And now for some light reading, should you find yourself headed to the Men's Room empty handed.
My Three Pleasant Surprises So Far
Thad: I have a soft spot for 'hustle guys'. And the undersized PF (or is he an oversized SF) is in there battling, despite none of our Bigs ever boxing out anyone. We're getting lots more minutes from him...almost THREE more rebounds per game (a couple at the offensive end)...second-most points on the team... Amazingly he's never in foul trouble and is the best "Big" defending the pick and roll. (Not saying much.) Anyway - he's my most pleasant surprise.
Jrue: Leads the team in points, by a lot, with through-the-roof assists numbers (not easy when there's no low post threat - at all). Getting tons of minutes...nice FG%...even grabbing nearly four boards! (Unfortunately, he actually has a higher turn over number, at 4.3. Hoofa.) Lately he's gotten MUCH better at protecting the ball. He's been fun to watch grow before our eyes...but occasional defensive and mental lapses have him in the #2 spot for me, not #1.
Evan: Yeah, you heard me. Not so much because of his scoring or rebounding (I predicted both basically right on the nose)...but because I expected so little, and so I'm pleasantly surprised at his play this year. Those of you who have "Ohio State On The Brain" must be wildly disappointed, since he's generally been slightly better than average...but from MY perspective, he's been real solid. And the big issue with him has always been lack of consistency, so...he deserves props. I still HATE the pouting, 11-year-old mopey stuff. And his clanking everything inside the arc. And his overrated defense (get the BUTT lower, Evan, not your HEAD!)...but ya know what? He's been in control and starting to just take what's given. Good running the point, too. Overall, pretty good. Almost "quite good".
Worth Mentioning: Thank God for JRich and his energy and leadership and killer instinct. Without that, this team would lack identity for the most part. Kwame. Yeah, he sucks, but I like the fact that DC sticks him in there when we're getting raped at the rim (often). You don't see much of that with him in there. Not much beyond that though, obviously.
Least Pleasant Surprises So Far
Lavoy: Damn it, it pains me to say this. I had such high hopes for him! Still do I guess. Love his strength, attitude, low post defense... But since when did he get the green light to shoot from 19 feet? Why is he not getting his at 12 instead? Where he's money? And what's with this goddamn foul trouble every game? That's a new wrinkle to his already a work-in-progress game. Just had hoped he'd be further along by now.
Hawes: Starting to decide he is what he is, no more. Once every blue moon he'll have some break-out 6 minute stretch...but for the most part? He can't compete down there. Minutes down, points down, FG% down, rebounds WAY down (for my money) when they needed to be UP. I dunno man.... Just not much there to get me excited.
Ivey: It's not that I had big dreams for Royal, I didn't., It's just that he's done SO little, that he's actually does even LESS than I anticipated. I have honestly yet to see him make a single basket. (I know, I know, he's made some; I've just not seen any.) His defense was supposed to be what we got from him...but he's lately been a DNP, so we don't even get THAT. Just a waste of space for my money. Seems like a nice fella.
Worth Mentioning: Wasn't Wayns supposed to have looked great in pre-season? Jesus...he's done less than Ivey. Just didn't make my top three due to experience. And Moultrie needs to start making a case for more than 5 MPG. Our front court is laughable. And he's here to defend and board, period. To earn 5 MPG - under THOSE circumstances? Not good. Come on kid... We need you to become at least as good as Marreese.