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Keys to the Palace: Porter and Beal lead the way in a tough week

Let’s go through the weekly awards.

NBA: Washington Wizards at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Wizards are now 6-12 after a win last Monday to the Sacramento Kings, and losses to the Thunder last Wednesday and Spurs last Friday.

If you look at things optimistically, the Wizards had a week that met expectations or maybe surpassed them. They ultimately beat the Kings and almost beat two of Western Conference powers in the Thunder and Spurs.

But if you look at things the way typical D.C. sports cynics do, you’re thinking that the Thunder and Spurs were playing down to the Wizards’ level until the very end (like ... Russell Westbrook), while the Wizards should have lost to the Kings considering how badly they played last Monday. In your view, the Wizards are lucky not to be 0-3.

I’m leaning toward the cynics, though I will say that Washington improved as the week went on. The Wizards beat the team who they should have beaten in the Kings, and played well against the Spurs and Thunder though they lost.

If the Wizards started the season well, I could accept this week without much complaint. However, they didn’t, so we see them at 6-12, back into 13th place in the East. The season is nearly 25 percent over, and it’s started worse than most cynics thought in the first place.

Like most weeks this season, we saw starters play well or very well, while most bench players were non-existent. So with this intro said, let’s head to our weekly awards.

Keys to the Palace

Otto Porter, 13.7 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 3.3 spg

Porter continues to be the Wizards’ most consistent player, even if he is unspectacular from a highlights-only perspective. His best game was against the Spurs last Friday where he had 12 points, 12 rebounds, and four steals. Furthermore, Porter had the best plus/minus of the week on the team.

If there’s an advanced stat that you should be a little concerned about, it’s that Porter’s usage rating was just 14.3 percent. Get this guy a little more in the offense, please?

Bradley Beal, 28.3 ppg

Beal is continuing to score as well as he ever has in his career. The numbers speak for themselves. I wish his assist numbers were a bit higher, but I’ll take a 28 point scoring average from Beal any day of the week.

Guest Passes

John Wall, 17 ppg, 13.7 apg

Wall continued to put up Wall-esque numbers, though his efficiency was a bit down as a shooter, and especially as a ball handler. He has a high usage rate, and players like him will average three turnovers a game. But you can’t give up 11 turnovers a game like he did against the Kings, period. His performances later in the week helped keep him out of “lockout territory”

Marcin Gortat, 14.3 ppg, 12 rpg

Gortat is having a career offensively, thanks to playing extended minutes (38.1 minutes last week). However, his defense was less than stellar as opponents made 56 percent of their shots 6 feet of closer with the Polish Machine defending them.

Markieff Morris, 13 ppg, 5.3 rpg

Like Wall, Morris had a turnover filled performance last Monday against Sacramento. He improved over the course of the week, so that was enough to get him out of lockout territory.

Kelly Oubre Jr., 8.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg

Oubre didn’t have the best night against the Spurs, but he otherwise had a strong week playing significant minutes every game. IF the Wizards are going to make some solid improvements over the course of this season, he must have more weeks closer to what we saw last week on a consistent basis.


Tomas Satoransky, Trey Burke, Jason Smith, and Marcus Thornton

These three had the lowest individual rating differentials on the team . All three averaged at least 10 minutes a game and played two or all three of the games. Everyone but Thornton had an effective field goal percentage of 33.3 percent or worse.

Thornton was able to produce points (8 ppg) and shoot 42.9 percent for the week, but his defense more than overrides any good he does on the offensive end of the ball. I feel bad locking out Satoransky for the second straight week, but he’s in a rut, and isn’t helping alleviate the Wizards’ problems on the bench.

Not enough time for an evaluation

Andrew Nicholson played three minutes in the Kings game where he scored two points. Otherwise he was a DNP-CD the rest of the week. Sheldon McClellan played no games.

Get well soon

Ian Mahinmi and Danuel House were nursing injuries and didn’t play.