I'm sure all you guys have read Brendan's well written piece on our potential starting five for the upcoming season. At first, I agreed with him on starting ‘Tawn at the three spot, but Windhorst made a good call in inserting Jawad there. I'd still expect Jamison to see the majority of minutes between the two and be the guy who ends games, but I'd roll with Jawad as my starter. Thing is, rumors have been doing the rounds that Danny Ferry has him down in San Antonio working out with the Spurs. We have the advantage there though due to him being a RFA, but still I'm not putting a hoax on anything so for the purpose of this he's being left out.
(At season's end, I'll come back and review how accurate I was - feel free to give your predictions in the comments section or email me and we'll get them up!)
What I'm looking at today is going through each player individually, taking last year's stats and trying to envision what they will produce this upcoming season, which I've now dubbed the "Show the world we're still around" season. So let's get right in shall we?
Last season: 69 games played, 15.8 ppg, 5.3 assists, 1.01 steals
We know how he's done in the regular season, and how he's fared (or didn't) in the playoffs. That's done with, let's move on. This year Mo will have to be huge for us - HUGE. He'll need to be the consistent scorer for us this season. He'll also need to get some sort of defense going and as challenging as it might be, his assists will need to reach that 7 or even the 8 mark. Without a certain small forward around that last part will be tough - but in a run first offense and shooters around, it's possible.
Projection for this season: 18 ppg, 6.8 assists
Last season: 82 games played, 8.2 ppg, 3.1 assists, 0.67steals
Ramon Sessions is a very competent point guard - believe me. When given extended minutes and the full trust of his coach, he'll serve up dimes aplenty. He is after all, a guy who had a 24-assist game. He'll probably start this season you know, in a small backcourt with Mo, which is something that was played out in Milwaukee, and he could thrive under Byron Scott. He's not the guy who'll win us 55 games a season, not by any means, but our concept this year is "team first," so he should slot right in.
Projection for this season: 12 ppg, 5.4 assists
Last season: 56 games played, 6.3 ppg, 1.3 assists, 0.45 steals
Scratch last year off Bobbie's wikipedia page, just wipe it off. This year is a new year, fresh start and a clean state for Bobbie. Give me back the wide-grinned, three point shooting assassin out of Texas we fell in love with. If he's open, he'll knock em down. He made 48% of his three's last season, which will naturally go down when the shots taken rise, but I'd be shocked if he dropped below 43% for the season. Boobie will soon be back on our court and into our hearts, I can't frickin wait.
Projection for this season: 11 ppg, 3.2 assists, dark horse for MIP?
Last season: 81 games played, 7.3 ppg, 2.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists
One of my favorite guys from last year and could be a vital element this year due to his versatility. You know what you get from Parker - defense, unselfishness, high IQ basketball, when he's hot he's hot from deep. Don't expect much else however, we have to be realistic.
Projection for this season: 5.1ppg, 2.4 rebounds, 1.7assists
Last season: 20 games played, 2.0 ppg
Look, anything Green contributes to the team will be a plus. Didn't have the best of Summer League, so I don't know how we should expect him to do this upcoming year. Maybe with extended minutes and more game time he could show us the tools that made him a UNC great, maybe.
Projection this season: 5 ppg, 2 rebounds (he's well able to grab boards)
Last season: Failed to impress overseas
Eyenga is the biggest question mark on our roster. He could come in, use his phenomenal hops and be a better Jamario Moon, or he could be a total wash who plays in the D-League.
Projection for this season: God only knows
Last season: 63 games played, 4.2 ppg, 2 rebounds
Do you think people will agree with me that if he has a season like AP had in his first year he'd be a major success?
Projection for this season: 5 ppg, 2 rebounds
Last season: 61 games played, 4.9 ppg. 3.1 rebounds
In the running system soon to be employed, Moon and his 6-8 frame have every opportunity to see minutes and the three, four and maybe even the two. We know he's an athlete, we know he can get it going from deep - we just need to see it consistently please Jamario.
