As recently as two weeks ago, it was widely accepted that Ernie Grunfeld, the smart GM that he is, would cut ties with free-agent-to-be Jarvis Hayes after the season. After all, Hayes was shooting below 40 percent from the field, and he still has the third-worst net plus/minus on the team. With DeShawn Stevenson and Andray Blatche up for free agency as well, and the team pushing very close to the luxury tax threshold, it would probably have been an incredibly dumb thing to re-sign Jarvis and his two bad knees.
But in these last couple weeks, Jarvis is playing better ball than he's played in a very long time. It started even before Gil and Caron went down, but it has continued since their injuries.
Even Hayes' inconsistent shot has significantly improved recently.
You could legitimately make the argument that holding Jarvis out of the first three minutes of the overtime period against the Nets cost the Wizards the game. There was a long stretch where the Wizards just couldn't get any good looks, and while the Nets weren't lighting it up either, they were getting much better looks on the other end. Without Hayes to stretch the defense, the Nets were sagging down low and cutting off all sorts of penetration.
And it's not like Hayes has only been making an impact on the offensive end. He did a very good job on LeBron James Friday night, holding him to 7 of 23 from the field. He wasn't the only one that guarded LeBron, but his rotations were sound off the ball.
There's probably nobody on the team that benefited more from the loss of Arenas and Butler than Jarvis. Before, with Arenas and Butler dominating the ball, it seemed like Jarvis was rushing all his shots. His shot selection was, to be nice, awful. When he got the ball, he shot it, whether it be a 20 foot fadeaway or a wide-open three. It was like he was afraid he would never get the ball back, and he couldn't contribute unless he scored. Recently, however, Hayes is showing much better restraint, and is moving the ball when he doesn't have a look. Naturally, his shooting percentage has gone up, and he's contributing more on both ends.
This is a small sample of games, so I doubt Ernie is thinking Jarvis has to be there next year based simply off the last couple weeks. But if this continues, and Jarvis keeps contributing like he has been throughout the rest of the year, do you try to keep him? I wouldn't, but at least it's a legitimate question now.