It seems like a good time to figure out what we've learned about our team so far this year, and what kind of progress (if any) we're making. My list is presented from most impactful and promising to least. Statistics are based on percentages or per 36 minutes to remove playing time as a variable.Tyreke Evans
He's not a superstar, but he is a young, dynamic player finding his way and morphing into a very good NBA player. Career bests in FG%, 3pt%, rebounds, turnovers and noticeably better defense, Tyreke has been really good when he's been able to get on the floor. He still drives toward the rim without determining there is a path to get there too often and the injuries are concerning but if you still think Evans hasn't become a better basketball player from his rookie year, you're really not paying attention.
I'd call out the 3point shooting more, he's 35% for the year, higher than Thornton or IT where we sit today, but Tyreke's been hot of late and we may have some reversion to the mean in front of us. If he shoots 35% from 3 for the year, he'll have added a nice weapon to his arsenal.Jimmer Fredette
Hey, look, Jimmer's going to be an NBA player! There was at least a little doubt about this as late as August, 2012, but Fredette has been really good for long enough stretches of time this year to dispel that narrative. The shooting is everything any reasonable expectation could hope, Jimmer leads the NBA in FT% and has shown nice presence when not matched up against quality defenders to dictate the action and get good shots.
Fredette still has a long ways to go as a playmaker (though shows promise) and needs work to have a better chance when teams take him seriously and devote a good defender to shutting him down but we've seen tremendous improvement so far this year.
On defense, Jimmer will never be good, but he's obviously worked hard at it. Coach Smart deserves some credit for the way he's brought Fredette along; letting him find his way while supporting him with easy defensive assignments and playmaking help. An Evans/Fredette backcourt is legitimately promising if they both keep getting better.DeMarcus Cousins
Here we start tipping the iceberg away from certain growth and towards guys with uneven performances. Uneven doesn't even begin to describe the drama associated with Cousins before his indefinite one-game suspension. Team cancer is better or complete ass fits the bill, but in combination with being a complete embarrassment attitude wise, Cousins wasn't very good on the court either.
Cousins was shooting under 41% from the floor when he was suspended (43.6% now), but since then frankly has had his fair share of pretty amazing. 222 points / 124 rebounds / 50 assists / 32 turnovers in the 11 games since he came back, DeMarcus has shown the potential is there to be a good teammate and a very good basketball player.
Its not perfect, and we have no way of knowing if we really have hit bottom with Cousins, but we do have 11 games worth of evidence to at least acknowledge some really good play.Jason Thompson
Plenty has been written about JT; for the first 32 games of the year he was really pretty good. The last 7 games has been a mess, with a shooting slump combined with JT looking unhappy on the floor at times. I don't know what the story is, and shooting slumps happen, but the guy we saw for the first 32 games was a solid, mature NBA big guy and I hope we see it again soon.Thomas Robinson
Not remotely close to the "NBA ready product" that was advertised; Robinson was awful over the first 30 games or so. Robinson has re-branded his game into a hustling, hard-working motor guy with a nice nose for plus help defense and seems to be finding a niche for now. Rookies starting slowly isn't unprecedented of course or worthy of condemnation. The good news is, the Robinson of the last two weeks is sustainable as long as he keeps working his ass off while the rest of his game improves.John Salmons
Thanks for getting back to being who you are and for doing a great job of deciding when to assert yourself and when to let the other guys run the show. He'd be higher on the list but isn't really relevant in the big picture. If this post was grading, he'd get an A from me.Isaiah Thomas
He had a rough start to the season with an ill-fated offensive scheme; Thomas has looked like himself from last year recently. I struggle to find anything that seems different or better for him. Treading water isn't going to be good enough long term to be an NBA starter, but of course there's still plenty of time to see IT's game grow past being just a Pizza Guy.Francisco Garcia
Starting while Tyreke was injured briefly reminded us of the things we liked about Cisco's game; by the time Evans came back we all remembered why Garcia is exposed and just not good enough to be a starter.James Johnson
JJ, you're 25 and you could be a good NBA player; however you can't be Lebron James. If you want to be good, keep working on your jumpshot and learn to play your assigned role. Doing so is probably worth about $20 million to you over your remaining NBA career.Marcus Thornton, Aaron Brooks
Not their fault they are 2 of 4 tiny guards on the roster. Thornton of course is the guy with the future and been in a shooting slump; a lost year to date. You have to think there are better situations for at least one of these guys, probably both.Chuck Hayes, Travis Outlaw
Hey, these NBA paychecks are sweet!
What do the rest of you think? Pleasantly surprised or disappointed about anything?