Ben is super talented. Just don’t look to the box score yet for confirmation.
Free throw line dunks are pretty. Cheerleaders are pretty too, but they don't necessarily help you win games.
The passive label from Kansas has followed him like ominous shadow, with an unwillingness to mix it up, draw fouls, pester, or let his presence be known.
Contentment to be in the Big Show has yet to be replaced with an unrelenting passion to command the stage.
Ben has been torched by journeyman Gerald Green, Jamal Crawford, Wes Matthews and anyone else with an average jumper and decent jab step.
He wasn't ready to be a full-time starter. He's replaced Marcus and his pouting face with a pleasant demeanor and less production.
Coach Malone was forced to shift defensive stopper Johnny Salmons to the back court versus the Clips, because neither Jimmer nor Ben could check Jamal or JJ, and someone had to prevent a nonstop scoring assault.
It is interesting how hometown players who perform poorly with nice personalities, formerly J-Scrub, and presently Ben, get free passes from Sactown analysts, unable to offer objective assessment.
Ben is shooting 32% as a starter in six games, with worse defense than Marcus and Vasquez.
(1) Marcus 13.4
(2) Vasquez 19.8
(3) Ben 20.2
Long term is months, years and a new arena, and extremely hopeful.
Short term is days, weeks and the next game, and objectively tempered.
ROY has been revealed as a wild and fantastical notion. Offering more than Jimmer is more realistic aspiration.
Ben is currently hurting the team more than helping, with paper thin defense and unfocused shooting. The degree of improvement witnessed from summer league to training camp is required over the next to 20 to 30 games.
His progression would more likely occur in bench role, against caliber of player more suited to his skill set, with confidence and self-belief not under constant threat from more polished opponents.
There are individuals who can take a licking and keep on ticking, spurred by adversity and swatted attempts. Ben does not impress as this sort, more lamb than lion. He needs to be nurtured, not sacrificed.
Ben was hyped as best player in draft. That label has been seized instead by Michael Carter Williams.
Don’t be fooled by his skinny frame, as I was pre-draft. This dude has wiry strength, a transcendent floor game (12 steals in past two games!), and a competitive spirit to be an all-star (once and if his shot develops).
Ben has shown none of these attributes yet, affirming his slide in the draft to seventh overall pick.
Williams has played like a baby-faced assassin. Ben has played like a baby, or at best a babe lost in the woods.
Williams has been gourmet Philly cheese steak. Ben has been mostly chopped liver. Ball don’t lie. Stats don’t lie. And steak tastes better than chicken guts:
MCW: 17.3 PPG, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block in 36 MPG.
Ben: 8.3 PPG, 0.8 assists, 3 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 0.3 blocks in 22 MPG.
Pete and Vivek did not see this coming, nor did I, admittedly so. Speed, agility, and bulls eye prowess forebode more ease than struggle. Yet potential teases. Dedication promises. Diligence pays off, with a breakout performance always one game away.
Patterson found his confidence and touch yesterday, proving more than a disinterested glass cleaner with a broken shot, at least for one game. So goes the nature of sport and the challenge within, especially to a high flying rookie with a sweet disposition and a sour handle.
A snapshot of performance is only that. Struggles don’t have to persist, with another game to alter perception and the overall quality of performance portfolio.
The Lakers present the Jodie Meeks at SG. Suddenly, the fringe contributor looms as daunting challenge. Ben will be there too, for better or worse, in purple and black, with a curable case of the rookie blues.