Martell Webster figures that his season took a downturn Nov. 26, and he puts the blame squarely on the shoulders for Xavier Henry of the Los Angeles Lakers.
"Xavier Henry is a good player, but I think he's playing the wrong sport. He hit me like a football in that Los Angeles game here," Webster said of that 116-11 victory Nov. 26 at Verizon Center in which he scored 20 points and started because of an injury to Bradley Beal. "That for me, that one hurt. I felt that one for a while."
Webster, who had offseason surgery to fix an abdominal tear last summer, wasn't right for most of the season. The usually jovial quote machine turned surly. He rolled his ankle in December, re-aggravating a problem that began in the preseason. Then Webster, who had two back procedures before coming to Washington in 2012-13, had a player fall on his back in March in Philadelphia.
While he played his most games in four years, this wasn't the way he envisioned entering the first of a four-year deal that'll pay Webster $22 million. All of is numbers were down, 9.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 39.2% three-point shooting.
In losing in the second round of the playoffs to the Indiana Pacers, Webster was pulled in a game for passing up on an open look and making a weak entry pass to the post that was intercepted. Nene expected him to shoot and instead was positioning himself for a possible rebound. Coach Randy Wittman could be heard yelling at Webster as he walked to the bench with his head bowed, "Take the damn shot." That scene was common during the second half of the season.
"I had my problems. I was battling. I stayed strong," Webster said. "I played 78 games this year. That's pretty good.
"I felt like I could've done more. It's something I have to build on. Nothing ever works the same every year. There's always adjustments. ... The things that happened this year happened and I can't control it. But what am I going to do next year to be better?"
And will that be good enough to replace Trevor Ariza in the starting lineup if the Wizards lose him in free agency, or enough to keep Webster ahead of Otto Porter going into his sophomore campaign?