This post is more personal commentary than anything else. I will try to insert some analysis here or there (not much really) but without really having a lot of numbers or stats to back it up. I'm just trusting my gut and what my eyes see every time I watch this team on TV or anytime I go to Arco for a game. If you feel like you can make a better point by showing some statistical analysis, be my guest; I'm all for learning more stuff.
Since the early season arguments about Spencer Hawes and his place on this team, I've been interested in writing a little about the emphasis of some on all-around games and the predetermined view of what certain players "should be" or "should do." Of course, with the renewed arguments about the same player, I thought it was a good time to throw in my two cents. My ideas are a bit scrambled so let's hope at least a sentence of this post makes some sense.
My position, I think, is fairly simple and revolves around the title of this post. Sometimes we seemed to focus too much in what players can't do instead of looking at what they can. I understand this though, especially knowing that this is still a bad-to-decent basketball team. Deficiencies and weaknesses are the first that jump out and instead of analyzing what players DO bring to the table and how they can help us win in the future, we're looking at what they DON'T have and how they are "helping" us lose right now. This is just reality, it isn't necesarily a bad or good thing. It is what it is.
Just for a bit though, lets just try to shift things and look at players from a different perspective. Lets try to focus more on what players can do instead of what they can't. Let's look at how they can help this team win, instead of how they are helping us lose. Let's look at the positives they bring to the table in relation to the overall future puzzle that's been built. Let's not forget this is still an incomplete team. The Kings are evolving and I honestly can't tell you what's going to look like in 2 years or, hell, even next year. I'm the guy who on my first post here at StR predicted a future starting lineup of Beno Udrih (!), Kevin Martin, Donte Greene, Jason Thompson, and Spencer Hawes. Yes, I did; that was my future NBA champion. Read that shit here. Good times for sure (Beno!! WTF was I thinking)
Anyways, back to the point and before I go on a different tangent let me give an example of what I want to focus on. Let's use everyone's favorite whipping boy Spencer Hawes.
What he isn't? Spencer is not a good rebounder. He's not a banger downlow. He will not be a dominant force in the post or be able to consistently hold his own against the powerful bigs of this league.
What he is? A very skilled big man with an above average passing game. He has good shooting range for a big and his D continues to improve and should be able to hold his own against the average big men in this league.
This is a very simple take on Spencer but I think will help me illustrate my point. Like all players, Spencer has his prons and cons. He's not an all round player, he doesn't have all round skills. He's good at some stuff, and he isn't that good at others. IMO Superstars are good all around players and don't have many holes in their games. Superstars are at least good in most aspects of the game; everyone else can range from being very good to barely being able to stay in this league and the holes in their games seem more apparent than that of the stars of this league.
Good teams are not necesarily full of all around players, they're full of players who know their role and complement others to create succesfull units. You probably want to add a superstar or two (or three) in there too obviously. Anderson Varejao, Derek Fisher, Jameer Nelson, Kendric Perkins, Thabo Sefolosha, Nene, Al Horford, even Jason Kidd now. All of these guys are not great all around players, but they are very good at a couple things and they are big contributors to their winning teams. Our best hope is that Spencer can turn into that kind of role player. How good of a role player? That's up to him. Can he be as important as Al Horford is for the Hawks? or is he just a one dimensional Thabo Sefolosha type?
The point is that he can still be a VERY important piece of this team's future. He probably won't be the rebounder of the team, but he can be the big that can stretch the floor and have the offense run through him. Really, how many teams are able to run their offense through their 21 year old center? That;s one thing for example that I think Spencer brings to the table that no one else does. Maybe that's not what you envision a center doing, but that's what Spencer Hawes can do, so let's embrace it.
What do we do about his deficiencies you ask? Because this team is nowhere near being a finished product and more pieces wil be added later, we hope that another big is acquired and hopefully this PF or C will be the banger that Spencer is not, the good rebounder Spencer's not, and a big that can hold his own against the powerful guys in the L. Instead of bashing Spencer for not being who we expect him or want him to be, we find him a complement that will highlight his skills and hide his weaknesses because I believe he brings many positives to the table that can truly help this team win in the future.
Or how about other options, like surrounding him with better wing defender that can do a better job at stopping penetration so that he doesn't have to be out of position so much. These are options and not excuses. And of course, we can also turn this around and say that we should find better big men so that we can play to the strenghts of our guards. I used Spencer as an example but my views, I believe, apply to all the other guys we have.
If you don't see the positives or don't feel like they are important, then that's fair and it's your opinion, but at least understand there are more ways of slicing the pie. Hell, this was also the argument I always used for Kevin Martin who is an exceptional scorer but bad defender. What would I do for him? Get better defenders around him and get a big who can make up for his weaknesses by being a good interior defender. I thought Martin was worth it (and still do but he's not here anymore so let's move on).
At the end of the day, and as you all may have noticed, I AM paying attention to the weaknesses but I'm doing it in a way so that I can find the complements necessary to have a player succeed. I want Spencer and all other Kings to succeed and while not opposed to any trades or moves that can make this team better, I hope we could appreciate a little more what we have instead of what we don't have. If there's something missing, I trust the front office to bring that soon.
As always, this just comes down to patience (boring!!) and seeing the team develop. I can't get caught up in losing a game because of rebounding when I know there's a draft coming up this summer where we could grab a good rebounding big. I won't ignore the deficiencies of the Kings players but I also can't ignore the good things they bring and how things are constantly changing. Who knows? Maybe because we have so many versatile players, once we solve the rebounding problem, we may be ready to make a push for the playoffs.
Well, actually.. scratch that, what the hell do I know anyways? I thought Beno was the starting PG of the future