Wizards to lean on Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker with Nene sidelined


We’re going to need you to step up now, Kevin. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Before the Wizards fill their vacant roster spot, the team plans to let the players currently under contract fill the void created by Nene’s absence because of a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker are both restricted free agents this summer have been eager for more playing time all season. They will get ample opportunities to perform now that Nene is out for approximately six weeks, or roughly the remainder of the regular season.

Seraphin has yet to start this season but was the first player Coach Randy Wittman called to replace Nene after the Brazilian big man got hurt in the third quarter of the Wizards’ 96-83 win in Cleveland. He is the Wizards’ best low post scoring option other than Marcin Gortat but has struggled with his defense, rebounding and decision-making, which has contributed to sliding in and out of the rotation.

Booker started the first three games of the season and took over as the starter when Nene was forced to miss action with a strained right Achilles’ tendon and later returned as a backup for 12 games. In 19 starts this season, Booker is averaging 8.3 points on 56.1 percent shooting and 8.1 rebounds.

Chris Singleton, the last remaining Wizards pick from the 2011 NBA draft, has been stuck on the bench since returning from a broken right foot but will possibly get a chance with the team looking to go smaller more with only one player – Gortat – taller than 6-feet-10 on the roster. Al Harrington is still regaining his conditioning after an almost three-month absence while recovering from a knee injury.

When the Wizards created a roster spot with the three-team deadline deal that sent Jan Vesely to Denver and Eric Maynor to Philadelphia in exchange for Andre Miller, they made out a list of players that they could sign for the stretch run. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the Wizards are considering several players – Drew Gooden, Lou Amundson, Antawn Jamison, DeSagana Diop, Hamady Ndiaye and Justin Hamilton.

Gooden is considered the favorite to claim the spot and currently splits his time between Bethesda and Orlando, which could make him a convenient signing. But as of Monday night, the Wizards had yet to offer a contract to Gooden, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

The Wizards acquired Gooden at the deadline from Dallas in 2010 but never played after being flipped to the Los Angeles Clippers in a three-team deal that shipped Jamison to Cleveland. Jamison famously gave Gooden a ride to the airport in his Bentley as he said farewell to the Wizards after spending 5½ seasons with the organization. With Harrington already on the roster, a reunion with Jamison would seem unlikely.

Amundson and Diop have bounced around the league, while Ndiaye, a former Wizards’ second-round pick, is already familiar with many of the players on the team. Hamilton is a former second-round pick of the Philadelphia 76ers who spent time with the Miami Heat in training camp before joining the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA Developmental League. The 7-foot Hamilton is averaging 19.5 points and 9.2 rebounds and was named to the Futures all-star roster for the 2014 NBA D-League all-star game.

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.
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