I wouldn't trade Kevin Seraphin for JaVale McGee at this point.
Of course, this isn't really about the trade, but how about the second-year pro? Twenty-four points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots are impressive enough, but Seraphin also played unbelievable defense on the pick and roll, stopping Orlando's dribble penetration at the point of attack. Watching him from last year to this year is like night and day. What an unbelievable performance from a guy who continues to grow every night.
Sure, Orlando was undermanned. We shouldn't go too crazy over this one. But all in all, this was the most impressive performance since Nene and Trevor Booker got hurt. Doing it against a woeful team like Charlotte is one thing. Doing it against a well-coached unit like Orlando is another. The Wizards weren't perfect, but they made mistakes because of lack of talent, not lack of discipline or inattention to detail.
More notes below the jump:
- Found it interesting that Glen Davis was jumping out to hedge hard on Wall's first pick and roll. Before the game, Stan Van Gundy said Wall's jumper had improved, even though it has been very bad recently. On that play, Wall made a nice pass to Kevin Seraphin that ended up in a blocking foul. Hey, if the Magic want to guard Wall that way, I'm sure he'd be happy.
- Missed layups by Seraphin and Jan Vesely early were very bad.
- The Magic really killed the Wizards on secondary fast breaks. By pitching the ball ahead, Orlando forced the Wizards to cross-match. On one play, Jameer Nelson dribbled up, and in the confusion that ensued, Chris Singleton ended up guarding him. Singleton, as he sometimes does, sunk too far under a ball screen and Nelson nailed a wide-open three-pointer. That's smart work by the Magic and somewhat undisciplined stuff from Washington.
- J.J. Redick offers a perfect model for Jordan Crawford. While Crawford keeps running around searching for plays, Redick runs the Magic's stuff and trusts that if he does his part, good things will happen. I'm not surprised Redick lit up Crawford. He made smart decisions, ran him ragged and didn't play outside of the team setting.
- Seraphin's touch was really good in the second quarter, even if he traveled on both shots. One nugget: before the game, I noticed Sam Cassell working with Seraphin on using his body as leverage to get to the spot he wanted with his left hand. It was a mirror image of the second hook shot Seraphin hit in the quarter. Shows some of the other things Cassell does besides work with Wall.
- The second unit is a much better shooting unit, and what do you know, the Wizards actually can run some secondary breaks! I still don't get how this organization fails to comprehend the value of creating spacing.
- The problem with guarding the Magic comes when you don't cut off dribble penetration. If you let the point guard get into the lane, you have no chance because they spread the floor with shooters. Cut off the ball-handler, and things slow down. Ish Smith is quick, but he shouldn't be getting into the lane so easily. That allowed the Magic to keep moving ahead.
- The Magic still were trapping Wall on pick and roll instead of laying off. I'm honestly a bit confused about why. They played Jordan Crawford a little softer, and Crawford made them pay with a couple nice passes for layups.
- Seraphin with some very nice defense on one possession. First, he cut off Jameer Nelson's drive after he declined the screen. Then, he recovered to body Davis in the post. Next, he pulled the chair to get Davis off-balanced. Finally, when Davis recovered, Seraphin held his ground and forced a fadeaway miss. If he defends like that consistently, I'll excuse the so-so rebounding.
- The Magic never really doubled Seraphin in the post, which surprised me.
- Ryan Anderson kept sneaking inside of Vesely for offensive rebounds. Part of this is Vesely, but a lot of it is Anderson being smart diving to the rim even when he's not getting the ball. Still, other guys will do this to Vesely. He can't just stand there as it happens.
- Jordan Crawford got hot and the Wizards rode him. This happens sometimes.
- Chris Singleton is really weak in his shoulders, which hurts him when he tries to get them by the defender when he tries to drive. He'd do well to study Cartier Martin, who, after developing some strength, does a really nice job of throwing his shoulders past the primary defender to get to the basket. Singleton needs that in his game.
- Wizards defended pretty well in the third quarter, but Orlando also missed a lot of threes, and with Dwight Howard out, that's their primary source of offense.
- Man, Ish Smith is quick.
- Shelvin Mack, on the other hand, does plenty of things well, but is not quick.
- The value of having Martin and James Singleton on the second unit is that they don't step out of line. I know we've said this several times, but it always bears mentioning. Martin is always there spotting up for three, and Singleton is always fighting on the boards.
- Another great example: Singleton staying low and taking away Anderson's ability to leap on the offensive glass. Great box out, great work getting into Anderson's legs.
- John Wall's block on Jameer Nelson was a direct result of Seraphin sliding his feet to cut off Nelson's drive to the basket. By angling Nelson off, Seraphin allowed Wall to recover back and get the rejection. That's the kind of thing JaVale McGee was never capable of doing.
- Wall's on-ball defense needs to improve. He doesn't do enough of his work early.
- But when he does, he can be a terror. Just has to do it more consistently.
- I imagine Wall will be hearing about the shot he took with three minutes left with the Wizards up seven. Very bad decision.
- He made up for it though with a really tough crosscourt pass to Crawford for the dagger three-pointer with 1:21 left. My heart sank for a second because he jump-passed, but the ball got there and Crawford hit a big shot. All the credit in the world to him.