Halfway through the 2009-10 season and a time to discuss how the team makes the grade as seen from my eyes. A full report card is too long so I will break this down into 4 parts. The Core, The Near Core, The Here Todays, The Coaching and Front Office. This post, the Near Core.
My grading system: A = excellent, any team would want him and he would start for all but a small few teams. B = Possible starter on some teams, sees steady playing time of at least 20-25 minutes and is one of the top 15 at their position, have a singular spectacular talent or the promise of a bright future that gives him value. C= average. The 15--30 best at their position, their value fluctuates.They either excel in potential or chemistry and they see more pine than hardwood. They may have singular talent but it is not unique. The guys that aren't quite MLE pay worthy. D = Practice Filler. The nowhere men. They are worth the minimum; and are both ends of the promise: failed or recklessly hopeful.
The Near Core
Spencer Hawes: a lightining rod for controversy Shawes finished last season as a promising big with all of the tools on offense: passing, some low post game, 3 point shooting ability, some rebounding. While each of the other young Kings demonstrated growth, Spencer seemed to stagnate. He did not appear to mix well with the coaching staff – starting the year as a 3 point shooter (with poor %) then as a lackluster defender. Showing enough break out games to keep his future interesting, this would-be college senior has started to build a ceiling. His emerging skill set is mismatched with what this Kings team is in need of. What will break first – the patience to let Spencer become the best he can be or the impatience of waiting him to fill the need they want him to be. C-
Beno Udrih: This season’s Mr. Consistency bears little in common with last season’s unfocused starting PG. Beno seems to understand what is expected of him and has delivered. The first backcourt player off the bench seems to fit his game like a glove. Never to be a great defender, this liability seems insignificant to the best mid range jump shooter in the League. Turnovers are down, and scoring is up. Bueno. B
Donté Greene: The Show. Always able to bring a smile to fans off the court, his on court time has fans grinning. One can only applaud the hard work involved here. Paring down his ego to prove he deserves to play – the quick trigger is all but gone and Donté is showing pride for his defense. We fans see this year’s growth and can imagine lofty heights two seasons from now. The improvement grades him higher than performance: C +
Francisco Garcia: An exciting summer of Pan American play, strength conditioning were erased by a freak accident. His leadership took center stage, particularly his tutelage of Omri Casspi. Cisco presents a complex future: The student is taller, faster and more athletic. Like Brother Cisco, Casspi hits 3s and he too defends with fearless passion. Oh and he is younger and cheaper. So along with the pressure of trying to show some worth these last 35 games he knows that returning at the same level may not be good enough to earn playing time. INC
Jon Brockman: a borderline Here Today, this fan favorite excels in rebounding and making his presence felt on the court. The coaching staff may be more enamored than the fans as Brockman is the team’s Mr. Intagible and coaches looove intangibles. If he can show a skosh more offense his novelty will be replaced by value. The free throws have improved, and if he can make the 12 foot jumper he may be seen more at crunch time. If not, he will fade with the pleasant memories of Micheal “The animal” Smith and Mike Peplowski. C-.