I'll be the first to admit that I have strong feelings about certain members of this team. Mainly, guys who hover on the periphery of the "young core." In the great tradition of Depressed Fan, I hope I'll be proven wrong about one or two. After the jump, let's take a shot at guessing which one(s) will exceed expectations.
When I look at the roster, I see two definite building blocks/borderline stars in the league:
- Andre Iguodala
- Jrue Holiday
- Evan Turner
One aging guy who may or may not have a productive year or two left in him:
- Elton Brand
Four older guys who are what they are (and they aren't much at all):
- Andres Nocioni
- Willie Green
- Jason Kapono
- Tony Battie
And finally we have a group of six young players who have disappointed in one way or another to this point in their careers. Right now, I wouldn't shed a tear if any one of them was traded, but they are young. Here they are, with a quick sentence summing up how I feel about them on August 25, 2010 (feel free to save this post for posterity):
- Lou Williams - Potentially explosive scorer off the bench, but his value is limited in that role because he can't stretch the floor. His poor defense, redundant skill set and contract make him a luxury the team really cannot afford right now.
- Thad Young - Unorthodox offensive player who can score efficiently and do little else. Nice change-of-pace off the bench, but no real position. Unless he can find a position, and learn to defend it, he's going to be too expensive next summer when he reaches restricted free agency.
- Marreese Speights - The potential to be a dominant offensive big. Dominant to the point that his porous defense could be overlooked on an otherwise solid defensive team. Lacks the commitment and IQ to reach his full potential, but probably a worthwhile bench player, at worst, in the long term.
- Jodie Meeks - He plays hard, he's shown the ability to hit the three and he's not shy about jacking them up. Gives effort on the defensive end, though he's limited by athleticism and size (T-Rex arms). Has the potential to be maybe the 9th or 10th guy in a rotation.
- Spencer Hawes - A soft big who prefers to play on the perimeter, plays no defense and hasn't helped his team on either end of the floor in his first three seasons in the league. I don't expect a whole lot to change and I'm hoping they don't even extend a qualifying offer to him next summer.
- Jason Smith - Just a warm body at this point. Luckily, his contract expires after this season.
I've listed the guys in the order of their value in my mind. There you have it, those are my unfiltered feelings. I've watched every game of most of their careers and done what I consider sufficient research on the rest, but as I said above, they do have youth on their side.
This really shouldn't be a tough exercise, in the comments, tell me which one (or two, or five) I'm going wind up being wrong about. Make sure you tell me why as well. I'll kick it off by saying I think Thad has the best chance to turn this thing around. I know he's smart and he has the physical skills. If Collins is going to work a miracle with someone, my money is on Thad.
On an unrelated note, thanks again to everyone who responded on Monday to my request for feedback on the site. I'm neck deep in the redesign, and as was suggested in the comments on that post, I've started a Facebook page for Depressed Fan. You can check it out here ("Like" it, if you do). Later this week, I'll post screens or maybe a link to an Alpha version of the new site on Facebook so you guys can see the progress.