Chandler: A little bit of a roller coaster ride to start the season, but as of late has really rounded back into form. Another double double performance by him thus far to start the season, sporting an excellent field goal percentage again. His tap outs have allowed him to average eleven boards a game. The one thing that I really love about him is that he always seems to show up for the big games. I do believe we need to try and find him a little more on the pick and roll, I expect this to happen once Felton gets back.
Melo: Simply playing like a stud and proving that we made the right choice with the trade. The one critique that you can have with him is that he needs to stop bitching constantly with the refs. Of course that's easier said then done because with his headband he's looking like Adebisi a lot of the time.
JR: Playing like we all hoped he would last year, his shooting has returned to his normal percentages. JR has come up huge repeatedly for us already this year and arguably our second most important player. Offensively he can get off any shot which is crucial when we start playing one on one ball. JR when his game is on he is creating for others, crashing the boards and playing stellar perimeter defense. Love having him on this team.
Felton: The one thing you have to give credit to Felton in this season thus far is his willingness to play through injuries. The other is when we start getting stagnant on offense, he is usually the one to start taking charge. His shooting has been a little worse this year than his normal, but he is the bulldog that we all know he is. His game was looking quite smooth with Chandler and we all know what he can do with Amar'e. With the return of Iman and Amar'e, hopefully he will start taking some better shots. Been good thus far though.
Kidd: Everything and more for us. He's still shooting over 40% from three, even after his blistering start. Kidd has brought leadership that we desperately needed on this team. He can still crash the boards, can still get steals at a great rate. His minutes have been a little high and hopefully with the return of Shumpert we won't have to run him out there consistently over thirty minutes. Kidd looked quite comfortable playing the two for us and his game really only slowed down a bit when he was asked to play the point guard role full time.
Novak: His three ball has dipped from 47% to 44% and people act like the world is falling. That's his role out there, to stretch the floor. He will never be a defensive stud nor will he be battling for boards. A role player is someone who has a defined role, his niche is to shoot the three. I think Novak is doing a solid job and I have no qualms with him. Is his defense where Id like it to be? No. Do I wish he grabbed more boards? Yes. Is that the player he is? No.
Sheed: I was loving what he was doing with our second team unit. He was that floor general playing that Chandler role on defense. His shooting started to come around and was starting to hit the three. He really wasn't teaching anyone how to post up, but damn he was still putting in that work. I pray that he's not lost for the season because he was worth more to us than a lot of people realize.
Copeland: What else can you ask of him? When his number was called he has answered every single time. When Melo got hurt or suspended he has poured in the points. His game is awkward, his defense is unrefined and he can't really dribble. However much like Novak, his role is to score. He can score from anywhere on the court and has shown no fear if asked to carry on a bigger load. He is something I expect to be an excellent spot start or go to if were in a scoring drought.
Shumpert: Can't wait for him to get his legs back underneath him. It's been two games but you can tell that he hasn't really lost any of that athleticism that made him a terror on the perimeter. We need to see what he can do with his shooting and if it's improved at all from last year. Also with the intriguing lineups that we can throw out there, how often will he look to create for others instead of looking to score.
Brewer: Came out of the gate playing great basketball, his three's were falling and seemed to be our only player who cut to the basket. He played some solid perimeter defense and didn't mind doing any of the grunt work. Of course a few months later he finds himself out of the rotation playing just sporadically, but I still really like this signing. We didn't sign him for his scoring, but someone we can bring in and play that defense. With Brewer, Shumpert, JR and Felton we have a bunch of guards who can play defense on the perimeter. This still to me is a signing that will pay off come playoff time if we need a body to throw out there and play defense.
Pablo: Master of the 2K steal, he has been a real good backup. It took him a little while to get the feel of the NBA, but you can see that is no more. Now his biggest challenge is when to look for his shot or when to create. He forces turnovers by being a pesky defender, he pushes the ball at times and runs a smooth pick and roll game at times. He to me is someone who will be a better second half player as he gets more acclimated with the team and the NBA.
Kurt: Played the goon role just fine and was asked to start a few games that he had no business starting. It was sad at first because his shot was off and I just wasn't used to Kurt missing... ever. Over the past three weeks, there have been games in which he collects dust and others he logs ten minutes. His shot is back, he grabs a few boards and has even gotten some blocks. For a 8-10 minute player, Kurt is doing fine when his number is called.
Camby: Really sucks losing him to injury. Much like Sheed, he was nice to have on the court. I really liked the prospect of him and Chandler starting, because they showed in a few of the games the ability to lock down the paint. His shot was off, but he was looking to pass more often than not. With injuries to both Sheed and Camby, those are two defensive generals that we're deprived of right now. Right now all we can do is depend on the veteran leadership.
White: When he started, he didn't embarrass himself. Usually reserved for garbage minutes, White has grabbed some boards and made a few assists. He's shown that he has the three point shot and really only takes good looks. Much of this is due to the fact that it's garbage time, but he has shown that he belongs in the league.
Amar'e: Nine games into his comeback, I think he's progressing quite nicely. He has accepted his role on this team and it's better for us and his knees. He's doing a decent job on the boards and his defense is better than it was last year. However the best thing he has going for him are these two things, the first is that he is getting to the line at an impressive rate. Five FT's while playing twenty minutes is a nice rate that I really hope that he keeps up. The other thing that I really like is that he doesn't have to hold back on his fouls, we don't have to worry about getting into foul trouble making any excuse for a defensive lapse inexcusable. His legs are still getting back underneath him and over the past three games he has looked a lot better. For us to really make a second half push, he will be pivotal. We all know that happens when Melo is off and we're searching for that guy to pick it up. Amar'e will be our guy, Amar'e has the ability to really alter the game. When he's getting to the line, dunking on the opposing team he has the ability to shift the momentum. His defense needs to keep getting better from day to day, hopefully we have Sheed/Chandler/Woodson/Camby lecturing him day in and day out.
Overall you got to be happy with this team, we have performed good. Considering the injuries we've had you got to expect a better second half than the first. I don't think team's have figured us out at all, when our shooting is off we tend to still keep it close with our defense. I think this team finally has some stability, something that can't be overlooked. It's been such a long time that we've had some consistency with the coaches, a locker room that gets along and a star player that isn't beefing with his coach.
I really believe better things are to come.
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