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Keys To The Palace: Near Triple Double? You Can Stay As Long As You Want

Based on the response to last week's Keys To The Palace, not everyone was thrilled with all the changes, so we're making a few more tweaks this week. Changes in PER will no longer be the deciding factor in whether or not someone gets to stay or leave the palace. Subjectivity will once again reign supreme, but we'll still be keeping track of fluctuations in PER from week to week, because it still does provide a general framework for how a player is performing on the offensive end from week to week. 

Hopefully this creates a happier balance moving forward, if not, please voice your concerns. No evaluation method is perfect, but we'd like to create something worth creating some good discussion about individual players' performances from week to week. All input is appreciated.

After the jump, we'll take a look back at a week that included our first great performance of the season, the first clutch shot, the team's first back-to-back and of course, the first Dougie of the new season.

Keys to the Palace

Player Week 2 PER Week 1 PER Difference Comment
Andray Blatche 13.8 7.6 6.2 He struggled through most of the game on Tuesday against Philadelphia, but getting the opportunity to give the Wizards the win in overtime gave him a much need confidence boost for the rest of the week. He's still not completely back to form, but his strong start against the Knicks, and his 15 rebound performance in the second game of a back-to-back are very good signs.
Al Thornton 17.7 21.9 -4.2 Thornton continues deliver solid performance after solid performance. At this point in his career, his weaknesses (such as passing) aren't going to get much better, but he is continuing to improve in the areas where he can make positive contributions. He's grabbed at least six rebounds in each game this season and has been super efficient at the rim, with eFG% of 82.3 percent. The cynic in me thinks that percentage will fall back to earth soon, but as long as that stays up, he'll continue to have a spot in the palace.
John Wall 16.1 19.8 -3.7 Just remember, Peyton Manning led the NFL in turnovers his rookie season and he didn't turn out so bad.
Gilbert Arenas 18.2 0 18.2 Lots of encouraging signs in Arenas' first two games back from injury. He's been incredibly efficient beyond the arc, hitting 7 of his 14 attempts. However, things get worse inside the three point line. Of the other 13 shots he's attempted, only three came within 10 feet of the rim. Hopefully, as he gets back into shape, he'll get better at taking shots near the rim, or else he will become a very expensive Boobie Gibson.
Cartier Martin 18.2 23.1 -4.9 Believe it or not, Martin has cracked the ten minute mark since his impressive performance against Orlando in the season opener, and didn't even get off the bench against Cleveland. He's still playing effectively with the minutes he's being given, but we shouldn't let one strong outing in a blowout and a nice shot to force OT against Philadelphia build him up into a player he isn't. That said, any shot that leads to extra basketball is worth a key in my book.

Palace Guest Passes

Player Week 2 PER Week 1 PER Difference Comment
JaVale McGee 14.3 14.7 -0.4 For the first time this season, McGee played more than 25 minutes and responded with his best performance of the season and his first double-double. Hopefully, he can continue to build on this -- because let's face it -- there's no one this roster who should be playing more than 15 minutes at center other than McGee.
Kirk Hinrich 11.6 10.4 1.2 For someone that's supposed to be a stabilizing force on the court, Hinrich had a very up and down week. His 8 point, 9 assist performance fell under the radar because of John Wall's ridiculous stats, and he played well against Cleveland, knocking down shots from long range efficiently ans posting a plus/minus of +12. However, he just didn't have anything going for him against the Knicks. We shouldn't expect games like we saw on Saturday against Cleveland, but when he plays like he did against the Knicks, blowouts won't be far behind.

Locked Out

Player Week 2 PER Week 1 PER Difference Comment
Hilton Armstrong 3.7 -9.8 13.5 Armstrong played better than you probably think he did this week, but not quite as well as Flip Saunders probably thinks he did. He had the best plus/minus of all Wizards in the Knicks game and did some positive things against Philadelphia, but he really had no business playing the 15 minutes he did against Cleveland.
Nick Young 12.5 2.7 9.8 Young's PER spiked this week, based on his blazing performance against the Sixers, but his overall week wasn't great. He only attempted one shot within 15 feet of the rim, had no assists and only snagged three rebounds all week. Worse yet, he racked up a plus/minus of -30 in only 21 minutes of action against New York and Cleveland.
Lester Hudson -18.6 -24.5 5.9 File under "Nowhere to go but up." Hudson played two minutes, scored no points, recorded no assists and did not grab a rebound. This was good enough to raise his PER by nearly six full points.
Yi Jianlian 6.2 4.3 1.9 Jianlian played 48 minutes and only grabbed 6 rebounds this week. That's not going to cut it, especially when he's not shooting well, only making 6 of his 18 field goal attempts. The good news is that he was able to get to the line a few times this week, but he needs to create a lot more of those opportunities if he wants a key.
Trevor Booker 11.3 21 -9.7 Booker played exactly 120 seconds this week and somehow managed to pull in a plus/minus of -12. Things can only go up from here, I suppose.


Note: Josh Howard, Hamady Ndiaye and Kevin Seraphin are not listed since none of them received playing time this week.