April 4, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards head coach Randy Wittman (right) talks with Washington Wizards forward Kevin Seraphin (13) on the sidelines against the Indiana Pacers in the second half at Verizon Center. The Pacers won 109-96. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
In a stretch where very little has gone right for the Wizards, the play of Kevin Seraphin since the All-Star Break has been a bright light. After being buried on the bench earlier in the year, Seraphin has responded to his opportunity to play. Since the All-Star break, he's averaging 10.2 points per game on 57.6 percent shooting from the field and a 58.8-percent true shooting percentage. It's been enough for Deron Snyder of the Washington Times to declare that the Wizards got a third new player when it traded for Nene.
This all begs the question: how good can Seraphin become in the future? Ultimately, that's a tricky question to answer.The good news is that Seraphin has made incredible strides. Last year, he was barely a rotation player, lost in the speed of the game. This year, however, he's found a couple areas where he can contribute and has focused on those.
Mostly, Seraphin has decided to become a very good post-up player. In the first half of the season, Seraphin got 18 post-up attempts, according to MySynergySports.com. He scored or drew a foul on just four of them. Since the all-star break, though, Seraphin has scored or been fouled on 25 of his 47 post-up touches, good for 53 percent. He always had pretty good touch with his right hand, but he's developed a nice lefty hook and a drop step to throw at teams. He's also become more composed, committing just eight turnovers in those 47 touches, as opposed to four in his first 18. All that helps explain why he's shooting 73.1 percent around the rim this year, according to HoopData.
By playing to his strengths, Seraphin has made himself valuable. However, there has been one troubling sign worth noting: Seraphin's rebounding decline.
For the year, Seraphin's rebound percentage is 14.2 percent. That's barely above average for a power forward and well below average for a center. However, since getting more playing time, Seraphin is actually rebounding even less. His rebound percentage since the all-star break is all the way down at just 12.2 percent, and he's only grabbed 118 rebounds in 508 minutes as opposed to 95 rebounds in 343 minutes before the all-star break. It is worth noting that the Wizards as a team have rebounded significantly better with Seraphin on the floor this season, but it's too early to tell whether that's because of Seraphin himself or because of the ineptitude of JaVale McGee, the man he was often replacing.
There are other areas you'd also like to see Seraphin develop. He still hasn't seen many double teams in the post, and you know those are coming if he continues to score efficiently against single coverage. It'll also really help his game if he can at least become a passable shooter from 15 feet. But these are flaws Seraphin can develop. The lack of rebounding is a bit more troublesome.
Where does that leave Seraphin going forward? I decided to do a scan of big men under 22 who were simultaneously efficient shooters (TS% over 55) and bad rebounders (a rebound percentage below 13). There's a mix of talents on this list. On the bright side, you have all-star caliber players like Chris Webber and Tom Chambers. On the downside, you also have guys like David Harrison and Eddy Curry. You also have Nene in there, which shouldn't be too surprising given the obvious similarities between the two players' styles.
All this is to say that we really don't know where Seraphin will end up. Right now, he ultimately strikes me as a good reserve player -- limited, but effective and able to help his team win. To get to the next level, Seraphin will have to add more elements to his game, much like Nene did as he developed in Denver.
Worse comes to worse, the Wizards should have a pretty good third or fourth big man for the duration of his rookie contract. Given the presence of Nene, that's not bad to have.