This is my first "Fan Post" here, so be gentle.
Everyone knows that the most conventional and historically best way to build a championship contender is to build around a bonafide SUPERSTAR. One of those top 10-15 best players in the entire league.
My question is this: Can the Kings do this with any one of our core group of young players. I include our core group of young players as:
1) Tyreke Evans
2) Spencer Hawes
3) Jason Thompson
4) Donte Greene
5) Omri Casspi
Let's get started in evaluating the potential that each one of these players has and see if any of them have "SUPERSTAR" potential, the bona fide kind.
1) Tyreke Evans - This guy is the consensus pick amongst 'conventional wisdom' to become a bona fide superstar. He has the ability to CREATE for himself as well as teammates, perhaps not in the traditional sense. His strengths are attacking the basket, his physical size(both offensive and defensively he should have an advantage against smaller guards) and his ball handling skills. His weaknesses are shooting, shooting and shooting.
The good news: Shooting can be improved with time. It's the most easily correctable weakness, especially when you have Pete Carrill on your staff. Also, his ability to finish and take advantage of the opposition with his physical attributes won't go away.
The bad news: He's only 19 and probably years away from realizing his potential. For a franchise starving for success, this could be a long-term fix for us.
Conclusion: Evans definitely has superstar potential. He may be a good player, sooner-than-later and I'm a big fan, I think SUPERSTAR status is at least 4-5 years away for this kid. I don't see him being LeBron-eque or even Wade-esque in the sense that he brings team success to his franchise at a rather young age. But the kid WILL, IMO be at worst a perennial all-star caliber player by the time he's 24 years old.
Spencer Hawes - The ENIGMA. He has all the skill in the world. He even has some favorable physical attributes. The key is harnessing those skills and attributes to maximize himself as a player.
The Good: He's smart, crafty and better on defense than anyone gives him credit for. I think for Spencer the sky's the limit. The key is for him to elevate the CEREBRAL game. If he becomes half as crafty as Vlade was, then Hawes has All-Star written all over him.
The Bad: The same thing that may be his virtue, may also be his vice. Just because you CAN hit the three, doesn't mean you SHOULD hit the three. I think that statement is critical for Hawes, development as a player, and not just in the realm of shot selection.
Conclusion: I think THIS roster, may NEED him to hit the three to be successful overall, but what I mean is that Hawes needs to operate within a system. With Evans' lack of shooting ability, it may be necessary for Hawes to pull the opposing Center AWAY from the basket for Evans to be effective at getting to the rim. Hawes CAN be a star in this league, however, this year will determine if a team can be built AROUND him as a player.
Jason Thompson - What's not to like? The kid is skilled, athletic and hustles like Michael Smith of old. He's got two-way potential. When I say two-way potential, I mean he could go either way in terms of making an all-NBA team (probably 3rd team) on either offense or defense.
The good: He hustles, he's passionate and he's versatile. Thompson can play inside, he can play outside. He can play defense, he can play offense. He can play the PF position or the Center position effectively. He's VERSATILE. The key is to figure out, what is he BEST at, and what is he BEST at to COMPLEMENT this roster. I think he needs to focus on the defensive end. He has more potential defensively than Hawes does IMO. He's already got a fairly polished offensive game for a young big man. He can shoot, he gets lots of put-backs and tip-ins and he rebounds well(especially on the offensive side of the ball.
The bad: He out-paces the game. I think that's the MAJOR trait he needs to improve on. Pacing himself. This is the reason I think he makes silly fouls and gets himself out of the game. He needs to understand when he's beat and let it go. We can't have him sitting the bench in foul trouble each game. This is why I think his DEFENSE should be his focal point. His offense will come. He can hit the 18 footer, get a couple put back, hit some free throws, out-run his opponent on a fast-break finish, nail a shot with the clock winding down. He'll get his 15 points a game. But the CRITICAL aspect for Shock is to SHUT DOWN the opposition best BIG MAN. He can guard the shooter(Rasheed's, Mehmets', Dirk's, West's of the league) he has that ABILITY. He can also guard the post-men( Howards, Duncans's etc) he has that ABILITY. The question is, will he put it together.
In conclusion: Thompson has star ability, but I don't think he'll ever be an all-star in this league, but rather a SUPER SOLID big man who helps you win games.
Donte Greene - What trumps an engima? Whatever it is, that's Donte Greene. He OOZES potential. In fact, I wonder if it's border-line institutionalize-me if I say this, "Donte Greene has the MOST potential for superstardom of any one player on our roster". Is that a false statement? I dunno, but my opinion is that while he may have that potential, I also fear he's the least likely to realize that potential of anyone of our core.
The good - He's young. He fun. He's cocky. Pete Carrill is a coach over him.! He's got the POTENTIAL mind-set of a star. Similar to a Ron Artest without the CRAZY. If you move two steps from the 'insanity' that is Ron to the 'Sanity' realm of things, I think you have Donte' Greene's mindset. He's tall, athletic and can 'supposedly shoot;.
The Bad - He can 'supposedly shoot'(as I haven't seen it in the NBA, YET. Is as RAW as they come. And doesn't understand the game of basketball.....yet. I say yet, because I have faith that coach and Westphal will help this kid 'figure it out'.
Conclusion - Donte' may be the biggest CONUNDRUM of any one of our prospects, I think he has the ability to become a SUPERSTAR player. It's mostly cerebral, as I think the tools are there Phsycially, skillfully and emotionally. I think the emotional make-up of a player is what drives the good to greatness in the NBA, i.e Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson.
Omri Casspi - It's hard to say here. I know so little about him first-hand. So I'll leave it inconclusive. However, with what I have read, he seems to be a typical Petrie-find in a late first. Not a star, not a bust. He could be a VERY important piece to the puzzle, but not the center-stone of that puzzle. I could be wrong, and hope that I am towards the STAR 'spectrum'. But that's what I think. He could be a perfect complement to this roster as his play-making, rebounding and tenacity are sorely needed to complement this roster.