Seraphin loves to chronicle his adventures on social media, constantly connecting with fans by posting selfies or pictures with teammates and other NBA stars in the locker room, airports and hotel lobbies. He films himself traveling through the city on a Segway or flying an air drone controlled by his iPod. Each link is followed by the hashtag, #kevinserpahinlife, or #kslife for short.
“That’s my way to have fun,” said Seraphin, whose playful personality was recently featured on a segment of “NBA Inside Stuff” in which he joked around with a plastic skeleton that he owns.
But Seraphin’s fun has been limited to his off-court antics during an otherwise forgettable campaign with the Wizards (9-10). Following a summer spent getting in better shape and working extensively with the coaching staff in Washington, Seraphin has made a stunning regression in his fourth season while posting career-low production in almost every statistical category except scoring.
Coach Randy Wittman recently dropped Seraphin from his regular rotation and the 6-foot-9 native of French Guiana was on the inactive list for Friday’s overtime loss to Milwaukee after developing some swelling his right knee. “It’s nothing really big,” Seraphin said of his knee injury. “I had a little swelling. They want to make sure everything is okay before they let me play again. I will play as soon as possible.”
The timing of the injury was not ideal with Nene continuing to struggle with nagging pain in his right Achilles’ tendon. Nene will be questionable when the Wizards host the Denver Nuggets on Monday at Verizon Center, but the team wouldn’t be able to count on much from Seraphin even if he was available.
Seraphin averaged a career-high 9.1 points last season but has only scored at least nine points twice this season. He also scored in double figures 36 times last season but is averaging just 3.6 points on just 44 percent shooting. “He’s just got to stay with it, mentally, more than physically,” Wittman said of Seraphin. “He’s got to stay confident.”
A skilled offensive player with the soft hands and good touch, Seraphin has had difficulty adjusting to how teams have defended him with immediate traps and double teams. He is averaging 3.5 turnovers per 36 minutes, which is slightly more than point guard John Wall, who has the ball in his hands most of the time.
“I won’t lie to you, I don’t really know,” Seraphin said, when asked about the reason for his struggles. “I don’t try to ask myself too many question. Why? Why? I just like, okay, next game. I try to practice and go out there and do my thing.”
Seraphin was the first big man off the bench through the first seven games before getting replaced by Jan Vesely, and Trevor Booker has also surpassed him in the rotation. In the past 12 games, Seraphin didn’t play in three and only got more than eight minutes once.
“I wasn’t expecting that at the beginning of the season, that’s why I was a little bit confused. But that’s a coach’s decision. He’s the boss on the court. He’s the one who chooses,” Seraphin said. “If he thinks I’m not going hard enough, and I’m not prepared enough to play, I can’t be like, you know, ‘I give up now.’ That’s not me. I have to show the coach that he can have confidence in me, he can trust me on the court.”
Seraphin bypassed playing for the French national team for the first time last summer and watched San Antonio Spurs all-star guard Tony Parker lead the country to its first-ever European championship. He stated that he had “no regrets” about the decision because he needed to focus on advancing his career, which is now moving in the opposite direction.
“When you work out, and you give everything you’ve got, and it doesn’t go the way you want to, any human, for sure, you’re frustrated,” Seraphin said. “It’s a long season. Everybody won’t play 82 games. We just have to be ready.”
When the Wizards dealt JaVale McGee to Denver for Nene in March 2012, Seraphin’s career started to take off as he scored in double figures in 22 of the final 25 games. He picked Nene’s brain and shadowed him, but Nene has grown flustered with Seraphin’s lack of development.
“What I can do, I give advice, but I can’t play for him,” Nene said. “Like a friend, like a brother, I can give advice to him. I can teach, I can try to use my experience, show the shortcut to him. But in pro life, there is no shortcut. It’s hard work. And he needs to work hard.”
Seraphin has heard criticism that his desire to share and have a good time has affecting his play on the court, but he disputes such assertions.
“That’s a little inappropriate when you say, ‘he should spend more time on the court and not do videos.’ It’s not like I make a movie every time. It’s not like I spend all my day filming. It take 15 seconds,” Seraphin said with a laugh. “We don’t spend 24 hours on the court. I try to show, every day I come here, I smile every day. I don’t want to be negative.”