(I spent the past hour searching for visual evidence of Spencer Hawes's massive dunk. This post was supposed to entirely consist of said depiction. Said play got a standing ovation in the Ziller household. Even the cats were impressed.)
Will Spencer Hawes ever be something special? Will his fan base spread outside the borders of Sacramento? Will we ever get a goofy All-Star Game moment where he dribbles the ball up the court?
I don't know. Right now, Hawes is fighting for something: playing time. When he is named a starter next year or next January, will he continue to fight frenetically? Will he continue to work til he cannot work anymore on defense? If he adds this newfound explosion of energy to his game permanently, he can be special. He's got the skills. A good portion of defense is effort. Combining the two... 4 blocks and a steal in 25 minutes work doesn't seem so outlandish.
But the second Hawes rests on defense, he becomes just another Kings offensive-minded center. He doesn't have the supreme length or the instincts to rest on his laurels and make up the difference. He has to stay active, he has to be the most annoying center on the planet. (And he needs to act this way in the weight room, too. Getting stronger will make those fouls more meaningful -- giving up two FTAs is infinitely better than a FGM and a FTA.)
If Hawes keeps up this commitment of effort, we cannot put a limit on who he'll become. He could be better than Brad. He could be better than Vlade. The kid's 19 years old, and he outplayed Pau Gasol down the stretch. I'd request a three-year fast-forward, but I have a feeling watching this kid grow into something will be fun.
Other retrospective notes:
- We'll discuss the Ron Artest benching in greater detail later. But... wow.
- When the refs called that absurd tech on Mikki Moore, you could smell the demonstrative dunk coming, couldn't you? I could watch that guy hang on the rim all day and all night. If we only we could get Stern to legalize Stickum...
- Beno Udrih's audition? Going just swell. His defense continues to be suspect. For what it's worth, I saw him yelling at his guardly friends (Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia) after one defensive breakdown on Derek Fisher. Not sure whose fault it was; it was fixed in later positions as Fisher ended up dishing into Gasol more frequently.
- It's hard to complain about youth minutes when Hawes gets 25, but we could do with some more Shelden Williams. The 3-second violation (or was it traveling?) aside, good things happen when he's on the floor. He was a +10 in five minutes. I'd like to find out what he's doing right. (Defense, you'd assume.)
- Donde estas Brad Miller?