Our look back at the 2012-13 season continues. Today's installment: Trevor Booker.
Basic stats: 5.3 points, 5 rebounds, 49.1% from the field, 50.9% true shooting percentage, 13.9 PER.
Contract status: Booker has one year and $2.35 million left on his initial rookie contract. The Wizards can offer him an early extension now until October 31. If they do not, they must tender a qualifying offer for him to remain a restricted free agent in the summer of 2014.
Preseason expectations: Booker's place in the Wizards' frontcourt was difficult to figure out after the team traded for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza. Okafor and Nene would likely start, Kevin Seraphin and Jan Vesely had played well down the stretch in 2011-12 and Chris Singleton was struggling at the 3, so where would Booker fit in? Most figured he'd find a way into the rotation anyway, as he had the previous two seasons. Booker worked tirelessly on his jump shot and was hoping to finally stay broken in.
Offense: Well, the jumper was better, at least. Booker shot just under 45 percent from 15-19 feet, up from 40 percent from that distance in 2011-12. He also showed a few most post moves, working his way for lefty jump hooks and up-and-under finishes more often. But Booker still lacks an identity beyond playing hard and crashing the offensive glass, and it shows. His jumper is only marginally better, his passing spotty and his pick and roll decisiveness has, if anything, gotten worse. It hurts Booker that the Wizards don't have a better shooter at the other post position, but in Year 3, he should be better.
Defense: This is where Booker's season was most disappointing. Three years into his career, he still has no concept of proper help execution. His shows on the pick and roll are Jamison-esque, and his propensity for ball-watching causes embarrassing breakdowns. In a perfect world, Booker would be the guy to take away the other team's Stretch 4, but he is so far behind that he actually enhances their production significantly. The Wizards surrendered 104.7 points per 100 possessions with him in the game and just 99.4 with him on the bench, according to NBA.com.
Other stuff: Injuries hampered Booker for the third straight season. He had a knee injury through most of December that never really got properly explained before he returned to action in early January. Booker played in 65 games as a rookie, 50 (out of 66) as a second-year man and 48 last year. Many of those 34 games missed were DNP-CDs, but that's a worrying trend.
Did he meet, exceed or fall short of expectations? Fell short. Even with a crowded frontcourt, I didn't expect him to fall out of the rotation at different points during the season.
Overall: This was a concerning step back for Booker. At 25, he's no longer able to rely on being young as an excuse, and yet, it appears he has not improved much since his rookie season. Injuries and the Wizards' overlapping roster have dramatically hurt his cause, but the lack of development defensively and with his offensive skills is his fault alone. Unless something changes next season, I have a hard time seeing him in the team's future.