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Posted at 10:15 AM ET, 12/ 8/2010

Seraphin and Booker answer the call

By Michael Lee
Morning brew

The Wizards were without their best low post scorer and second-leading rebounder on Tuesday, but Andray Blatche's absence from their 115-108 loss to the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers was overshadowed by a surprising second-half rally inspired partly by Kevin Seraphin.

Seraphin was only on the active roster on his 21st birthday as a big body to replace Blatche, but he may be placed in a similar position against the Sacramento Kings tonight, with Blatche questionable with his left hip contusion.

"If it feels the same way, I don't want to force it," Blatche said. "I don't want to go out there and not be a 100 percent, and there to help my teammates."

Blatche wasn't sure exactly when the injury occurred during the Wizards' loss to Phoenix on Sunday, but he explained, "It happened during the Suns game and when we got back to the hotel, it just blew up on me. The next day, I just did physical therapy and massaged it out, I still couldn't run. I could walk a little, but I couldn't quite run. I didn't feel I'd do right if I went out there and played and limped around and not be able to help my team. I sat down and let some of the young guys step up."

Rookies Seraphin and Trevor Booker came up huge for the Wizards, helping the team cut a 19-point second-half deficit down to single digits for most of the second quarter. The duo was incredibly physical, as Seraphin and Booker took turns knocking out Lakers with hard fouls and harder screens. Disappointed with the inability of starters JaVale McGee and Yi Jianlian to keep Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom off the board, Coach Flip Saunders called on Seraphin and Booker for a boost. They delivered, combining for 16 points, 10 fouls, eight rebounds and three steals, and Saunders hopes that a message was sent to his team.

"We're not talented enough as a team," Saunders said. "We have to play harder than the team we're playing against. And if we play at the same level we're not going to win. We're young, we're going to make mistakes and hopefully you make up for the mistakes by playing hard. I think some guys find out, if you don't play hard, you're not going to play."

Blatche said that he was thrilled to see how Seraphin and Booker responded to their opportunities on Tuesday. "Even though we lost, I'm very proud of the energy and effort that they gave. They stepped it up big time. That's what we need from the young guys when a vet goes down."

FROM THE POST
Here is the game story from this morning's newspaper and the postgame wrap-up.

Earlier in the day, Josh Howard said he might return to action in the next two weeks.

After 31 unforgettable years at the paper, columnist Michael Wilbon wrote his final column for The Washington Post.

AROUND THE WEB
Bullets Forever's Mike Prada's recap of the loss to the Lakers, and at SB Nation he points out that the Lakers looked lackadaisical.

Before the game, Truth About It's Kyle Weidie was interviewed by Andy Kamenetzky at Land O' Lakers.

Here's video of Nick Young's 360-degree layup.

In non-Wizards news, ESPN.com's Howard Bryant says Cleveland Cavaliers fans should blame the owner, not LeBron.

The NBA confirms that it is buying the New Orleans Hornets, and Yahoo!Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski says good riddance to owner George Shinn.

By Michael Lee  | December 8, 2010; 10:15 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Wizards lose 11th straight road game but Nick Young, rookies leave an impression
Next: Nick Young, Wizards discuss hard-fought loss to Lakers

Comments


Ernest Grunfeld went out of his way to draft Seraphin and Booker, and last night you saw why.

Trevor Booker plays with a serious game face and rarely, if ever, smiles while he's on the court. Though vertically challenged for a PF, he's extremely athletic, has an improving shot and down the road might be considered a poor man's Charles Barkley. Pretty good for the late first round.

Kevin Seraphin regards setting picks as nothing more than a league-sanctioned means for breaking the opponent's collarbone! That simple. You gotta love a guy who celebrates his 21st birthday by making Ron Artest wonder if he made a wrong turn on his way to the arena and actually wound up in dark alley in a bad neighborhood. Seraphin will only get better (and meaner).

Wall, Young, Seraphin & Booker - young TIGERS unearthed by one Ernest Grunfeld.

In Grunfeld We Trust!!

Posted by: melodious_thunk | December 8, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

i missed the second half but from the box score wizards shot the ball well, FG, 3FG% were better than lakers but Lakers took care of the ball and almost had double the rebounds wizards had. Those extra possesions hurt.

