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Keys To The Palace: Wall And Yi Shine In An Uneven Week For The Wizards

Let's start with the positives from the week:

  • As you may have heard, someone had a historic triple-double (and no, it wasn't Hambone Williams).
  • No double-digit losses! Sure, the Wizards two wins have come by a combined eight points, but at least there were no soul-crushing defeats, which is nice.
  • Arenas went off for 30 points against Chicago. The last time he went for 30 was December 28, 2009. After that game, Mike Jones tweeted "This time last year Washington was 5-23 without Arenas and Haywood. They have those 2 plus Jamison and Butler and have only four more wins." Boy, last year sure was fun, wasn't it?

The negatives?

  • Rebounding.
  • Pretty much everything that wasn't mentioned in the positives, but especially rebounding.

After the jump, we'll take a look at each player's performance this week, including Yi's block party, Young's hatred of shots within 15 feet and a harsh reminder of how quickly one can go from being a beacon of hope to being buried deep on the bench.

Keys to the Palace


Week 3 PER Week 2 PER Difference Comment
Yi Jianlian 10.1 6.2 3.9 Watching Yi come through with a strong game against countrymate Yao Ming with 13 points, 7 rebounds and four blocks wasn't a surprise. Watching him follow it up with a six block performance against Charlotte was. Whenever you can increase your season block totals by 600 percent, you get a key, no questions asked.
John Wall 18.5 16.1 2.4 Wall's ability to learn quickly might be an even more important part of his game than his ability to run the court quickly. After committing six or more turnovers in all three of his games last week, he only committed six turnovers all week against Houston, Charlotte and Chicago.

Palace Guest Passes

Player Week 3 PER Week 2 PER Difference Comment
Kirk Hinrich 11.7 11.6 0.1 For the first time this season, we got a consistent look at the player we expected to see this season; nothing overwhelming, but he chipped in with timely shots, got some nice assists, grabbed a few rebounds and save for his six turnovers against Houston, played realtively mistake-free ball this week.
Hilton Armstrong 7.2 3.7 3.5 Armstrong is doing everything you could ask him to do, within the boundaries of his skill set and as the yin to JaVale McGee's yang. As long as he continues to lead the Wizards in rebounding rate, he'll keep finding ways to get on the floor. If debating whether or not to give him a key makes me a bad person, so be it.
Nick Young 13.9 12.5 1.4 The good news: Nick Young's effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage are the highest of his career this season. The bad: He's sporting career lows in assist percentage and has only attempted four shots within 15 feet of the rim all season.

Locked Out

Player Week 3 PER Week 2 PER Difference Comment
JaVale McGee 16.3 14.3 2 Flip Saunders' criticisms of McGee's weakness after Friday's game were spot on. It's encouraging to see that he's taking the committment to rebounding to heart, but hopefully he understands there is more to being a great defender than cleaning the glass.
Trevor Booker 12 11.3 0.7 After only playing 16 minutes all season, he got 18 against the Bulls, though part of that was because of Yi's injury. His biggest contribution against Chicago came in the assist department, where he racked up four in limited time. While Yi recovers, Booker has to show Saunders he can contribute on the boards, especially in the wake of Friday's debacle in order to keep a spot in the rotation.
Gilbert Arenas 12.5 18.2 -5.7 One scoring blitz against Chicago doesn't make up for a week of incredibly inefficient shooting. Over this week's three games Arenas only shot 32.5 percent from the field. Oddly enough, he didn't have a negative plus/minus in any game this week, but that shouldn't mask that the area where Arenas is going to be doing most of his damage is behind the three point line, either for the Wizards or their opponent.
Al Thornton 12.5 17.7 -5.2 Most, if not all of Thornton's struggles can be explained away by the stomach virus he dealt with this week. His sluggish defense and spotty jumper should go away as he gets the bugs out of his system.
Andray Blatche 13.8 13.8 0 Blatche's knee, in addition to Chicago's stout frontline, gave Blatche fits on Saturday, but on the whole, it was a solid week at the office. You can still see the signs that he isn't all the way back just yet, but the good news is he seems to be comfortable with his role, which should make his recovery much smoother for himself and the rest of the team.
Cartier Martin 16.8 18.2 -1.4 Even with Al Thornton dealing with a stomach virus and Yi injured, Martin only managed to get 4:33 of playing time this week. Worse yet, that playing time came against Houston, rather than Charlotte or Chicago where he could have spelled Thornton or Yi. As Flip begins to get more comfortable with his rotation, it appears as though Martin won't be logging steady minutes each night. It's hard to imagine the player who led the team in scoring on opening night and delivered arguably the best play of the season is stuck at the end of the bench, but such is the life of a team on the wrong side of the playoff picture.