doclinkin wrote:Of players with star potential already on the squad.... Here's one:
The addition of Daniel Gafford elevated and altered this team last year. He was exactly what the squad needed. ... Gafford was able to put up ~10 and 6 with 2 blocks in 17 minutes. If he were able to maintain that rate as a starter with no drop off, we are looking at per 36 numbers of 20+pts 11+rb 3.6 blocks and 1+ steal....
If Gafford put up those numbers over a season, as a starter playing 25 minutes a game, he'd be one of the top handful of Centers in the league. Period. Small handful.
It strikes me that's the best kind of "potential" too -- that a guy has already done it, the questions that remain being: 1) can he do it as a starter, & 2) can he do it over a whole season.
No one else on the team has shown star potential in that way. For anyone else, it would be a matter of, as you say, "flashes" -- occasional games where a guy looks like he might have the ability to be great.
TBH, I'm not sure we have any of those. We have guys who've shown flashes of the potential to be really good, to be excellent NBA players. But, "stars?" "Star potential?" I can't think of anyone else but Gafford.
i've got a few I could make a case for, plausible or no. But I'm surprised there's not one more guy on your list. What player currently on the team, as a starter, against quality competiton:
Has gone 14 for 14 in a game.
Averaged 18/10 per 36 in Washington,
Shot over 70% from 2 and over 40% from 3 the last season he played.
Granted, I have banged on about his slow-footed positional defense out on the perimeter. HOWEVER, on a team with solid on-ball pressure and perimeter defenders, I think a rejuvenated, healed, stronger Thomas Bryant could prove a serious asset on defense when we can afford to play drop coverage. It looks like his rehab also includes building his core strength and improving his lateral quickness, which combined with the positional defensive fundamentals that Wes coached to turn Jokic into a solid defender, it's not inconceivable he takes a leap forward on defense. He won't stint on the effort and activity anyway. A stronger faster Thomas Bryant, shooting at his usual efficiency but with improved defense, that player would be a force in this league.
This guy has shown more than just flashes. He has consistently put up efficient numbers. His defensive numbers have suffered given that he was on a team that had to make up for IT's breakdowns, but in the bubble, once Isaiah heroball Thomas was no longer on the team, he showed up as a high effort defender. If a player can reach their potential based on effort and hard work then Thomas has a chance to live up to our best hopes for him.
Granted, he'll compete with the aforementioned Gafford for those reps and opportunities. Not to mention a former 6MOTY. Still, With his ranged attack Bryant adds a dimension the others have not shown. With Gafford I have a short checklist of things he can do to ascend. With Bryant that checklist has one item: better defense. You can break it down further (lower stance, better positional anticipation, quicker feet, better balance, better core strength) and you can suggest that his numbers will be dependent on if he develops good chemistry with Dinwiddie or back-up ballhandlers. But if Thomas Bryant is scoring with that level of reliability in the playoffs, from long range, he changes how this team is defended. A ranged shooter in the front court who can still defend and rebound lets us remain Big at both ends. That is a player who opens up the playbook for every other player that shares the court with him.