Keys to the Palace: What Matters Most

'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

 

A 1-3 week shouldn't be any reason for excitement, but there is 1 'thing' that can override almost all the losing: the development of John Wall. Specifically, Jimmy has shown remarkable consistency lately.

The team was ravaged by injuries this week, with only 9 players getting more than 15 total minutes in the 4 games(!). The revolving cast around Wall just underscores how great he has been in maintaining a high level of play. His scoring and rebounding has jumped, and the slight decrease in assists is partly due to him needing to take more shots because of all the injuries. He also has gotten back to being a peskier defender and getting more steals.

It is important to see the other young players develop, but what matters first and foremost for this franchise is the development of John Wall. How good he is will be the primary driver in the future success of the Wizards.

Keys to the Palace

Player Week 21 PER Week 20 PER Difference Comment
John Wall 15.1 15.1 0 Let's see....he has become much more consistent, showed a terrific jumpshot in the Nets game, completely took control against NJ, and has a new Reebok commercial. There are all kinds of good things happening here. My wishlist for him down the stretch is to continue showing confidence with the jumpshot, and being a bit more controlled going to the rim in the sense that he should know where his best passing options are as he's driving, rather than making the last second decisions he appears to make (this is also on his teammates to get in good spots).

 

Guest Passes

Player     Difference Comment
Jordan Crawford 12.1 12.1 0 I seriously considered giving him a full Key. This was a very good week for Crawford; he took advantage of the opportunity presented by Young Sushi's health and did score over 20 points in his last 3 games. There are still some problems though: Crawford suffers from the same type of shot selection as Nick (hence him shooting under 50% in every game this week), needs to shoot the 3 better, and should also get to a line a bit more for someone with his athleticism. The good news is that he is a rookie, and the ability is there.
Trevor Booker 15.6 14.7 0.9 Up and down and up and down....His numbers were excellent against Toronto, a ghost against Chicago, and solid/ok against the Nets and Thunder. Numbers don't tell the whole story for him though, which is why he still gets a Guest Pass. He needs to take a page from Jimmy and become a bit more consistent, and not allow himself to have those low impact games. I think he is about 1 week away from having the bar raised a little higher - this performance next week would likely get him locked out.
JaVale McGee 16.9 16.5 0.4 Looking back, he wasn't outstanding in any games (even against Chicago), but clearly had a good week. One point I particularly like is his minutes picking up to where they should be for our best big man. He wasn't great against the Nets, but was at least efficient in going 8-for-9. The team and he are taking a lot of flack for running plays to get him a triple-double, but let's not forget he had an insane 12 blocked shots! If he can combine that kind of shot blocking and rebounding presence with playing within the offense (meaning just dunks, layups, and putbacks), he could finally be reach his potential.
Maurice Evans 8.8 7.3 1.5 I wavered between a Guest Pass and locking him out, but the last 2 games were solid efforts, and he gets extra points for saving his best effort for a close win over the Nets. I also like his offensive positioning in spacing the floor for Jimmy, even if he isn't a feared shooter.

 

Locked Out

Player     Difference Comment
Yi Jianlian 9.9 9.9 0 I know, he had the clutch steal against NJ, but in a 1-3 week he didn't do anything exciting. He mostly benefited from the injuries, which made him just about our only PF (counting Booker at SF). The 14 and 6 against Chicago was nice, but he shot 40% or less in the other 3 games and only 8 rebounds in 69 minutes over the last 2 games.
Hamady Ndiaye 6.8 0 6.8 He barely qualifies for my arbitrary threshold of at least 15 minutes with a whopping 19 this week. Just getting minutes was enough to earn him a Key last week, but the bar has no been raised and Ndiaye didn't do anything of note in these past 4 games. I did find out his birthday is 1 day before mine, so there's that....
Nick Young 14.7 14.9 -0.2 Nick only played in 1 game this week, and it was a 4-16 outing against OKC. Not even Rook can argue this one......Between the knee and flu, he hasn't been right, so let's hope he has a strong finish to this season.
Kevin Seraphin 8.3 8 0.3 A low minute and low impact week for the young big man. After a solid 22 minutes against OKC, he barely played in the past 3 games. It appears that JaVale's increased minutes may be directly affecting his opportunities, but in the words of Keyshawn Johnson and company, "Come on man!" Particularly with this team rendered shorthanded by injuries, I have a hard time stomaching a developmental player averaging about 6 mpg in our past 3 contests.

 

NOTE: Andray Blatche, Nick Young, Rashard Lewis, Josh Howard, Cartier Martin, Mustafa Shakur, and Othyus Jeffers 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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