Kevin Seraphin: A fouling machine that could barely stay on the court last year, Seraphin has made unbelievable strides in his second year. He may well be the most skilled post player in his class, tossing in lefty and righty hook shots over confused defenders. He must improve his rebounding and show he can do this for longer than a two-week stretch, but his emergence means the Wizards have much more ammunition in their frontcourt than anyone expected.
Trevor Booker and Jordan Crawford: The two other Wizards' second-year players have each made subtle improvements. Booker has upped his percentage on 16-23 foot jumpers from 18 to 34 percent, while Crawford has at least become slightly more efficient from the same spot (attempts are down, shooting percentage is up). They are both fundamentally the same players and always will be, but there has been some growth.
John Wall: Many people have opined that Wall has either "not gotten better" or "taken a step back." I think that's a bit unfair. He started off horribly, had a torrid stretch from late January to early March, then fell back again after the trade deadline. Wall's challenge is the very definition of the phenomenon we discussed at the top of this piece. Teams have learned he has no confidence in his jumper and adjusted their defensive schemes to play way off him. Not having a jumper has closed off Wall's driving and passing lanes, and he's struggling to adjust. Not everyone can use space as well as, say, Rajon Rondo, especially in their second year. Wall has also been victimized by poor teammates and having to carry too heavy a scoring and leadership role.
This summer is going to be a critical one for Wall. He must make that jumper passable enough to open driving lanes, and he must improve his defensive intensity. He'll have stretches where he locks players down and supplies incredible help defense, and he'll have stretches where he's victimized by a simple hesitation dribble. Improve those areas, and he'll have the kind of breakout next year that many expected he'd have this year.