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Keys to the Palace

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Last week, we got an e-mail from user ledellforlife asking if we could do a weekly segment in the same vein as Japers' Rink's Capital Ups and Downs. After some brainstorming and tinkering, we are proud to unveil the first installment.

Most of you probably know that the title refers to Ed Tapscott's famous response to why Nick Young wasn't getting playing time last season. In case you don't remember, here's the quote:

"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."

Goldkey2_medium Each week, we'll be handing out golden keys to the players whose good play has earned them the right to stay in the Palace of Good Play. Each player who makes it inside the Palace will be rewarded with the Gold Key to the Palace of Good Play.

Redlock2_medium Likewise, those who do not play well enough to enter the Palace of Good Play will receiver their own logo. Their scarlet letter will come in the form of the Red Lock of Shame.

After the jump, we'll take a look at each player on the roster to see who gets to stay in the Palace, and who will be forced to sleep in the cold.


Gilbert Arenas

#0 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Boston: 25 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds in 41 minutes
  • vs. Indiana: 22 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds in 35 minutes

It's hard to deny entrance to the palace for someone who recorded a triple-double and played a solid week of basketball, but those free throws are going to stick out in people's minds until he can prove that he can hit clutch shots again.

Final Verdict

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Andray Blatche

#7 / Forward / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Boston: 17 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists in 26 minutes
  • vs. Indiana: 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 assists in 19 minutes


There were questions about how Andray Blatche would adjust after Antawn Jamison returned. So far, he's done a magnifcent job of showing that he can still be productive in a more limited role. Maybe it would have been premature to do so earlier this season, but I think we can finally give kudos to Blatche for finally turning the corner.

Final Verdict

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Earl Boykins

#12 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Boston: 2 points, 3 assists in 12 minutes
  • vs. Indiana: 14 points, 2 assists in 19 minutes

After playing the shortest amount of time he has played all season against the Celtics, Boykins saw his playing time rebound to the norm against Indiana. Fortunately for Earl, it looks like his diminished PT was just an abberation and he will continue to be a key reserve for the team moving forward. Unfortunately, his playing time was the only rebound he collected all of last week.

Final Verdict

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Caron Butler

#3 / Forward / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Boston: 10 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists in 41 minutes
  • vs. Indiana: 23 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists in 38 minutes

Saturday night's game against Indiana was the first game this season where Caron took over 15 shots and hit over half of them. Although they lost on Saturday, it is the most comfortable the Big 3 have looked playing together all season long. Caron holds the key to getting the Big 3, and in turn, the rest of the team in sync, but I'm not ready to give him the key to the palace just yet.

Final Verdict

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Javaris Crittenton

#8 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Boston: DNP - Injured
  • vs. Indiana: DNP - Injured

One has to wonder if the presence of Earl Boykins hasn't totally eliminated Javaris Crittenton from the picture. Nick Young has been in and out of the doghouse all season long and the team picked up his option, unlike Crittenton. If he can't find a way to contribute early on, don't be surprised to see those DNP - Injureds to into DNP - Coach's Decisions once he comes back.

Final Verdict

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Randy Foye

#15 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Boston: 6 points, 3 rebounds in 13 minutes
  • vs. Indiana: 0 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound in 7 minutes

You have to wonder if Randy Foye feels a little bit like Wally Pipp, watching as the player who was supposed to just be an injury replacement end up taking most of his playing time. Then again, when you hurry up an off-balance three pointer with 8 seconds left because you didn't realize how much time you had left, it's hard to pass blame off on someone else.

Final Verdict

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Brendan Haywood

#33 / Center / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Boston: 17 points, 8 rebounds in 35 minutes
  • vs. Indiana: 6 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assists in 35 minutes

It's a good thing that Haywood's play speaks for itself, because his blog was not doing a very good job. While insightful at times, his controversial takes on some issues (most notably the Tiger Woods fiasco) got him in some hot water and he has decided to pull a Gilbert Arenas and retire from the blogging game.

Final Verdict

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Mike James

#13 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Boston: DNP -Injured
  • vs. Indiana: DNP - Injured

He might be injured, and he might be on the trading block, but he's still a bbbeeeeeaaaaasssssttttt.

Final Verdict

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Antawn Jamison

#4 / Forward / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Boston: 16 points, 8 rebounds in 35 minutes
  • vs. Indiana: 20 points, 7 rebounds in 45 minutes

Antawn Jamison is more consistent than you are, he's tougher too.

Final Verdict

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JaVale McGee

#34 / Center / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Boston: 0 points, 0 rebounds in 3 minutes
  • vs. Indiana: 0 points, 0 rebounds in less than a minute

JaVale McGee made sure the void for a blogging presence from a Wizards center did not last for long. In his latest entry, he told readers:

So really really the point of this blog secretly is to dare anyone with a Ps3 to a challenge on Call of Duty Modern Warefare 2.

I seriously think i'm one of the best in that game, let alone the NBA.

This should be interesting.

Final Verdict

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Dominic McGuire

#5 / Forward / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Boston: DNP - Coach's Decision
  • vs. Indiana: 4 rebounds, 1 assist in 6 minutes

After receiving a nice palm to the face on Thursday, Taser responded with a solid performance in limited minutes against Indiana. We'll see if his solid rebounding and positive +/- are enough to get him some more burn in the future.

Final Verdict

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Mike Miller

#6 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Boston: DNP - Injured
  • vs. Indiana: DNP - Injured

Odds are, if Mike was playing he would have a key to the palace, but I just can't give him a key for looking nice in a suit. Maybe if he got a haircut I would reconsider.

Final Verdict

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Fabricio Oberto

#21 / Forward / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Boston: 1 assist, 3 fouls in under 2 minutes
  • vs. Indiana: DNP - Coach's Decision

Remember when this guy was starting games this season?

Final Verdict

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DeShawn Stevenson

#2 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Boston: 5 points, 0 assists in 15 minutes
  • vs. Indiana: 2 points, 3 assists, 4 rebounds in 19 minutes

Starting DeShawn Stevenson might bethe key to creating a balance between Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler. In the two games Stevenson has started, Gilbert has averaged 21.5 points per game and Caron has averaged 21. Then again, the Wizards have lost both games he has started, so maybe it isn't worth exploring any further.

Final Verdict

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Nick Young

#1 / Guard / Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Boston: 4 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound in 11 minutes
  • vs. Indiana: 1- points, 2 rebounds in 13 minutes

Flip has been tough with Nick Young this season. He has put him in the doghouse a few times for poor play, but he has also been fair in giving him chances to work his way out. His recent stretch of strong play makes it appear that the hard work is paying off.

Final Verdict

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Flip Saunders

Coach - Washington Wizards

This Week

  • vs. Boston: Lost to Boston 104-102
  • vs. Indiana:

The start of the year hasn't gone the way Flip would have wanted or expected, but there are still some bad habits that he has to break the team of before they can truly move forward. The good news is that he is doing a good job of starting to break the team of their worst bad habit, sloppy defense.

Final Verdict

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