Wizards’ Kevin Seraphin trying to regain his rhythm

December 21, 2013
Washington Wizards' Kevin Seraphin shoots over Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Garnett during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Kevin Seraphin leaves Kevin Garnett grounded in win over Nets. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEW YORK – As his Wizards teammates scurried toward the team bus after both shootarounds in New York this week, Kevin Seraphin waited for the court to clear out so that he could have it to himself.

Once the floor was clear, Seraphin started working on post moves with developmental coach Joe Connelly, practicing the shots he planned to take in the game.

Seraphin saw a little action in the Wizards’ win over the Knicks, but got some valuable playing time against Brooklyn, scoring 10 points and grabbing a season-high five rebounds on Wednesday in a 113-107 victory.

“I played defense, too,” said Seraphin, who added a season-high two blocked shots (he only had five in his first 18 games).

This season has been a disappointment for Seraphin, who has received sporadic minutes and done little with his time on the floor. But he is trying to work back into a consistent rhythm and has scored at least 10 points in two of his past three games. Last Saturday, Seraphin had a season-high 16 points in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, which marked the first time that he reached double figures all season.

“I’ve been struggling like since the beginning of the season,” said Seraphin, who entered the Clippers’ game averaging just 3.3 points. “Now, to me they come and I have a big game. I have an opportunity, I take it. That means a lot to me.”

Coach Randy Wittman has always stated that he is waiting for at least one of the team’s young big men to step up to become a reliable contributor.

Trevor Booker has been the most reliable and has averaged 12.2 points and 10 rebounds in his past five games, all starts. Jan Vesely hasn’t put up impressive numbers but has made some momentum-changing plays. Vesely didn’t play against the Nets, mostly because Nene had returned after missing the previous four games.

“If they keep playing like this, we can make some noise,” Marcin Gortat said of the Wizards’ rookie-contract big men. “But let’s don’t get excited with that. I learned this thing in the past two months.”

Seraphin had his best all-around performance of the season against the Nets and also had a chance to share the floor with Nene for just the fourth time this season. They played together for about 10 minutes, which was by far their longest stint. He threw a pass out of a double team to Nene, who drilled a wide-open jumper to give the Wizards a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter.

“That was good,” Seraphin said. “We play for each other. We used to play together, but now we have Marc, so we don’t really play a lot together. It wasn’t that difficult for us. I really like to play with Nene, because he really plays the game, he know how to play, he know to pass and if you are in the right spot, you will get the ball all the time, and he’s like a leader on the team, too.”

Nene has tried to pass along some knowledge to Seraphin but had grown frustrated with his lack of production. He has implored Seraphin to put in the work needed to become a better player – staying after practice and studying film. Wittman has made the same request, and Seraphin is starting to take note. How Wittman will dole out minutes on Saturday against the Boston Celtics is uncertain, but Seraphin wants to make it difficult for his coach to sit him.

“I’ve been working more hard,” Seraphin said. “You see after shootaround, I stay around to get some shot up and I’m ready now. I’ve been talking with the coach. He already told me like he want me to be more focused and right now, that’s what I really try to do to prepare myself for the game.”

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.
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Michael Lee · December 20, 2013