When Kevin Seraphin entered the Wizards’ game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, he looked around and saw those same red seats surrounding him, he almost immediately was comfortable. The rookie was back in familiar environs as he played his first NBA game at Rose Garden.
Seraphin, the 17th pick from the draft last June, made a name for himself in Portland two years ago as a 19-year-old participant in the Nike Hoops Summit. Seraphin helped lead the World Select team to an upset of the U.S. team that featured future NBA players John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins as he finished with eight points, nine rebounds and four blocks -- including two blocks against Wall.
“That was a good feeling. I had a great moment in the Nike Hoop Summit,” Seraphin said after the Wizards lost 111-76 to the Portland Trail Blazers. “I was glad to come back here.”
And, Seraphin responded with a first-quarter performance that offered a reminder of why so many NBA scouts and executives were so enamored by his size and considerable upside following that exhibition. Seraphin scored all of his points in the period, accounting for 10 of the Wizards’ first 20.
Seraphin isn’t looked upon to score much for the Wizards -- it was just his second double-digit scoring game of the season. But with the team searching for offense from anywhere, the 6-foot-10 center displayed a surprising repertoire almost immediately after entering the game for JaVale McGee, who had picked up two quick fouls.
He caught the ball in the low block, appeared to have some happy feet, dancing in the lane, before hr dropped a short fadeaway -- and didn’t get called for traveling. He then hit another jumper and caught the ball from Wall for an emphatic one-handed jam. Seraphin also had two nifty reverse layups.
“I was good. They give me the ball, gave me some confidence. I just played,” Seraphin said after going 5 for 6 in the period.
Seraphin came two points short of his career-high of 12 points, set last week in a blowout loss to Oklahoma City. He was unable to score the rest of the game of the game, taking and missing the three shots he took the rest of the game.
He tried to hold his ground against Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge, putting his big body on the slender power forward to push him out of position. But Seraphin was coerced into committing a few fouls and was unable to contain him as Aldridge used his quickness and shooting ability to still score.
After the game, Coach Flip Saunders pointed out the need for Seraphin to improve in other areas, especially since Seraphin finished with more fouls (five) than rebounds (three). “I was disappointed that JaVale picked up two quick fouls and took himself out. Kevin at least was a presence,” Saunders said. “The big thing with Kevin is that right now, he’s not rebounding for us. We’re getting our butt kicked on the boards. Our bigs have to do a better job as far as rebounding. He did a nice job of at least being physical, but again, he got into some foul trouble that took him out of the game.
Seraphin was disappointed with how the team played overall, but didn’t want to dwell too much on the loss.
“We had so many turnovers. That was hard,” Seraphin said. “We lost. I think that was just a bad game. Don’t worry about it. We’re gong to do better” on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers.