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Keys To The Palace: Rookies Take The Spotlight In A Rough Week At The Office

It was a good week to be a big man going up against the Wizards this week. Pau Gasol got the fun started with a 21 points, 14 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 blocks on Tuesday. Jason Thompson followed up the next night with 22 points and 14 rebounds while compiling a plus/minus of +45. Then, Amar'e Stoudemire capped it off with a 36 and 10 on Friday night. This week? The Wiz get Pau Gasol again, Brook Lopez and Chris Bosh, so things won't be getting any easier.

If there's one positive out of this week's action, it's that we got to see all three of the Wizards' first round picks show some promising signs for the future.

Keys To The Palace

Player Week 7 PER Week 6 PER Difference Comment
John Wall 17.3 17.1 0.2 22 points, 14 assists, 5 assists and 3 blocks against the defending champs? That will earn a key to the palace every single week.
Kevin Seraphin 4.5 2.6 1.9 Seraphin's starting nod against the Kings had more to say about JaVale McGee's performance than the rookie's. That said, he did show some positive signs against the Lakers, and to a lesser extent, the Kings. He's not starting material, but if he can continue bring a toughness and focus that McGee has lacked at times, that's a positive for the team moving forward.
Trevor Booker 12.5 11.1 1.4 Booker followed up his gangbuster performance against the Suns with another dandy against the Lakers. After impressing against the defending champs, Booker wasn't able to rekindle the magic in Sacramento or back home against the Knicks. He's a nice change of pace player to bring off the bench, when his role is simplified, but he's not quire ready for big minutes just yet.


Guest Passes

Player Week 7 PER Week 6 PER Difference Comment
Kirk Hinrich 13 12.3 0.7 Hinrich had two solid outings against the Kings and Knicks. He got to the line, knocked down his open shots and chipped in with usual glue guy stuff in both games. Save for his five turnovers against Sacramento, you couldn't ask for much more in those two games. If he played that well against the Lakers, the Wizards might have been able pull out the victory at the Staples Center. Instead we had to settle for the Hinrich Shake
Cartier Martin 14.7 14.5 0.2 Considering the team has been outscored by 184 points this season, it's pretty remarkable that Martin still has a positive plus/minus on the season, isn't it?
Gilbert Arenas 14.2 14.5 -0.3 Arenas gets kudos for having one of his more consistent, if not particularly dazzling, weeks of the season. However it's hard to give someone anything more than a guest pass when you let Beno Udrih go off for 23 points and 6 assists.
Nick Young 16.8 17.2 -0.4 Over the course of his career, Young has averaged 9.4 points per game shooting 43.9 percent from the field, 38.7 percent from three and 80.8 percent from the stripe. Against the Lakers, Young has averaged 18.3 points per game, shooting 54.2 percent from the field, 53.8 percent beyond the arc and 85.7 percent from the stripe. Hey Western Conference superpowers, if you need a Laker-killer, you know who to call.

Locked Out

Player Week 7 PER Week 6 PER Difference Comment
Andray Blatche 14.5 14.6 -0.1 Playing 40 minutes in your first game back from a hip contusion against the fast-paced Knicks is a tall order, but he held his own out there. He only had five rebounds, but hey, he could have done that with a healthy hip, so I would be too worried about any lingering issues there.
Al Thornton 10.4 10.5 -0.1 Thornton's 20 point performance against the Kings was reason for some hope in what's been a down month for him. However, he only made two of his ten shots against the Lakers and Knicks and continues to lose playing time. His 33 minutes against Sacramento was the first game he played over 20 minutes in since November 21.
Hilton Armstrong 9.7 10.4 -0.7 Hilton Armstrong played 3 minutes and 28 seconds against the Kings and finished with plus/minus of -12. That may have played into why he got the ol' DNP-CD against the Knicks.
JaVale McGee 19.3 20.2 -0.9 Rough week for McGee, to say the least. He gets benched after a weak performance against the Lakers and then he embarrassed himself on a missed dunk against the Kings. But hey, at least he doesn't have a sex tape. Count your blessings, Wizards fans. 
Yi Jianlian 9.6 10.5 -0.9 Yi played 55 minutes this week, only came through with 11 rebounds. Seraphin grabbed as many rebounds this week in just 35 minutes of action.
Alonzo Gee 10.6 11.6 -1 Booker and Seraphin's increased playing time had to come at someone's expense, and Alonzo Gee was the one who suffered this week. He only played 26 seconds against the Lakers, just over three minutes in Sacramento and didn't play at all against New York.

Note: Josh Howard and Hamady Ndiaye both did not register a minute of playing time this week, so they were not included in this week's Keys to the Palace.