Keys to the Palace: (Almost) everyone gets locked out

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

That's right. We're bringing back the Palace of Good Play, just in time to tell the Washington Wizards that none of them are allowed inside until they win a damn game.

With the Washington Wizards intent on making their first trip to the postseason since 2008 (insert obligatory "BAHAHAHA" here), we felt it was appropriate to finally revive one of our most popular recurring features. That's right: Keys to the Palace is back. Yyaaaayyyy.

We're going to try and make this a weekly thing. Keys will typically run Monday mornings, except following Sunday night games, in which case Monday will be reserved for postgame features/analysis/venting/screaming, saving Keys for Tuesday. So why is this season's debut of Keys appearing Wednesday morning? Shut up is why.

For those who need the backstory, the name of this feature is derived from this legendary Ed Tapscott quote on Nick Young and his lack of playing time:

"Someone asked me the other day if I have a dog house. I said, '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."

Aren't we all, Ed?

A refresher on how this works:

Goldkey2_medium Each week we'll be handing out Gold Keys to those Wizards whose good play has earned them a rightful spot in the Palace of Good Play. Simple enough, right?

Redlock2_medium On the flip side, those whose play does not earn them a spot in the Palace will instead be locked out of said Palace via our Red Lock of Shame. Following me?

Guestpass_medium Just to make things more confusing, Wizards who we deem worthy of admittance to the Palace but don't trust enough with one of our golden keys will instead receive the Blue Guest Pass of Indifference.

Here's a quick test to make it easier: Have a friend read down the Wizards' roster. If your reaction to a player's name is, "Wooo," that player should get a Goldkey2_medium . If you instead think "Booo," then they'd get a Redlock2_medium. If the first thing that comes to mind is "meh," then that player probably deserves a Guestpass_medium.

Get it? Don't care. Let's get started, first by spoiling your suspense and acknowledging up front that no one gets a Gold Key until the Wizards win a damn game. However, some players have acquitted themselves well enough to at least earn a Guest Pass out of the rain. Which of our lovable Wizards will be locked out in the mud? (Hint: most of them).

We'll list players in descending order, based on their standing on the team.

***


John Wall

#2 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Detroit: 20 points, 11 assists, 2 rebounds in 39 minutes
  • vs. Philadelphia: 26 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds in 34 minutes
  • vs. Miami: 11 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds in 39 minutes

The Big Kahuna. Wall's stats aren't horrible, but anytime the starting point guard, team leader and max-contract player of a team with playoff aspirations starts 0-3, he simply hasn't gotten the job done.

Redlock2_medium


Bradley Beal

#3 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Detroit: 17 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists in 38 minutes
  • vs. Philadelphia: 10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists in 36 minutes
  • vs. Miami: 19 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists in 41 minutes

Along with Wall, Beal represents the future of the franchise. But right now he's struggling, shooting 32 percent and resembling more the scared rookie from a year ago than the rising star who got everyone so excited at the end of last season.

Redlock2_medium


Nene Hilario

#42 / Forward / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Detroit: 12 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist in 30 minutes
  • vs. Philadelphia: DNP (calf injury)
  • vs. Miami: DNP (calf injury)

Many of you are very angry with Nene. Some of us are a little more empathetic. Regardless, the fact is Nene has not helped this team avoid an 0-3 start. Hopefully he's back on the court soon.

Redlock2_medium


Trevor Ariza

#1 / Forward / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Detroit: 28 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists in 38 minutes
  • vs. Philadelphia: 12 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists in 39 minutes
  • vs. Miami: 13 points, 7 rebounds, 0 assists in 30 minutes

He's been doubled off constantly, so you can take his good shooting numbers with a grain of salt, but all that rebounding is nice. Next step is to stop gambling on defense, which ... ha ha ha that's never going to happen.  - Mike Prada

Guestpass_medium


Marcin Gortat

#4 / Center / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Detroit: 9 points, 9 rebounds, 0 assists in 17 minutes
  • vs. Philadelphia: 12 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist in 37 minutes
  • vs. Miami: 15 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist in 32 minutes

