What a turnaround. Kevin Seraphin struggled throughout his rookie season, looking like a an almost sure-fire bust who wasn't in shape and lacked the explosiveness to make up for his lack of offensive polish. The first month or so of the 2011-12 season was more of the same. Then this happened:
Spurred on by a breakout game from Seraphin, Washington beat the Lakers for the first time since 2006 (for the sake of perspective, Gilbert Arenas was still a superstar and John Wall wasn't old enough to hold a driver's license). Seraphin was masterful, as he bodied up and played great post defense on Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, rotated properly, rebounded and scored using an assortment of baby hooks and short jump shots.
Seraphin surprisingly continued to play just as well for the rest of the season, seemingly improving every game. While his rebounding fell a bit, the guy who a year earlier looked like a 6'9 DeSagna Diop somehow morphed into a solid back to the basket post scorer who could make a 15-foot jumper and hit the open man, all while playing physical post defense and setting brutal screens.
Positives to Build On: Seraphin became a very reliable post scorer last year, something that could prove to be invaluable to an up-tempo team like Washington that lacks shot creators. Seraphin can shoot a hook shot with either hand and has good body control and footwork. While he shot reasonably well from midrange (40 percent on about one attempt per game), he could become a truly dangerous offensive weapon if he continued to improve as a shooter. This would make it even easier for him to score in the post due to team's needing to respect his outside shot. It would also create more space for Nene and Vesely's strong off-ball cuts, as well as Wall's penetration when he returns to the court.
Areas to Improve: Seraphin is a mixed bag as far as rebounding is concerned. While he's decent on the offensive boards, he does a poor job on the defensive glass, possibly because he needs to leave his man to block shots. While the team actually rebounded better with him on the court than JaVale McGee (despite McGee's higher rebound rates), Seraphin could do a lot more to patrol the defensive glass next year.
Projected Spot in the Rotation: First big off the bench, second if Vesely breaks out and/or if Seraphin regresses. Nene and Okafor are talented veterans and deserve to start, but Seraphin is a great fit with Wall, both as a pick and roll partner and in a more general sense in that pass-first athletic point guards like Wall tend to play best with big men who are post scorers. Nonetheless, he'll likely play an important role as the team's first big off of the bench and see his time split between center and power forward.
Outlook: Seraphin improved a lot last year and could just as easily regress as break out this year. I'm optimistic that'll he'll improve, though, because while he only started playing basketball a few years ago, his understanding of the game is already stronger than McGee's ever was. I don't see why he can't conceivably be a 16 and 9 player next year. Whether that's per game or per 36 minutes is largely dependent on the health of Okafor and Nene, but there's a lot of cause for optimism as far as his continued growth and development.
What are your projected statistics for Seraphin next year? What are your general expectations of him?