Keys to the Palace: Is anyone currently fit to enter the palace?

Lost in all the drama last week was the fact that the Wizards played .500 ball this week, winning two of their four games.  Considering the circumstances, it's hard to lock everyone out of the palace this week.  Several players stepped their games up, especially after learning Gilbert Arenas was suspended on Wednesday.

While the team has played well in Agent Zero's absence, it's still too early to say the team is better off without him.  Keep in mind that Mike Miller's return to the lineup coincided with Gilbert's exit.  Also, all basketball team's tend to play with increased focus in the games immediately following a dramatic event, like Arenas' suspension.  While there may be some truth to the notion that Gilbert's drama had begun to wear on the team, it's too early to say whether or not the team's recent improvements are a byproduct of his absence.

After the jump, we'll take a look at each player's week and see who gets keys this week.

Gilbert Arenas

If it wasn't for his spot on the roster page, Gilbert might not be on the team's website at all.

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Andray Blatche

Andray probably had the worst week of any Wizard not being investigated about gun possession.  He was fined $10,000 for his involvement in the Tuesday's pre-game hijinks, averaged less than five rebounds per game this week,  and he was suspended by Flip Saunders for a game.  Oh, and let's not forget what everyone knows about his shoes.

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Earl Boykins

A tough week for Earl the Squirrel.  He only cracked the 15-minute mark one time this week and his best performance in the blowout loss against Cleveland where he put up 10 points and 6 assists in 19 minutes.  At a time when minutes at the point guard positions are there for the taking, Earl didn't do much to claim his stake.

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Caron Butler

Tough Juice showed some signs of life in an inspired performance against Orlando where he scored 23 points, while adding 7 rebounds.  The bad news is that he only scored 26 points in the other three games combined.  At some point.  Even without Gilbert in the lineup - whom some have blamed for Caron's struggles this year - Butler still can't develop a consistent rhythm this season.

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Javaris Crittenton

The mystery behind what Javaris Crittenton was singing as he loaded his gun will likely last longer than his NBA career will.

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Randy Foye

Foye's minutes and production have gone up and down all season, but it looks like he may be finding his role with Gilbert out of the lineup.  In his last three games, Foye has 18, 20, and 20 points respectively while averaging over five assists per game.  He's reached those point totals in some games more efficiently than others, but he appears to be headed on the right track.

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Brendan Haywood

After missing Tuesday's game in Philadelphia, Brendan finished the week strong.  He hit 14 of his 17 field goal attempts and pulled down 29 rebounds in his final two outings, while going up against Dwight Howard and Emeka Okafor.  You could make a case that Haywood is the most appealing asset the Wizards have to trade at this point.

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Mike James

The "old pitbull" is still hungry, but it doesn't look like he will be running with the big dogs any time soon.

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Antawn Jamison

If I could give Antawn two keys this week, I would.  At a time when the team could have easily fallen apart, Antawn has kept the team's focus on the court, where it needs to be.  It's nice that he's also putting together some outstanding performances recently.  Over the last week he averaged 30 points per game while shooting 55.8% from the field.

Jamison, along with Chris Bosh, are the only two players in the Eastern Conference averaging at least 20 points and 8 rebounds per game.  An All-Star appearance might not be out of the question for Jamison, especially if the team continues to play well over the next few weeks.

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JaVale McGee

McGee played 15 minutes this week against Philadelphia and Cleveland.  He didn't do enough to wiggle his way into the rotation, but at least he showed that he is still getting chances to prove himself on the court, which is the key for a project like McGee.

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Dominic McGuire

The return of Mike Miller cut into McGuire's playing time.  His rebounding rates are still ridiculous (he snagged three in just six minutes of play against Cleveland) but that's not enough to earn a consistent role on this squad.

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Mike Miller

It didn't take long for Miller to remind us what he brings to the court.  In his first game back he scored six points, had six assists, and collected six rebounds while chasing after loose balls and creating opportunities inside for Haywood and Jamison.  Sadly, it didn't take long for Miller to get injured again too.  Hopefully it doesn't take him long to return, but given his penchant for getting re-injured it's important for him to ignore his good-willed intentions to play through his injuries.  He means well, but he isn't helping the team when he reaggrevates an injury by returning to the court too soon.

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Fabricio Oberto

Oberto brings many positive intangibles to the court, but they don't always make up for the team being forced to play 4 vs. 5 offensively when he's on the floor.  In 35 minutes of playing time over 3 games, Oberto only scored 3 points.

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DeShawn Stevenson

Speaking of playing 4 vs. 5 offensively, Stevenson only scored 3 points in 31 minutes of playing time this week.  If you want an idea of how bad it has gotten for Stevenson, try to wrap your head around this: No player in NBA history has shot a lower field goal percentage than DeShawn Stevenson while playing at least 15 minutes per game for at least 20 games in a season.  Don't believe me?  Check it out for yourself

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Nick Young

Young had two strong performances against Philadelphia and New Orleans, scoring 41 points on 24 shots.  That's stellar efficiency.  The same can't be said for the other two games this week, where he needed 21 shots to score 14 points.  You can't expect to get a key if you keep going in and out of the palace so frequently.

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Flip Saunders

Coaching a team to victory against one of the best teams in the league just hours after being questioned by the cops requires a level of focus that few can reach.

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