Spencer Hawes, you have 27 games to make your sophomore season a success. What do I hope to see?
* Regain the shooting touch. For a long while to start the season, Hawes couldn't miss. Lately, it's been more often that Spencer can't hit. Reality is somewhere in the middle, but the hope is that it skews toward the positive. Of course, this isn't exactly something you can will into action. This item is more me being curious as to whether the shooting touch will improve the rest of the way. For posterity's sake, Hawes is at a 46% eFG today.
* Keep improving the defense. Hawes' defense between December 2008 and today can't even be compared -- he is so much better. The Atlanta game was promising in this regard; Hawes changed a lot of shots. The fouls need to be worked on, and his rotations are a bit slow. But I have faith that this will come.
* More consistent passing. For all the talk about Spencer's passing skills coming out of college, he hasn't shown much Millerian aptitude. There have been flashes; to be honest, it's going to be hard to see this without the ball running through him constantly. But with the big minutes he'll certainly get, it's not unreasonable to hope for three assists a game ... right? He's averaging 2.1 per 36 minutes for the season right now.
* Limit turnovers. Everything we said about Shock's turnovers apply to Hawes, as well. Hawes doesn't get hit with charges like Thompson does, but he has been called for a few illegal screens lately. One of the great Miller attributes I'll miss is his ability to set flawless screens. Hawes is thinner, but should be able to stick a few guards without sliding.
* Box out. Hawes, with that length and those hands, can be an elite defensive rebounder. If he and Shock box fools out ...
I'm thrilled with Hawes to this point in his career. His game needs more work, but he's great fun to watch and (invoke Jerry) he's only 20 years old. I like him.