Posted by: jefferu | December 8, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Blatche is an overall liability because he doesn't d up and he doesn't play team offense. The rookies do the opposite- they're not scoring threats but they help in every other category, AND THAT'S WHAT WE WANT.
Screw Blatche. Keep him out and work the rookies.

Posted by: pgugino | December 8, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

they're not scoring threats but they help in every other category

IMO, to a certain extent Booker and definitely Seraphin ignore Flip's defensive scheme and just make sure to body someone, go for the block, rebound. Not saying they intentionally ignore it, but when they arent sure what to do they just go at the man nearest them rather than thinking their way into paralysis.

Of course, that was just one night.

Posted by: divi3 | December 8, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Overall I think the young players have improved for the most part over last year. Strange how they do that in spite of the coaching staff, where when they lose, it's because of coaching. But that's how it works in pro sports.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 8, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

The young players?

There is only one and that is Nick Young and the only reason he is showing any improvement is because Flip didn't play Kirk 40 mins last night.

Why is it strange that the Wizard compete on a night that Kirk doesn't start like most of us on here have been suggesting for a long time.

From reading Mike's article and the posts on here it sounds like Flip was a better coach last night since he got out of his own way (his love afair with Kirk and Gee).

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 8, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 8, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

melodious_thunk took the words right out of my mouth. I stayed up and watched the 2nd half. Man, Booker was awesome. Your right...he is a poor man's Charles Barkley. And Seraphin..I love this guy. He came in and started bangin' on the Lakers front line. They couldn't move him out of the paint. And anyone who can give Artest a shot is good by me. Booker played Artest tough as well. And Booker and Seraphin together were challenging everyone coming into the paint. It was awesome. I couldn't believe I was watching the Wiz.

I was a "Blache for MVP" guy before the season. I just can't believe how soft he has played. He seems to have regressed. Last year he took charges, got big rebounds, blocked shots, played help defense. This year, it's like he turned into Jamison.

So, yes, in Grundfeld we trust. I think he may have pulled the best draft of the year. In fact, if you look at his past three drafts, he's starting to look sharp with Young, McPhee, Wall, Seraphin and Booker. The only one I wish he had taken that he passed on was Blair, the Pitt center who is playing for the Spurs now. I hope Saunders starts playing these young guys more. They play hard. I loved watching that game last night. Hopefully, they can play as hard tonight against Sac-town. Go wiz.

Posted by: PizzaMike | December 8, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

melodious_thunk took the words right out of my mouth. I stayed up and watched the 2nd half. Man, Booker was awesome. Your right...he is a poor man's Charles Barkley. And Seraphin..I love this guy. He came in and started bangin' on the Lakers front line. They couldn't move him out of the paint. And anyone who can give Artest a shot is good by me. Booker played Artest tough as well. And Booker and Seraphin together were challenging everyone coming into the paint. It was awesome. I couldn't believe I was watching the Wiz.

I was a "Blache for MVP" guy before the season. I just can't believe how soft he has played. He seems to have regressed. Last year he took charges, got big rebounds, blocked shots, played help defense. This year, it's like he turned into Jamison.

So, yes, in Grundfeld we trust. I think he may have pulled the best draft of the year. In fact, if you look at his past three drafts, he's starting to look sharp with Young, McPhee, Wall, Seraphin and Booker. The only one I wish he had taken that he passed on was Blair, the Pitt center who is playing for the Spurs now. I hope Saunders starts playing these young guys more. They play hard. I loved watching that game last night. Hopefully, they can play as hard tonight against Sac-town. Go wiz.

Posted by: PizzaMike | December 8, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I thoroughly enjoyed watching trevor and kevin receive extended playing time.
Along with john and nick, they are the reason I am a wizards fan.

For the first time since opening night, I am excited about watching the game tonight. I know it's one game but I hope the "coach" will turn to the two instead of yi and armstrong.

i mentioned it a while back but what about the following on the floor:

wall
arenas
booker
seraphin
mcgee

go bullets!

Posted by: spoooooooon | December 8, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Ernest Grunfeld went out of his way to draft Seraphin and Booker, and last night you saw why.

Posted by: melodious_thunk | December 8, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I like Booker since watching him play at Clemson...the only concern I have is he is a little undersized to play PF but against the lakers he is okay because the lakers have soft big man and I believe if Perkins didn't get hurt last year Boston would have won the championship. That's why the lakers need Bynum.