He's been really confused trying to pick up the Wizards' defensive schemes, but he's also at least been a decent enough pick and roll man to get a guest pass. Clearly, he doesn't have Emeka Okafor's rim-protection skills, though. - MP

Guestpass_medium


Martell Webster

#9 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Detroit: 5 points, 2 rebounds, 0 assists in 21 minutes
  • vs. Philadelphia: 13 points, 2 rebounds, 0 assists in 24 minutes
  • vs. Miami: 13 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists in 34 minutes

Did you know that the Wall/Beal/Webster combo -- which, may I remind you, outscored opponents by 18.7 points per 100 possessions last season -- has played less than half as many minutes together as the Wall/Beal/Ariza combo? Here's a suggestion: change that. Also kind of nuts: Webster has finished just 11 percent of the Wizards' possessions when he's on the court this season, per Basketball Reference. The bench just isn't able to set him up for threes. - MP

Guestpass_medium


Trevor Booker

#35 / Forward / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Detroit: 2 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists in 20 minutes
  • vs. Philadelphia: 10 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists in 28 minutes
  • vs. Miami: 8 points, 6 rebounds, 0 assists in 22 minutes

The fact that Booker didn't immediately faint when this happened is admirable. But his listing this high is more an indictment against the Wizards' Forward Flotsam than an endorsement of Booker's contributions.

Redlock2_medium


Eric Maynor

#6 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Detroit: 3 points, 1 assist, 2 rebounds in 9 minutes
  • vs. Philadelphia: 4 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds in 14 minutes
  • vs. Miami: 5 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds in 14 minutes

Our final guest pass this week goes to Maynor, who in limited minutes is shooting 56 percent and has yet to commit a turnover. Sure, his numbers are far from staggering, but he's done precisely his job, which is to take care of the ball while Wall rests.

Guestpass_medium


Al Harrington

#7 / Forward / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Detroit: 4 points, 0 rebounds, 1 assist in 18 minutes
  • vs. Philadelphia: 7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist in 16 minutes
  • vs. Miami: 0 points, 0 rebounds, 1 assist in 12 minutes

We expect big things from Harrington this season, but he's off to a rough start, shooting only 21 percent from the field and 14 percent from three. His struggles are understandable given he missed all but 10 games last season with a serious staph infection, but that doesn't gain him admittance to the Palace.

Redlock2_medium


Kevin Seraphin

#13 / Center / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Detroit: 2 points, 1 rebound, 0 assists in 4 minutes
  • vs. Philadelphia: 8 points, 2 rebounds, 0 assists in 11 minutes
  • vs. Miami: 9 points, 1 rebounds, 0 assists in 15 minutes

Seraphin has shot well, making more than 64 percent of his attempts thus far this season, but that's about it. He hasn't rebounded or recorded a single assist, and his defensive awareness is suspect as always.

Redlock2_medium


Garrett Temple

#17 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Detroit: 0 points, 0 rebounds, 1 assist in 5 minutes
  • vs. Philadelphia: 0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists in 1 minutes
  • vs. Miami: 0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists in 0 minutes

Hey, we like Garrett. Really. But he's only taken one shot (a missed three) and hasn't made any other sort of impact, so he gets lumped in with all the others.

Redlock2_medium


Jan Vesely

#24 / Center / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Detroit: DNP (lulz)
  • vs. Philadelphia: DNP (BAHAHA)
  • vs. Miami: DNP (*drink*)

After a somewhat-promising offseason, the former No. 6 pick is in his third year and has yet to see the court. At least he's staying positive. Sigh.

Redlock2_medium


Glen Rice Jr.

#14 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Detroit: DNP (rook)
  • vs. Philadelphia: DNP (just 'cuz)
  • vs. Miami: DNP (ice cream)

Yea yea, it seems a little unfair to lock out a second-round rookie three games into the season. Just consider this part of his rookie hazing. At least we aren't leaving him any voicemails.

Redlock2_medium

We're going to reserve judgment on Otto Porter and Chris Singleton, as both have been injured since before even preseason began. When/if they make it onto the court, we'll decide if they deserve sanctuary.

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