My Thoughts per player –
DMC – The cornerstone of this franchise. He will be an all-star next year and could possibly be the best center in the league if he makes another jump like he did this year. His basketball IQ his huge and I love how he is able to position himself to take fouls. If his conditioning improves in the off-season I don’t know how bigmen will be able to stay in front of him. His mid range shooting touch is great! What he needs to work on most in the off-season is a hook shot and go to move in the post.
Isaiah Thomas – I don’t understand people who still think he’s a back up point guard? The guy since he has started has outplayed Kyrie Irving as far as I’m concerned. IT is a very good defender, especially for his size (and much better than Irving will ever be). What I love most is he never turns the ball over! His assist to turnover ratio is quite good and something this young team needs. He makes players around him better. He shoot s a very good percentage from the floor for a PG and can get to the rim and create his own shot. And remember this is his rookie season! I look forward to seeing what strides he makes in the off-season as I have no doubt he will be one of the hardest workers. I think his chemistry with DMC will improve too, these two will be unstoppable!
Marcus Thorton – I think Thorton is who he is. He is a streak shooting point guard that is good in the clutch. I like how aggressive he plays and I like the swagger he has. I hope he works on finishing hard charging drives better. Of course his defense needs a lot of work too. But Thorton is our best shooter by a mile and should be our starting SG, not coming off the bench.
Tyreke Evans – Inconsistent to say the least. Some games he looks unstoppable and other games it can be hard to tell that he’s even in the game. When he decides to he can be a great defender, but again he’s very inconsistent. That’s not mentioning his jumpshot which has been written about to death. I think Tyreke would be the perfect sixth man where he can come into the game and dominate the ball. In this role Tyreke would certainly be the sixth man of the year and be a Ginoboli type of player. Especially if he is able to finally get that outside shot going.
Jason Thompson – In a perfect world he would be the first big off the bench for a winning team. I hope that is us next year. JT is a hard worker, has developed a low post game that is solid and can rebound well. He is not the defender we need at the 4 spot and is undersized for many of the 5’s. I hope we get an athletic shotblocking PF to pair with DMC on the frontline in the offseason.
Terrance Williams – I really think he has the talent to be special in the league. An off-season with this team will do him well and if we do retain him, depending what happens in the draft, I would like him as our starting SF. He the type of player that can do everything well and has great athleticism. I like his defense and I like his playmaking skills. Sometimes he plays too fast and makes mistakes by trying to do too much. He’s meshed with this team well and either off the bench or as a starter I think Williams needs to be on this team next year.
Jimmer Ferdette – He thinks too much and he suffers from being too nice of a guy. This was a good learning year for him. Even at the end of this year he started taking his shots without him thinking if he should and he started making them at a higher percentage. He still has a lot of work to do though. He needs to be better at the drive. I could also say he needs to work on his defense but I don’t know if that will matter. He’s a terrible defender and against starting point guards he gets killed. The opponents just drive right around him (thus the zone being used so much with him in the game). Unless he makes a giant leap with his defense I don’t see how he becomes a starter in this league. I love the idea of him becoming instant offense off the bench though.
John Salmons – Hmmmmm. Right before his injury he was playing well off the bench. Not exactly what I think the Kings had in mind when they traded for him. Salmons was truly awful last year. Even if he’s on the team I hope he sees no time on the floor because other players have passed him by. If John Salmons is your 10-12 guy that’s not bad. No way he should be a rotation player next year.
Francisco Garcia – The same as Salmons. His only solid contribution on the floor is his weakside blocking ability. But he is not a great defender and a streak shooter. The biggest problem with Cisco is he has mental lapses during the game and makes a bone head play even when he’s playing well. He also is not consistent so you never know what you are going to get with him.
Travis Outlaw – Another huge question mark. At the end of the season he did play better, but gosh was his shooting bad all year! He is long and has a bit of athletic ability but he is no lock down defender either. Again, if Outlaw is the 12th man on your roster, that’s okay. I don’t ever want to see the guy getting anywhere near the starting spot after this season.
Donte Greene – So frustrating! His talent is so easy to see and yet he is not consistent ever and for some reason seems to fall out of favor with the coaching staffs he plays for. He settles way too often for outside shots and if he even got stronger and played more at the rim he’d be one heck of a player. I don’t see him coming back and I have this bad feeling that he will do things at a new location (ala JJ Hickson this season) and leave everyone scratching their heads why it didn’t work out here.
Chuck Hayes – Poor Chuck. This was a rough season. I hope next year treats him better (and us for that matter). Chuck is a hustle guy when completely healthy. He’s the type of big man you play in spot duty when you want to shut an opponent down or give him a different look. Chuck is good at moving his feet. He can do the little things and is a decent passer for a bigman. But do I want the offense going through Chuck Hayes in a high post system like I saw the second half of this season? Heck no. Chuck is too under sized and not a good enough rebounder to play a permanent role in a rotation for good team. His offense is too inconsistent (outside of his passing) and his height prevents him from being a low block scorer the way he needs to be. I like his hustle but I would much rather he play very limited minutes in spot duty.
Tyler Honeycutt – Not much to go off of, but I liked the brief glimpses I saw. Another athlete and he seemed to have good defensive instincts. He did have one heck of a dunk. It would be nice if he develops to the point of making Salmons, Outlaw and Garcia onlookers next season.
Hassan Whiteside – He’s a good blocker. That’s about it. His rebounding was bad for a man of his size. His footwork was bad. He low post offense was not good. He got pushed around and played smaller than his size. But he can block and has uncanny timing. Hopefully he develops, but seeing him play his limited minutes it seems he is making baby steps and not giant strides (which is what he needs to make). Time will tell, but this may a project that is never completed.
OVERALL – There were things I liked about this season, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. I thought we’d be better at least record wise. Just the same with DMC and IT I am very excited about next season. I truly believe we have the youth and talent to make a jump (finally) next season and perhaps (notice I say perhaps) challenge for a playoff spot at the end of the season. Of course it depends on the draft and other off-season moves. If we win the lottery than certainly we’re in good position. But with Geoff Petrie picking I am confident about the player we will get there. His trades and off-season signing make me nervous though. I’d like to think we will retain JT and I am convinced Greene will be gone. I can’t see us screwing up and not resign Williams too. With how cheap the Maloofs are that might be our off-season unless we do indeed move Tyreke. A mistake if we do as I don’t think there is any way we get back fair value in return (especially in Petrie’s recent track record) but who knows. Should be a fun off-season and until the ping pong balls say otherwise I will hope the off-season includes Davis.