If Ernie is as great as you say he is why didn't he tell Flip to play Young instead of Kirk a long time ago.

It is like the year your guy put ETaps in charge and all they did was play AJ and CB 40 mins a night and they never let the young guys play to see what they could do.

If the Wizards are going to lose anyway and they don't have time to practice let the young guys play so they can get some experience.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 8, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

IMO, to a certain extent Booker and definitely Seraphin ignore Flip's defensive scheme and just make sure to body someone, go for the block, rebound. Not saying they intentionally ignore it, but when they arent sure what to do they just go at the man nearest them rather than thinking their way into paralysis.

Of course, that was just one night.

Posted by: divi3 | December 8, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Like I was saying...I can deal with that. They're rookies...they're going to get lost from time to time. What I can't deal with is if you get lost to stand in space and watch (a la Blatche against Boston)

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 8, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Been saying here that SERAPHIN is one nasty dude on the court, and I think he and BLATCHE will make a great 1-2 punch at the #4, BLATCHE on offense and SERAPHIN on defense.

BOOKER is one smart cookie. I really like his play as he's a great tweener at the 3-4.

HILTON ARMSTRONG is bench material in my humble opinion,and JIANLIAN is not much better. YI's soft inside. ARMSTRONG tries to play tough d, but has a limited skill set.

McGEE plays well in spurts, but we need some other back-up center to compliment his play. Tenacious defense to give us another 1-2 punch at the #5.

THORNTON has become the invisible man. I think he's still hurt, but ALONZO GEE is a good fill-in. Not great, but good. MARTIN has not shown much,and I don't think he will last out the season with JOSH HOWARD set to return.

Posted by: glawrence007 | December 8, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

"What I can't deal with is if you get lost to stand in space and watch (a la Blatche against Boston)."

I was thinking before the game they weren't going to miss Blatche at all last night and they didn't. Personally I'd rather see him come off of the bench and let Yi start. Yi's fundementals are so much better. This is probably the most focused I have ever seen Young, can't beleive I am watching the same guy as before.

Still giving up too many lay ups on defense. They need to get back faster, and as tall as they are they should be blocking more people out. McGee is getting better but I wish someone would work with him on "positioning." He blocks a lot of shots but still gives up too many layups underneath. Yi does as well.

"Ernest Grunfeld went out of his way to draft Seraphin and Booker, and last night you saw why."

Yeah, EG has such a history of drafting top tier talent....not! Comparing Booker to Barkley is a joke. Please stop.

Ernie Grundfeld's a BUST!!!

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | December 8, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

How long will we use the excuse..We're young..we're going to make mistakes..Arenas is not young and he makes numerous ball handling mistakes. The guy really needs to work on his handles. Oklahoma is young. Let's see 3 players in their 3rd or 4th year in the starting line-up. With them, we hear, what's wrong with them when they struggle not, they are young and going to make mistakes. The only two playing serious time is Wall and McGee that are under 4 years in the league. Hinrich and Gil , 9 years. Thorton, Blatche, Young, 4 or more years. It's not always youth so stop making those excuses.

Posted by: ptp09 | December 8, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

to a certain extent Booker and definitely Seraphin ignore Flip's defensive scheme and just make sure to body someone, go for the block, rebound.Not saying they intentionally ignore it...
I agree and I think it explains why we haven't seen much of them to date but will see more in the future. They've probably been too green until now but have been learning the defense in practice.
The Laker's highly skilled bigs are hard for Yi and McGee who are less talented and lack the physicality to compensate as Seraphin and Booker can. Yi and McGee may look better and have more success against less mobile, more physical players in a way that Seraphin and Booker would not, at least at this stage.

Posted by: midlevex_ | December 8, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Yes it is obvious at last that KH and Yi as well as the other assorted add ons are just not capable of making any difference in the future of this team.

Posted by: mricklen | December 8, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure that no one has either of these guys in the plans for the future of this team except that we got really good deals on them and they free up cap space when their deals expire. to wit:

Quinton Ross for Yi: "The player is Quinton Ross, who earns $1.14 million. Yi is set to earn $4.05 million. The roughly $3 million savings the Nets will create will give them around $30 million available to spend on free agents."

and ****

Hinrich: "The Wizards have agreed to a trade with the Chicago Bulls to acquire Kirk Hinrich and the 17th overall pick in exchange for a future second-round choice, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed on Thursday. The deal provides the Wizards with a defensive-minded veteran guard with the ability to play both backcourt positions and the opportunity to add a quality player in the middle of the first round. The Wizards were allowed to keep the 30th and 35th selections in the process, but they had to absorb the final two years and $17 million remaining on Hinrich's contract."

