Keys to the Palace: 2 Stars, Kind Of

LOS ANGELES CA - FEBRUARY 18: John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards and the Rookie Team reacts in the second half during the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam at Staples Center on February 18 2011 in Los Angeles California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
'No I don't have a dog house, I have a Palace of Good Play.' I'm looking for someone who's playing well so I can put them in that palace."
-Ed Tapscott

An exciting weekend for Wizards fans with John Wall taking the Rookie Challenge MVP award and JaVale McGee putting on a show in the Dunk Contest. The fireworks of the weekend almost overshadowed the Wizards getting blown out in their 1 game this week against the Orlando Magic.

The only good performance in the Magic game was that of Wall, who caused Orlando all kinds of problems going to the rim. Unfortunately, he got nothing from his teammates and the Wizards ended the pre-all star break portion of the season the same way it started, with a blowout loss to the Magic.

Keys to the Palace

Player Week 17 PER Week 16 PER Difference Comment
John Wall 15.5 15.1 0.4 Jimmy was terrific against the Magic, no question about that. His teammates shot 19-for-66 (under 29%), so he took it upon himself to be more of a scorer, which is why he wound up with 1 assist and 5 turnovers. Not only is it great to see that Wall can adjust his game on the fly, but his strength is taking the ball to the basket and it is good to see him getting back to his bread and butter. Being MVP of the Rookie Challenge outweighs a pedestrian performance in the Skills Challenge.
JaVale McGee 17 17.3 -0.3 "I don’t know that there’s anyone else on the planet that can do this." Reggie Miller's words hold deep meaning for us Wizards fans. JaVale was obliterated by Dwight Howard, offering little resistance against the league's best center. On the one hand, I want to chalk it up as an impossible task for a young center, but JaVale's talents are so tantalizing that we expect more. Some of you will hate me for this, but I can overlook 1 bad performance because he put on a show in the Dunk Contest and did this franchise and us fans proud. I can tell you that Griffin shouldn't even have been in the final, and that JaVale was 1 dunk away from possibly winning the title, but those were 3 great dunks and he was bested by the hype machine behind Griffin. I advocate bringing JaVale back for next year's competition, maybe with our boy Young Sushi as a fellow competitor.

 

Locked Out

Player Week 17 PER Week 16 PER Difference Comment
Kevin Seraphin 8.3 8.4 -0.1 Fouling Superman is usually a good idea, so one would think he would be a good matchup for Seraphin. When JaVale goes out with 2 quick ones though, Seraphin has to be more careful. He picked up 2 fouls in about 3 and a half minutes, forcing Hilton Armstrong into the game just 6 minutes into the contest. Did I mention that Howard obliterated our bigs?
Cartier Martin 12.9 14.5 -1.6 2-for-13. I really shouldn't have to say more.
Andray Blatche 14.8 14.6 0.2 6-for-17 and now shooting under 43% on the season. He did have 9 rebounds, but on a night with Nick and Rashard out of the lineup, we needed Dray to carry a lot of the scoring load. There was also the missed dunk/travel blooper.
Kirk Hinrich 13.6 13.4 0.2 He is one other guy who didn't have a horrific game, but he was not good or even great by any means. Crossing up JJ Reddick was superb, but does not a good game make. I don't see him being traded because I don't know what the Wizards could get back, but if he stays on the team through the end of the season, I advocate giving some of his minutes to Mustafa.
Yi Jianlian 11.1 11.4 -0.3 I actually think he offers a homeless man's version of Ryan Anderson, so it was funny to see them guarding one another. The Magic's big man is a good player for Yi to model his game after, although Yi is slightly less mobile. The other bad news is that Yi is 1 year older than Anderson.
Trevor Booker 12.7 12.9 -0.2 A ho-hum 22 minutes is an all-too-frequent occurrence when you are a glue/energy guy on a bad team. He also played a lot of those minutes during garbage time. Such is the life of Booker, but I am still very excited about him.
Mustafa Shakur 17.4 16.4 1 It was only 5 garbage minutes, and he didn't do anything wrong. As a matter of fact, he did a lot right in terms of keeping my interest at the end of the game. He cannot escape that ax this week though. Bare in mind that if Hinrich is indeed traded, Mustafa could start playing a big role on this team.
Josh Howard 10.1 10.4 -0.3 The comeback started out well, but the 1-for-10 night against the Magic was as bad as it looks.
Hilton Armstrong 8.6 8.9 -0.3 He was just a little cannon fodder for Howard. The 2 fouls in 8 minutes is almost disappointing when you consider Howard shoots 59% from the field and 58% from the free-throw line.
Al Thornton 12.1 12 0.1 I would have put him in the 'not enough minutes to be fairly evaluated' group, but the injury is significant. He is playing for a contract, and with some of the other guys taking his minutes, injuries are extremely costly. As Bill Parcells once said, 'you can't make the team from the (training) table.'

 

NOTE: Nick Young and Rashard Lewis were left off this week's Keys to the Palace because they did not receive enough playing time for a fair evaluation.

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