I feel like we as fans don't understand how much potential we actually have on this team. Let's go through a quick run-down shall we?
We have Demarcus who isn't even in his prime yet, and is putting up amazing numbers this season, and for a large stretch of the season was playing like the best Center in the NBA. He's cooled off after the All-Star break, but lately he's been returning to his early and dominant form. He also can still be a good defender. The only problem is just his timing on defense and his effort. Those are problems, but can certainly be fixed. His biggest hurdle is himself however. I , for one, feel like he can change his attitude. This is really the first time in his career that he knows that the coaching staff and front office have faith in him. He certainly didn't have that in his first 3 years. While some may disagree, he has improved his attitude from last season, despite the 15 technicals and the ejection. He has actually bought in to the coach's thinking, and has shown that if he controls his attitude, he cannot be stopped.
We have Isaiah Thomas(assuming we resign) who has proven the doubters wrong every season and keeps improving in ways we didn't think he could. And again, he's not in his prime either. Yet despite this, he's shown the ability to have those 20 point quarters, as well as make a crazy pass to perfectly set up his teammate. He can run a team when he actually is willing, and will continue to improve in that department.The biggest knock on him is his defense, and most people say it's because of his height. That really isn't the case as we've seen players like Muggsy Bogues play stellar defense in their career. It's really just an effort problem on the defensive end with Isaiah, which can be addressed by Coach Malone pretty easily. At the rate Isaiah's improving and with his work ethic, there's no telling how good he can actually be.
Rudy Gay(assuming we resign or he opts in) has also proven the advanced statisticians wrong(as well as pretty much everyone who follows the NBA) by being extremely efficient for us and a very reliable 2nd option. He's also shown he is not a black hole and is a willing passer. Rudy excels on his drives to the paint, and operates beautifully in that mid-post area. Rudy has been clutch for us(his shot against the Knicks was overshadowed by Jimmer's dazzling performance), and has been a great leader on the court and in the locker room. His poise and calm has been something we haven't see in a while.
We still have our rookie Ben McLemore who has really been struggling this year. However, he has all the tools to become the SG we desperately need. He certainly is athletic and quick enough to become a great defender. He has such a beautiful jump shot, and just needs to learn how to deal with the pressure of making the shot and being confident. He is (again) athletic enough and fast enough to get to the rim at will, but he just has to improve his finishing ability and (again) become more confident. Outside of Demarcus, McLemore (arguably) has the second highest upside on our team right now. He just needs to find a way to put it all together. Remember, not everyone figures out how to play in the NBA in their first NBA season.
Derrick Williams is also another player on our team who has a lot of potential. Remember, he's only 22 years old. He still has a lot of years left in his career. While some don't agree with the Luc-Derrick trade, it is a trade that rebuilding teams make. We are a rebuilding team. He was a bad fit on the T-Wolves, and in the beginning he was playing great for us. He has shown he can basically get to the rim at will. He is athletic enough to make some monster finishes. He is strong enough to play the PF, and is athletic enough to play the SF. The biggest problem however, is consistency. He's had those games where he has shown how good he can really be, and others where he just disappears. However, don't lose faith in Derrick Williams, as he can still be a good player in this league.
There's Ray McCallum who has (surprisingly) shown how poised he can be on the basketball court and can be a good backup. He rarely makes bad decisions, and I've noticed that he is actually a decent 3 point shooter(especially from the corners). He's a good defender(our best wing defender) and makes good decisions on that end as well. He's athletic(I was surprised), has good height, and is a good ball-handler. I really like MoxieMac and I believe he will continue to improve his game.
There is also Quincy(The Man Who Haunts Gortat) Acy who is a player whose game is easy to fall in love with. He provides 110% effort on the basketball court and is pretty athletic also. He can (emphatically) block shots and just changes the complexity of the game when he steps on the court. The Beard sets hard screens, rolls to the basket hard, and dunks it down hard. He has shown the ability to make those mid-range jumpers(and the occasional corner 3), and I would love it if he continues to work on that. The only real knocks on him right now is his height(6'7 at PF) and whenever he gets in the paint his desire to dribble before he goes up for a layup. If he would go straight up instead of hesitating, he would get more easy baskets. This will probably improve over time.
Our future draft pick also needs to be included in the mix, as (most likely) anyone we get in the draft will have a lot of upside. Whether it be Embiid to Exum to Vonleh, we can't really miss on this draft. Personally, I hope we get Vonleh(if not Embiid) because it addresses one of the more pressing needs of a shot-blocking PF that can play next to Cousins. He isn't known for his offense, which won't be a big problem considering we already have a lot of it anyway.
Michael (the man who will grow his hair back just so he can lose it again from stress) Malone has done a pretty good job of coaching this year despite the team's record. He is certainly the first coach to actually earn Cousins' respect, and it has been his mission to change the culture of this team. He is slowly but surely doing that. While the defense is still pretty bad, it has been an improvement over last season(surprising considering we have worse defenders now than last year). He deserves some credit for Rudy Gay's success here. Malone has been putting Rudy in the right spots instead of just constantly calling for isolation plays or putting him at the perimeter. Malone still has a lot of work to do(and still has things to learn as a coach), but he still can be a great coach in this league.
So while there are certainly a lot of problems that need to be addressed(defense, TOs, ball movement, leadership, chemistry, bench), don't forget the number of pieces we actually do have on this team. Pete really deserves more credit than he has been getting for the overall turnover our roster has gone through. Remember, only one player who started on opening night is still starting(Cousins), and only 4 players remain from last year's team(Demarcus, Isaiah, Jason Thompson, Travis(The MVP) Outlaw). Most of our team hasn't had a training camp together, and considering they've performed as well as they have up to this point is pretty amazing. Most teams would've just collapsed and gave in to losing if that happened to them. But not our Sacramento Kings.