Projection for this season: 7.2 ppg, 4.7 rebounds
Last season: 25 games played, 15.8 ppg, 7.7 rebounds
If we're below .500 at the trade deadline, he might be gone to a contender. He might just be gone full stop. I like ‘Tawn, I like him as a leader for us this year, and I love the idea of him being sixth man but having him as our closing small forward. I do think his numbers will take a dip for obvious reasons - age, fewer minutes - but he should have a positive affect and be one of our better players, we hope.
Projection for this season: 11 ppg, 6.4 rebounds
Last season: 81 games played, 8.5 ppg, 4.9 rebounds
Just wait and see...
Projection for this season: 17 ppg, 6.5 rebounds
Last seasons: 73 games played, 6.1 points, 2.8 rebounds
Brendan dubbed him "cement hands." That's all I need to know. Also, if my seven-foot center goes through an entire season and his highest rebounding game is 9, I'm not that happy. He's the backup five for sure, but I really don't know.
Projection for this season: 3.1 ppg, 2.6 rebounds
Last season: 20 games, 4.0 ppg, 3.1 rebounds
I like Powe, I like the way he looks kinda funny running the court, I like the way he's a tough nose S.O.B, I just like him. If he were two inches taller, he'd be an All Star - maybe. A full season of Leon Powe will be very beneficial to all parties.
Projection for this season: 4.1 ppg, 3.6 rebounds
Last season: (College) 33 games played, 15.3 ppg, 7 rebounds
Undersized for his position and not the greatest athlete - he might just be Leon Powe's younger brother. He's good rebounder who looked awesome with the Louisville team that contained Terrence Williams and Earl Clark, but should have been better last year. Anything he does will be a plus.
Projection for this season: 2.2 ppg, 3.6 rebounds
Last season: 76 games played, 8.6 ppg, 7.6 rebounds
The wild thing is the man in the middle for us this year and with it comes more responsibility. Coming off the bench he had a little wiggle room in regards to fouls, but as our starter he needs to rein it in and use his experience. It seemed like he got all his points last year off of no-look passes from you know who, so Andy will have to crash the glass offensively and work off scraps for the majority of his points this year. A very underestimated off the ball mover though, if Sessions and him gain an understanding going it could work out, we'll wait and see.
Projection for this season: 9.1 ppg, 10.4 rebounds
I realise that when you add up the averages I'm forecasting we'll average almost more than 100 points a game, and when you consider we're taking away LeBron's 30.0 ppg, it's a stretch right? Just let it be known that Minnesota averaged 98 a game last season in the West, so while it seems far-fetched, it's plausible.
Question outside the Mailbag
Q: I think JR smith will be good for the Cavs because even if it doesn't work out between the Cavs and him, he's worth a shot in my eyes. Reason number 1: he doesn't have a big contract. 2: maybe, just maybe it will go perfect and he'll lead us to 50 wins and lure other free agents. 3: if it doesn't work, it'll be only 1 bad year, and we'll get a good draft pick. 4: let Byron Scott coach him and see if he can help JR with his game. - Cole Larson
A: 50 wins is way too far a stretch for us, I'm sorry but it is. Last season, the Bucks, Bobcats and Bulls didn't even win 50 in the East. JR Smith is not the guy to get us over 50 - but he could give us an offensive weapon that would become highly beneficial. He's a good scorer, great athlete and gets the crowd going. In reality, he's a streaky shooter, crap defender and can be a bit of a nuisance. The points regarding his contract are very true, and huge plus in any deal that might ever happen. But I'm not aiming for the lottery this year - none of us should be, we're definitely able for more. Byron Scott is a well-respected head coach, but so is George Karl, so the influence Scott might ever have on Smith would probably be no different than Karl, right? I'm totally 50/50 on the matter, and I don't think I can budge off the fence to be honest.