Keys to the Palace: Good Riddance and Excitement

'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

Another Wizards season in the books, and I must say - good riddance.

I know, I know, I watch and analyze everything about this team, so I shouldn't  show distaste for last season. That said, I want to win  witness a Wizards championship, and this is a part of the process that is not as enjoyable as the latter stages. Even Ted Leonsis has admitted that this is a rough part of the process.

Ah, but the fact that we have a very general plan and this team really picked up it's play in the last couple weeks are reasons for excitement. We had to bottom out before moving forward, and every season in the near future will be better than this one.

I know a lockout looms, so in the general fan sense I am dreading the offseason, but from a Wizards perspective, there are many reasons for excitement.

Keys to the Palace

Player Week 25 PER Week 24 PER Difference Comment
John Wall 15.8 15.6 0.2 It is fitting that he is the only player to get a full Key in the season's final week. He only shot 5-for-17 against the Celts, but shot 15 free throws (making 14) to lead the team to victory and his 10-5-4-4-1 line with no fouls and 1 turnover in 24 minutes against the Cavs is awesome. I think he at least met everyone's expectations this season, and the only reason he hasn't been a bigger story nationwide is Blake Griffin having an even better year. Other young PGs have taken a huge leap forward in year 2, so lets hope Wall can do the same and show that he is the franchise cornerstone we need.

 

Guest Passes

Player     Difference Comment
Andray Blatche 16.9 16.8 0.1 Even though he fouled out in 29 minutes against Boston, this was another good week. Was it health that limited him earlier this year? Was he invigorated by having the D-Leagues and Mo Evans around? Can he only stay intense for short periods? I have a TON of questions about Dray right now. I can't see him being traded this offseason mostly because we don't have another PF who can start, but his stock is relatively high right now.
JaVale McGee 17.4 17.3 0.1 He had an okay game against a Boston team that is soft in the middle, and then a solid game in limited minutes against the Cavs. I am not sure what to make of his season. I had incredibly high expectations and thought this would be his breakout season and while there was improvement, there was not a that breakout. His defense is clearly the most exciting development, as he was 2nd in the league in blocked shots per game and was a menacing presence. Next year I expect big things.......
Maurice Evans 10.9 10.7 0.2 He had one awful shooting game and one great, so I think Guest Pass is safe. Looking ahead to free agency, I think Arron Afflalo could be a great long-term piece, but if we can't get him, I think a veteran '3 and D' SF is the way to go. To that end, Shane Battier is appealing, but I have no problem with Mo coming back to be the veteran leader of the team. I can't ignore the fact that he was lovingly mobbed by his Hawks teammates because he was such a locker room favorite.
Yi Jianlian 10.1 9.8 0.3 Games with 10 and 12 rebounds are what get him a Guest Pass despite a couple poor shooting nights. Unfortunately, the Guest Pass is how I would describe his time in DC, a I can't see him back in DC next year and believe this will go down as a 1 year tryout.
Othyus Jeffers 13.7 13.7 0 A week of what we've come to expect to from O, but as I described last week his contributions to this team go beyond the box score. He has a chance to be here next year, although a couple high draft picks won't make that an easy task. At the very least, I hope the hard work and hustle he has seemed to instill in this team lives on.

 

Locked Out

Player     Difference Comment
Larry Owens 11 14.9 -3.9 His performance in Cleveland was that of someone extremely nervous; his shot was all over the place. I appreciate the energy and time in DC, but don't see him back here next year.
Mustafa Shakur 6.8 6.7 0.1 He barely passed the minutes threshold to qualify for this week, and did not perform well in shooting 4-for-13 in his 1 game. I do like that he plays with a ton of confidence despite being a fringe guy playing for his job. Even if Young Sushi is back next year, the team will likely want a 4th guard on the roster, so I wouldn't be shocked to see him on the team.
Kevin Seraphin 8.4 8.3 0.1 8 fouls in 38 minutes of play, at least 1 moving pick, and nothing exciting to offset what was more of the same. Don't get me wrong, he has exceeded most of our expectations. It was unclear he was even coming to the US when the Wiz drafted him, and the initial scouting reports were that he was incredibly raw, so the fact that he could play in the NBA and show some budding skills is fantastic. I am curious as to what would happen if the Wiz end up drafting Enes Kanter.
Jordan Crawford 12.6 13.8 -1.2 2-for-14 against the Cavs, and 17 points on 19 shots against Boston is all you need to know. Looking back, I think he played his best ball in the 2 games subbing for Wall as our PG. The relatively bad week does not overshadow what has been a terrific time with the Wizards for JC. I am excited to see how he meshes with Wall and Young Sushi.

 

NOTE: Rashard Lewis, Josh Howard, Nick Young, Hamady Ndiaye, and Trevor Booker 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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