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Keys to the Palace: Short and Not That Sweet

'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."
-Ed Tapscott

2 games, 2 blowout losses. I am running out things to say about this team. Blake Griffin did not score a point in the 2nd half of the Clippers game (and sat for the entire 4th quarter), and the Bucks were up 23 going into the final quarter on Tuesday. With that in mind, no one earned a regular Key to the Palace this week.

The good news is that despite all of the losing, John Wall and Trevor Booker 'look like they give a crap' every night, which is no mean feat when many nights are blowout losses. Their efforts are that of team leaders. Jimmy showing his frustration makes me nervous about the team keeping him happy, but Cook Book is someone he should be proud to play with. Now we just have to fill out the rest of that roster.....

Guest Passes

Player Week 20 PER Week 19 PER Difference Comment
John Wall 15.1 15.3 -0.2 4-for-17 against the Bucks is awful, but he deserves a Guest Pass for his work against the Clippers. Too often it looked like he was playing 1-on-5 Saturday, but blame that on his teammates. It looked like one of those games where he realizes the best chance to score is taking it to the basket himself rather than setting up his teammates for an inevitable missed shot.
Trevor Booker 14.7 14.5 0.2 He had a weird game against the Clippers in which he scored no points and racked up 5 fouls attempting to limit the Dunkbot. He definitely worked hard, and some fouls were soft calls, but Griffin still dropped 26 in the first half.....ouch. He then ran up his stats in garbage time to pickup 13 points. The game against the Bucks was 'ho hum.' I am still giving him a Guest Pass though for continuing to hustle and making the Dunkbot work for those 26, as crazy as that sounds. Wall and he up here is becoming the norm.
JaVale McGee 16.5 16.5 0 He makes the cut by thismuch. I agree with Sean that he played a decent game against the Clips by staying within the offense and managed 9 points and 13 boards against the Bucks. This does not feel like a step forward though as much as simply steadying the ship. Above everyone else on the team, I really hope he can have a strong finish to the season.
Hamady Ndiaye 0 -2.1 2.1 He barely makes the cut for enough minutes played, but just the fact that he actually got minutes is big news. This is a relative rating piece, so Ndiaye on the floor without catastrophe is enough to get him a Guest Pass. I would like to see him get continued minutes down the stretch, but with Dray back in the lineup, the 11 minutes he got against the Clips may stand as a season high.


Locked Out

Player     Difference Comment
Jordan Crawford 12.1 4.9 7.2 The performance against the Clippers was as bad as the Bucks performance was good, but as Sean pointed out, his shot selection and high usage rate are serious causes for concern. I would like to see him as more of a playmaker, otherwise he is redundant with Nick Young in a possible future backcourt rotation.
Maurice Evans 7.3 8.5 -1.2 Mo didn't do anything horrendous, but 'meh' games are not enough when you are an energy/defense/glue guy. I still like him getting minutes though, at least as an example to the young guys of a veteran who works hard and makes the most of what he has.
Josh Howard 10.1 9.9 0.2 Another injury and another bad game. It has only been 17 games this year, and I'm sure he hasn't shaken off the rust from being out the lineup so frequently, but his performance has been disappointing. The team has not been any better with him, and I have trouble seeing the upside of keeping him, so I have a hard time imagining him back in DC.
Kevin Seraphin 8 8.9 -0.9 A lot of minutes, but not a lot accomplished. He has invisible in the Clips game, and really didn't do anything in the Bucks game. The good news is that he averaged 21.5 minutes over the 2 games.
Nick Young 14.9 15.4 -0.5 2 bad games for Young Sushi make this his worst week in a long time. Playing through the flu against the Clips was at least admirable, but the absence of any offense outside of Wall was sorely missed. He has a nice chance to bounce back in a matchup against James Harden on Monday night.
Yi Jianlian 9.9 10.2 -0.3 14 non-descript minutes against the Bucks followed by 5 fouls in 8 minutes against the Clippers. I think I have seen enough. I know N'Diaye isn't ready, but someone else should get his minutes.


NOTE: Andray Blatche, Rashard Lewis, Mustafa Shakur, and Cartier Martin were left off this week's Keys to the Palace because they did not receive enough playing time for a fair evaluation.