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Keys to the Palace: Let's Get Real

What a week. I was tempted to give everyone a key if the team beat the Cavs, particularly after a great performance against the Bucks, but then that 'effort' happened against Spurs. I want to be able to talk about how the defensive rotations took massive steps forward against the Bucks, but the Spurs game overshadows the good.

I am trying to tell myself that it is fantastic to get off the schneid and finally have that first road win. As Mike said, time to dance. Maybe the game is all we needed to get over the mental block and will serve as a springboard.

On the other hand, we could have lost by 50 to the Spurs, and that is not acceptable. Maybe the team was looking ahead, and maybe the Spurs had something to prove after a bad game the night before, but that performance is not something I can accept as a fan. It is a game like that makes you realize we are celebrating a win over a historically awful team. Let's enjoy the win, but stay real about the state of the Wizards.

Keys to the Palace

Player Week 16 PER Week 15 PER Difference Comment
Kevin Seraphin 8.4 7.7 0.7 A big week for the young big man. He did nothing spectacular, but solid performances, great signs of development, and playing time are reasons enough for a Key. The most exciting part of this week for me was his desire to initiate his own offense. I understand that him taking shots is probably bad for the team right now, and at times funny to watch, but these are encouraging signs. I also though he was the only bright spot against the Spurs.
Cartier Martin 14.5 13.1 1.4 Cartier took advantage of a few late minutes against the Bucks and got himself back into the rotation, and maybe onto the team next season and beyond. The two great shooting performances that more than outweighed the lackluster effort against the Cavs.


Guest Passes

Player Week 16 PER Week 15 PER Difference Comment
JaVale McGee 17.3 17.1 0.2 I really wanted to give him a Key this week, I did. The numbers against the Spurs don't look bad, but that game was not a good performance. That said, he was going against Tim freaking Duncan, so not sure how much we can fault JaVale. The Bucks game was good, and tonight was okay, although I am pretty sure he had at least as many goaltends as blocked shots. The best news of the week is that he had much better success scoring on shots that he initiated, which is huuuge for the future.
Andray Blatche 14.6 14.6 0 The numbers were solid this week, but he's another guy who's stats against the Spurs don't tell the whole story. I think this week as much better though than those past. He did not force as many awful shots, and I can't recall egregious defense. Then again, it his sometimes indifferent attitude that can cause a team to play like we did against San Antonio.
Kirk Hinrich 13.4 13.6 -0.2 The most interesting part of his week for me was the 31 minutes against the Spurs. When that game was out of reach early, the Wiz completed limited the minutes of every starter and key reserve except Hinrich. Mustafa could have played in his stead, so I am thinking that the Wiz are rally trying to showcase Hinrich for a trade.
Yi Jianlian 11.4 11.2 0.2 An okay week for Yi, and Seraphin's recent play may not bode well for him. I did like the JaVale-Yi frontline against an undersized Cavs team. Seriously, the Cavs have like 1 true center on their roster.
Trevor Booker 12.9 13 -0.1 I almost want to lock him out for being an energy guy who failed to ignite the team against San Antonio, but that would have been a little too harsh. The bulk of his minutes were garbage against those Spurs, so hard to judge him much on that game. 8 rebounds in 17 minutes tonight though is big, even if the Cavs don't have a center.
Nick Young 14.9 15.2 -0.3 2 great games balance out with probably his worst performance of the season: 2-10 from the field, no free throws, 4 fouls (3 early), 3 turnovers, no assists, no rebounds, and 4 points. He was unconscious against the Bucks and Cavs though, and showed progress in his game by taking the ball to the rack (highlighted by the 2 huge dunks against the Bucks); the fact that I can even make that statement shows how much his game has transformed. Nick gets into trouble when he initiates his own offense by dribbling and then taking fadeaways, he needs to stick to catching and shooting and getting to the rim. He will never be a passer, so if he starts dribbling and can't get to the basket, he should just pass it back out to a teammate.
John Wall 15.1 15.1 0 He was great against the Cavs, particularly because he constantly looked to push ball to the basket and take advantage of his speed. The other 2 games were nothing remarkable. I know Flip highlighted the team's defense on Brandon Jennings, but that guy is a horrible shooter who's 9-24 outing against the Wiz was maybe his best shooting game in the past 2-3 weeks. An interesting week too, as his buddy Brandon Banks on the Redskins was stabbed outside of a DC nightclub; I can only hope he stays out of that kind of trouble.
Josh Howard 10.4 10.3 0.1 A long-awaited return after missing the past 19(!) games, but glad to have him back. He took a little time to get back into the flow tonight, and then seemed to get a bit over-excited, but it was a very good performance for someone who was rusty. I am curious to see how his presence affects Thornton, Rashard, and Booker's minutes.


Locked Out

Player Week 16 PER Week 15 PER Difference Comment
Rashard Lewis 14.2 14.4 -0.2 He only played 1 game and it wasn't a good one. It is also bad news to hear that his knee is not in great shape. With JoHo back, maybe it is his minutes that get cut, if not only to rest his knee.
Wizards Training Staff N/A N/A N/A Yes, JoHo is back, and the details of how bad his knee was were cryptic, but 19 games is way too many for him to miss. Either the staff didn't do a good job of getting him back quickly this time, or rushed him over the summer. I am sure JoHo pushed to return quickly as he is on a 1-year deal, but it is the training staff's job to get him healthy to play as many games as possible. Looking back and knowing that Gilbert Arenas' knee was not handled well should make Rashard Lewis concerned about his ongoing knee issues.....


NOTE: Hilton Armstrong, Al Thornton, and Mustafa Shakur were left off this week's Keys to the Palace because they did not receive enough playing time for a fair evaluation.