So in effect, we traded a future second round pick and Quinton Ross for Kirk, Yi and Seraphin.

Say what you want about Yi, but he is a n improvement over Ross and we are actually paying him less than Ross is making this year because of the cash from NJ. Plus, that is $3 million of the books for next season.

Kirk may not be a super star, but he is still better than most 2nd rounders. And by taking his salary off Chicago's books, we got to pick up Seraphin, also. And if we don't trade him to someone making a playoff run or someone blowing up a disaster, then that is another $9 million off the books at the end of next year.

So, yes, both of these guys will make a huge difference in the future of this team. it just won't be their on the court play that makes that difference and I don't think it was meant for that to be the case.

Posted by: Blurred | December 8, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Sorry - Yi = just over $4 million off the books for next season

Posted by: Blurred | December 8, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

It took him a little while, but Booker is now showing the poise of a 4yr college player. I wouldn't mind seeing him get Thornton's minutes.

2nd half Wall & Arenas was much better than the 1st half version. They may be able to coexist after all.

Seraphin vs. Cousins, who doesn't want to see that?

Posted by: djnnnou | December 8, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: melodious_thunk
..."Kevin Seraphin regards setting picks as nothing more than a league-sanctioned means for breaking the opponent's collarbone! That simple. You gotta love a guy who celebrates his 21st birthday by making Ron Artest wonder if he made a wrong turn on his way to the arena and actually wound up in dark alley in a bad neighborhood. Seraphin will only get better (and meaner)...."

Wall, Young, Seraphin & Booker - young TIGERS unearthed by one Ernest Grunfeld.

Yeah Tigers!! HAHA... (meow as in Pussy-cat)... serafin with the great numbers (20 min = 5 fouls-2 pts and had his only two shots -BLOCKED)and with his HUGE contribution against a team that was laughing at us all night. We must be talking ROY for Seraphin huh melodious_thunk?
YO - melodious_thunk - the only bad joke larger than you is GRUNFELD--- TLG = Ted Loses Grunfeld!

Posted by: fakedude2 | December 8, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Yi needs to toughen up! He seems lost on defense.

Posted by: bdunkadunk | December 8, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

"... Grunfeld went out of his way to draft Seraphin and Booker, and last night you saw why."

Yeah, EG has such a history of drafting top tier talent....not! Comparing Booker to Barkley is a joke. Please stop.

Ernie Grundfeld's a BUST!!!

- Ray

In Grunfeld We Trust - NOT!

Posted by: fakedude2 | December 8, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Blurred,
In the end I believe the Wizards sent Veremenko's rights were sent to Chicago instead of a future 2nd rounder. So it's an even bigger haul for a guy that was never going to play here.

Darnell posted a few days ago that Ernie should explore a Blatche for Cousins deal. Handling Big Cous could be like smoking and handling gasoline, but matching him in a frontline with Seraphin could be like the second coming of the Beef Brothers.

Do you guys ever think Hinrich could be being showcased for a trade to a contender?
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | December 8, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Blurred,
In the end I believe the Wizards sent Veremenko's rights were sent to Chicago instead of a future 2nd rounder. So it's an even bigger haul for a guy that was never going to play here.

Darnell posted a few days ago that Ernie should explore a Blatche for Cousins deal. Handling Big Cous could be like smoking and handling gasoline, but matching him in a frontline with Seraphin could be like the second coming of the Beef Brothers.

Do you guys ever think Hinrich could be being showcased for a trade to a contender?
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | December 8, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"Do you guys ever think Hinrich could be being showcased for a trade to a contender?"
GM

I think they're still hoping somebody will bite on Gil.

Posted by: Miks | December 8, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

"Do you guys ever think Hinrich could be being showcased for a trade to a contender?"
GM

I'd like to think that, but the way Grunfeld gushed over trading to get Hinrich I doubt it. Especially since Hinrich contract is nothing to sneeze at.
I believe Hinrich is fine as a backup. Its the number of minutes he's getting I concerned about.

