Keys To The Palace: Where Everyone Gets A Guest Pass

All in all, it was a decent week for the Wizards. They had a good win and a bad loss against the Pacers, which is about what you'd expect. It's hard to beat anyone in the league twice in a row. Against the Rockets and Hornets, they played well, kept the game manageable against two teams in the playoff hunt in the Western Conference.

It was a better than average week for the Wizards, but when it came to handing out keys this week, I had a tough time justifying a key for anyone on the roster. Everyone had their highs, but everyone had their lows as well. Even judging with a curve, it's hard to really make a case that anyone went above and beyond to earn a key this week. That said, it's hard to make a case to lock anyone out either. Even players who have been in the doghouse as of late had enough bright spots to avoid getting locked out.

So this week everyone is getting a guest pass, which means everyone is starting with a clean slate to start the new year. After the jump, you can check out each player and make your case for anyone who you felt should have earned a key or a lock this week.

Player Week 10 PER Week 9 PER Difference Comment
Al Thornton 11.2 11.3 -0.1 After getting his first DNP-CD since joining the Wizards on Wednesday, Thornton responded with a 10 points in 19 minutes against the Pacers on Friday. However, against the Hornets, he struggled again, scoring two points and only pulling in two rebounds in 19 minutes. Regardless of the new talent on the team at small forward, Thornton's inconsistent play is making it hard to justify much playing time right now. 
Andray Blatche 13.6 14.2 -0.6 To his credit, Blatche has responded well since his suspension last week. He had three straight games with at least 11 rebounds and did a better, though still far from great, job with his shot selection. Problem is, he's still shooting dreadful percentages from the floor and really isn't getting to the free throw line enough to justify his usage right now. That, and his defense is still awful right now. Until those things change, he's going to be mentioned in trade rumors, though it's hard to see anyone willing to take a chance on him at the moment.
Cartier Martin 13.3 13.3 0 Martin played his role perfectly in the team's win against Indiana, hitting three long bombs and snagging 3 rebounds in just 13 minutes. In their second meeting the Pacers adjusted, however and forced him inside the three point line where he made only 1 of his 5 shots.
Hilton Armstrong 8.6 7 1.6 It was a fairly normal week at the office for Hilton Armstrong after he returned from the foot injury he suffered against San Antonio. He had five free throw attempts this week, which is always encouraging. Though he isn't an outstanding free throw shooter, compared with the rest of his offensive game, it's probably his most efficient way to score. And it's always a plus if you can push an opposing team's big man closer to foul trouble with a reserve in the game.
JaVale McGee 18.6 18 0.6 Even his numbers didn't show it in his first game back, the suspension did give McGee the wake up call he needed to get his game back on track this week. He had double-doubles against the Pacers and Hornets and played decently in his other two games this week.
John Wall 16.5 16.6 -0.1 His shooting numbers weren't great, and he averaged five turnovers per game this week, but how can you not be thrilled with what John Wall is doing on the court? He averaged 15 points and 8 assists per game this week while still recovering from injury and going up against some good young point guards like Chris Paul, Darren Collison and Kyle Lowry. If he's this good while he struggles, I can only imagine how good he's going to be once he starts playing well.
Josh Howard 11.6 13.3 -1.7 Howard sat out Saturday's game to rest his knee, which might explain why his game tailed off this week. He went 7-27 from the field and didn't quite look like himself. Since he's on a one year contract, I'm sure he has some pressure on himself to get back on the court as soon as possible, but hopefully the training staff will trudge out enough Gilbert Arenas horror stories to keep him in check.
Kirk Hinrich 13.4 13.5 -0.1 Who would've thought Hinrich would only have one assist this week? Granted, he missed two games this week and only played 12 minutes in another after injuring his thigh, but it's still surprising to see. Then again, it might not be the worst thing to see that kind of anomaly, since Hinrich's assists and points should drop when he returns, now that John Wall is back.
Lester Hudson 6.1 4 2.1 Lester didn't receive much playing time this week, but made a three in both of his appearances and had a 3:1 assist ratio. Not a groundshaking week by any means, but it's hard to ask for much more from an end of the bench player.
Nick Young 15.3 15.6 -0.3 Young struggled against Pacers on New Year's Eve, like the rest of the squad, but I think his struggles had more to do with trying to defer to John Wall and go back to what he was doing before Wall was injured and Arenas was traded. Thing is, even with Wall back, they still need Young to take a higher volume of shots with Arenas out of the picture. He went back to that type of player against the Hornets and had a much better performance because of it. Complain about his shot selection all you want, but he's still scoring effectively on most nights and needs to be one of the top scoring options for this team moving forward.
Rashard Lewis 14 12.9 1.1 Lewis wasn't able to replicate his stellar performance against the Spurs this week, but he came through with some steady performances throughout the week. Most surprisingly, he averaged 4 assists per game this week. He's never averaged more than 2.6 per game in a season, so it will be interesting to see if Lewis can keep that up and if he gets more ball-handling responsibilities as a result.

NOTE: Trevor Booker, Yi Jianlian, Hamady Ndiaye and Kevin Seraphin were not included in this week's Keys To The Palace because of injury or not receiving enough playing time for a fair evaluation.

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