Our look back at the 2012-13 season continues. Today's installment: Garrett Temple.
Basic stats: 5.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game; 32.5 percent from three-point range, 47.8 true shooting percentage.
Contract status: Temple is a free agent and the Wizards have Non Bird Rights on him, meaning that if the Wizards indeed have no cap space, he can only be signed for 120 percent of his current salary OR with part of one of the team's exceptions (mid-level, bi-annual, veteran's minimum).
Preseason expectations: Temple was added to be a warm body at midseason once injuries struck. The hope was that he'd have more staying power than Jannero Pargo, Shaun Livingston or Shelvin Mack.
Offense: Temple was not a particularly effective offensive player, mostly because of his lack of scoring efficiency. He only shot 41 percent from the field and attempted just 1.2 free throws per 36 minutes. He only made 48 percent of his shots at the rim and was not a very good jump-shooter for most of the year.
But like almost everyone on the team, Temple's perimeter game improved as he played more with John Wall. His post-All-Star Break shooting numbers were way better than I expected once I looked at the stat sheet. Temple hit 41 percent of his threes and was over 52 percent on shots between 20-24 feet (the long two-short three distance). His field goal percentage at the rim improved to 59.4 percent, though the sample size is small (32 attempts). Teams still didn't respect him much, and this was only for a short period of time, so I don't know how meaningful it is going forward, but it's at least the best shooting stretch of his career.
Otherwise, though, he wasn't able to provide a ton in half-court situations. He's not a great playmaker, nor is he much of a driver. His shooting is ultimately the difference between him being limited and a complete liability.
Defense: Temple was solid in this regard, using his length and quickness to defend point guards and wings alike. This was especially important on this roster. Temple's ability to defend the ball often allowed Randy Wittman to slide Wall over to the low-usage wing, allowing Wall to act as more of a free safety in the Wizards' schemes. The Wizards were nearly two points better defensively per 100 possessions with Temple on the floor, per 82Games.com.
Did he meet, exceed or fall short of expectations? I thought he exceeded them. He started as a journeyman practice body fill-in and ended the year starting 36 games. Many of those were due to injury, but he earned his spot in the rotation. You could argue that Temple's ability to play both guard spots in a pinch encouraged the Wizards to trade away Jordan Crawford.
Overall: When a guy like Temple starts 36 games, it's because injuries have decimated your team. If Temple is playing that much next year, it's a sign that the Wizards' season has been a failure.
Nevertheless, I think he showed enough this year to merit being brought back at the end of the roster. He's defense-first and will work hard in practice. You could do far worse with your 11th man.