We'll be evaluating each Wizards player, as well as coach Randy Wittman, in this series.
You can chalk 2013-14 up as yet another disappointing season for Kevin Seraphin. He appeared in just 53 games, started in just one and played just 10 minutes on average in those games, all career lows. He never quite broke free from Randy Wittman's doghouse and his quick leash in games afforded him very little room for error. He's been on thin ice since Wittman took over, and it's clear all the pressure has gotten the best of him.
What were our preseason expectations?
All anyone could hope for this season was some improvement. Seraphin hasn't progressed since his coming out party at the end of his sophomore season, and it's hardly been a matter of the players in front of him. Nene has missed significant chunks of the season in the two full years he's been with the team, and it took up until the eve of the regular season to secure a replacement for Emeka Okafor.
How did his performance square with those expectations?
Seraphin picked up 24 DNPCD's and was inactive for five games, so it went about as poorly as expected. With a playoff mandate hanging in the balance, there wasn't room for Seraphin unless he made significant strides in his game.
But even with all his struggles, Seraphin's rim protection skills could have been useful to the Wizards. He takes up a lot of room in that lane and has a massive wingspan as well. He's not exactly fleet of foot -- nothing troubles him more than having to defend in space -- but he's a big body that can challenge shots at the rim.
The Wizards were among the worst teams in the league defending shots near the basket. Opponents shot nearly 54 percent at the rim, a bottom-10 figure in the league, per NBA.com's SportsVU data. They were right behind train-wrecks like the Kings and Pistons. But much like the Heat, Clippers and Wolves, they were one of those teams that still managed to finish in the top-10 in defensive efficiency despite their shortcomings in the paint.
But this is almost always a personnel issue. Washington simply didn't have the resources outside of Marcin Gortat, who wasn't always up to the job himself. Gortat gave up nearly 10 shots a game at the rim and opponents converted 50-percent of the time, again a top-10 figure. Teams aren't afraid of him and they will gladly take their chances attacking him.
So, there was a role for the taking.
But it ultimately squandered because Seraphin couldn't buy any playing time. He takes forever setting up shop on the block and those slow decisions cripple him when defenses send hard double-teams. He rarely makes the right read with the ball, and this is without even mentioning his penchant for tossing up as many attempts as possible before he gets pulled from the game.
If he leaves, what will the team miss the most?
As you can tell, there isn't many positives you can take away from his season. After spending all these years with the team, he's developed a good rapport with his teammates, but beyond that, the lack of playing time hurts his cause.
The million dollar question is if he's worth bringing back as some sort of reclamation project. Washington's track record for developing young talent goes without saying, and there have been instances in the past where Wittman refused to play the big man even though he was helping the team. But then again, Wittman knows Seraphin better than anyone else. Unlike us, Wittman overseen every practice Seraphin has been apart of since joining the team.
The blame lies somewhere in the middle. Surely the coaching staff and trainers could have gotten more out of him, as evidenced by his lack of awareness on the court. He hasn't been playing basketball long, and it was paramount from the start to get him up to speed. It's worth exloring just how much they worked with him, especially in the last two years he was glued to the bench.
Final Grade: F
He needed to break through the forward flotsam label and he didn't. I still think there's a place in the league for Kevin, but at this point, it's not in Washington D.C. He has tremendous touch around the basket, and with better coaching, I think can be a plus on the defensive end, but there's a long way to go.