Keys to the Palace: Some Awful and a Mini-Rebound for the Wizards

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: Flip Saunders head coach of the Washington Wizards questions an official's call against the Dallas Mavericks at the Verizon Center on February 26, 2011 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rob Carr/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

In full disclosure, I had some family stuff to deal with this week, so I only watched the Pacers game. I just got back in town tonight, so didn't have too much time to write and really only went by the box scores for my evaluation. Let me tell you though, that Pacers game was horrendous, and in the running for our worst performance of the season. The offense looked like it had no plan, other than let Jimmy drive and figure out last second where he could pass. The defense was even worse, looking indifferent and a step slow - we managed to make the Pacers look like a well-oiled machine.

Getting blown out by the 76ers and having the face of the franchise question his teammates effort are about as bad as it gets, but then the team seemed to rebound slightly and get a couple moral victories against the Heatles and Mavericks.

I'm tired of moral victories though, and the Pacers game was unacceptable. The coaches can be blamed, but Flip Saunders has a track record in the NBA, whereas many of these young players do not. The players have to look in the mirror and be leaders. The absolute last thing this franchise needs is to have John Wall's develop stunted by poisonous teammates, so something has to change dramatically.

Keys to the Palace

Player Week 18 PER Week 17 PER Difference Comment
Kevin Seraphin 9.4 8.3 1.1 He was the only guy I thought had a positive effort against the Pacers, and his numbers the rest of the week are encouraging. The nice little bump in his PER reflects the progress he is making and that has me excited for the future.
Trevor Booker 14 12.7 1.3 He obviously had a great game against the 76ers, and his other efforts were solid. This may be a product of me not seeing most of the games this week, but the jump in PER combined with raw numbers and Mike thinking his increased PT in the Dallas game could have made the difference is enough for a Key.
John Wall 15.5 15.5 0 I was tempted to just give him a guest pass. I thought the numbers against the Pacers were deceiving and he actually did not have a good game. My bigger issue was that it took him 26 shots to get 24 points against the Mavs, 19 shots for 21 points against the 76ers, and 15 shots for 15 points against the Pacers. Plain and simple, for his perilous drives to the basket, he needs to get the line more often and score more efficiently. On a team short on scoring though, he has played well and as much as I hate to hear him calling out teammates, it is good to hear him be somewhat of a leader and expect more from those around him.


Guest Passes

Player Week 18 PER Week 17 PER Difference Comment
Maurice Evans 9.2 N/A N/A I didn't see either of his games, but the numbers were solid and I'll give the newbie the benefit of the doubt.
Jordan Crawford 18.2 N/A N/A One bleh game, but then he plays crunch time in a close loss to the hottest team in the league. I liked him in the draft and there is still definitely some potential. The issue is finding enough time on the court between Nick and Jimmy, assuming we re-sign Nick.


Locked Out

Player Week 18 PER Week 17 PER Difference Comment
Nick Young 15.4 15.4 0 An exciting duel with D-Wade, who he always plays well against, is not enough to offset the rest of the week. He looked extremely rusty against the Pacers, and his other performances were not good. That his PER stayed the same shows just how good the 38 point game was.
Andray Blatche 14.9 14.8 0.1 He had a good first quarter against the Pacers, but that's about it for the positives. The injury is not a big deal, but the standard 6-16 shooting performance and 2 rebounds in 29 minutes against the 76ers is not acceptable.
Mike Bibby 1.1 N/A N/A Yes, that PER is correct, he managed a 1.1 in his brief Wizards career to date. He is washed up and doesn't want to be here, so I am completely in favor of a buyout. We could use some veterans to right the ship, but if you don't want to be here, I don't think you are ready to be a leader here.
Cartier Martin 12.5 12.9 -0.4 A bad week for him culminating in 2 DNPs. If Bibby is bought out, he could get back in the lineup though.
Al Thornton 11.8 12.1 -0.3 2 DNPs in the Wizards 2 best efforts of the week is a bad sign. Booker's big game against Philly was a big part of that I'm sure, but I will repeat what I've said before, that his minutes should go to the younger guys. Particularly now, with Jordan Crawford providing a little more scoring, he does not provide anything unique.
Rashard Lewis 13.3 14.2 -0.9 19 points in 4 games, yikes! I still think he can help this offense by providing perimeter shooting for the driving Jimmy, but this week may foreshadow what could be extremely limited minutes for him down the stretch as we try to evaluate the young guys.
Josh Howard 8.9 10.1 -1.2 Maybe he did a few things that weren't in the box score, but the stats are ugly, including an 8.9 PER. Perhaps the team picking it up from 2 awful games to put up decent efforts against the Heat and Mavs can be partly attributed to this team leader, but I have no idea.
JaVale McGee 16.7 17 -0.3 1 good game and 3 awful ones, which seems to have been a trend these past few weeks. The flashes are great, but I'd settle for consistent decent play.
Yi Jianlian 10.5 11.1 -0.6 Seraphin and Booker should take his minutes. I guess if Rashard is going to sit, Yi does provide some perimeter shooting, but I'd still rather see the rookies. Yi is only 23, but he has been in the league long enough and gotten enough chances that I think it is time to say it isn't happening.


Given that I didn't watch 3 of the 4 games, and would have locked everyone out based on the Pacers game, let me know what you think.

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