The Rise Of Kevin Seraphin

I remember the days when the scouting report on Kevin Seraphin was that he was a tough, strong kid that had no idea how to play basketball. Those were the days. I remember always being happy to see Kevin Seraphin checking into the game while JaVale McGee or Andray Blatche trotted towards the bench. Every time Seraphin stepped onto the court you knew he was going to hustle and give his all. The only thing was, “his all” wasn’t a whole lot in terms of basketball skills.

But the last month tells a far different story.

Kevin Seraphin’s rise began in earnest on March 7 in the Wizards’ comeback win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Seraphin played 25 minutes that night and had 14 points and nine rebounds. Back then it was merely a blip on the radar and a nice surprise.

Since then, Seraphin has averaged over 24 minutes per game, and that includes two game where he played a combined two minutes. Take out those two games and he’s averaging over 27 minutes per game. By comparison, he only played 24 minutes in three of the 37 games before March 7.

With the increase in minutes, Seraphin’s production and confidence began to soar. Before that Lakers game on March 7, Seraphin only scored in double-digits twice in 37 games and never had a game with double-digit rebounds. However, since March 7 he’s scored in double-figures 11 times in 17 games and has double-digit rebounds in three of those same 17 games.

It’s not just points or rebounds that have improved though. He looks like a brand new offensive player.

The player that once looked lost, now has a smooth left-handed hook shot. The same 6-foot-9 kid that used to look like he was determined to destroy the rim on his jump shots, now has a soft  jumper. It’s a remarkable turnaround, but how did he do it? Is it that he just needed consistent playing time? Did it all start to click for Seraphin after a year-and-a-half of NBA experience?  No way to be certain, but a player isn’t going to make a drastic a turnaround like Seraphin did without having a lot of things change for the better.

One thing that is certain is that Kevin Seraphin has grown into a fan favorite. The fans didn’t dislike him before he started producing, but he was just merely a guy. No one was saying they were a “SeraPhan” — a phrase, and movement, created on Twitter by @recordsANDradio. And honestly, it’s hard to dislike the 22-year-old with a 7-foot-3 wingspan from French Guiana. Whether he’s dancing to an LMFAO song or coaching kids at a camp, he’s a lovable person and player.

I don’t know that he’s the long-term solution starting next to Nene in the frontcourt, but if I had to guess right now, I’d say no. Kevin Seraphin still struggles with getting into foul trouble a little too often, and that would be consistently exposed as a consistent starter. But only time will tell.

From now on I’m going to enjoy the ride as Kevin Seraphin develops, because so far he’s exceeded all my expectations.

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