Posted by: bozomoeman | December 8, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe Yi only had 2 TOs on official stats. That must be the two that were knocked out of his hands! He also could not catch the ball passed straight to his chest.

Posted by: sagaliba | December 8, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

seeems to be concern over booker's Tweener size. i thought i saw a ball player during the game...sometimes size doesn't matter, size of heart matters more. ben wallace was undersized at center, but made up for it with heart and determination. unseld was undersized at center, yet held his own against wilt and kareem. so even though height and weight can be a concern, it's not always the determining factor. tiny archilbald was a munchkin, yet led the league in scoring and assists in the same season. i think you get booker out there as much as you can and just let him play.

grunfeld has made some bad moves, he has also made some good moves. there are gm's all over the league you can place in that category. 20 games into the season is kinda of early to close the book on the team. will they make the playoffs? odds are against it. are they more fun to watch this season? most definetly. booker should be the 1st big off the bench for me and serraphin should get more minutes behind mcgee. after the showing against the lakers, i think they earned it, for now anyway.

Posted by: joerutgens72 | December 8, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Well, I still think that was a fun game to watch. Posts already seem to have deterioriated back into bickering sock puppets (always a bad sign when somebody named 'fakedude2' shows up) but it was enjoyable while it lasted. We got to see why Seraphin and Booker were first round draft picks, for whatever that's worth. And Wall remains a remarkable talent, for all his growing pains. I heard one scout refer to him as one of those players, like Kobe, Wade, and LeBron (and like Gilbert was a few years ago) who can get you a basket when you most need it, simply by beating his man. Growing pains or no, that's a very exciting player to have on your team.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 8, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to be objective about a team you're actively rooting for. I suppose that's why the professional gamblers advise against placing wagers on their home teams. You may know more about that team than any other, but being a fan(atic) is about emotions, not intellect, and it's difficult to step back far enough to make rational judgments. Bias creeps in. You start rooting for this player or that one, and perspective goes out the window.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 8, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Liked the starting lineup. Liked the use of Seraphin & Booker. Liked Hinrich off the bench. Liked the play of both Arenas and Wall.

Posted by: Darnell1 | December 8, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Our biggest weakness is center.

Our best trade asset is Blatche. He is an experienced ready to contribute now but still young & upcoming player. He is on a reasonable contract.

We should trade him for a center.

His pt filled in with McGee, Yi, Seraphin, Booker, Thornton, Armstrong.

I think Blatche for Cousins , who we'll see tonight, would be a good deal.

Posted by: Darnell1 | December 8, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad everyone is so happy with a loss. Wow we only lost by 7. Well when we get to the point where we don't get blown out of games and are not happy with 7 point losses, then maybe all this talk about subs playing well might mean something. That zone defense of saunders blows. And he still has no idea of who to play for how many minutes. I would not be surprised if he started Seraphin and Booker tonight. Get real, brothers!

Posted by: bobilly1 | December 8, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

"Our best trade asset is Blatche. He is an experienced ready to contribute now but still young & upcoming player. He is on a reasonable contract."

If the Wiz were going to try and trade Blatche, they should have done it during the off-season. Preferably before he signed that extension.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 8, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

The wizards need to somehow get road wins. There 6-3 at home but 0-11 on the road. The Wiz are unable to translate their good play on the road. Only a few players have good moments, like Young, Gil, Wall...

Posted by: rcnasa | December 8, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

The wizards need to somehow get road wins. There 6-3 at home but 0-11 on the road. The Wiz are unable to translate their good play on the road. Only a few players have good moments, like Young, Gil, Wall...but the other players McGee, Hinrich, Blatche needs to be more consistent on the road. Because of them being a young team I believe they will figure things out but I'm hoping sooner so they can stay close in the playoff chase. The good news is Josh Howard might be coming back to the team very soon, so that is added depth to the squad, plus a solid low post scorer.

Flip will have to find out how to play Booker when everyone returns to the team healthy. When Booker is on the floor he is very active around the boards and has really good hands to he can get points off rebounds etc. Seraphin is a big body that can really get physical it's a great change, he will get tough with the big men and give them troubles in the post. Still McGee has trouble guarding players with stronger post play, but he'll improve as the season goes on.

Posted by: rcnasa | December 8, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

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