exactly sure when it clicked, but at some point this week Flip found out that he can't teach and motivate this team the same way he motivated the Pistons.  Can he figure out a way to get through to this goofy squad?  I don't doubt him, but he may have to take a page out of Eddie Jordan's playbook on how to balance the team's many quirky personalities.

Final Verdict

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