There's something to be said for planning for the worst. Of course, that's never been my way. My two fantasy football teams are called the "Michael Bishop All Stars" and the "Kedrick Brown All Stars" because my non-Boston based friends won't let me forget about all the times I gushed about the next great hidden treasure. For those that were not around BKG (Before KG) and wonder how I got through the 18 game losing streak and year after year of rebuilding, I'll clue you in. I adored Big Al. I loved Rondo. I was a Gerald Green apologist (he's not Kedrick 2.0! really!) Delonte, Tony, Bassy, the list goes on. I wanted to see them all grow up and be great in green.
Last year was magical. I seriously wouldn't change one single thing for all the Chowda on the Cape. But there's one thing that I missed. I didn't have many young phenoms to pour my heart into. It was great seeing Rondo grow into his potential. It was fun rooting for Powe and Baby. But for the most part, it was the veteran show. The veterans will take the spotlight once again, but the backups have a decidedly younger look, and I'm pretty excited about that. Let's look for the hidden gems:
Leon Powe: Who wasn't rooting for Leon as he exploded on the Lakers in game 2? If you can't root for Leon, you don't have a pulse. He might never be a star, but he has "solid workman rotation guy" written all over him.
Glen "Big Baby" Davis: He reminds me a little of Warren Sapp in that both have great "big guy" personalities and both move much faster than they have any right to at their weight. He's shed a lot of the baby fat and gives the team great energy off the bench. All he has to do is figure out how to be more consistent and he'll be a real asset.
Tony Allen: Have we seen the best of Tony Allen? I'm not talking that fluky stretch before he got hurt (where he was handed the Paul Pierce role on a very bad team). Not the guy that was asked to experiment at the point. I'm talking about the defensive specialist guy who can slash his way to the hoop and give the team valuable minutes off the bench. Yeah, that guy.
Gabe Pruitt: Gabe was billed as a combo guard who can play point and stroke the outside jumper that Doc and Danny love so much. As a second rounder that had little fanfare and no playing time, expectations are pretty tepid. Sounds like a perfect opportunity to overachieve. Remember that Danny drafted him ahead of Big Baby.
Patrick O'Bryant: One man's trash is another man's treasure. He was a bust in Golden St. Hopefully he got out all the yips and false starts in Cali and is ready for a fresh start here. He's got the talent, he's got the wingspan, and now he's got the right coaching staff and a golden opportunity. All he has to do is put it all together.
Darius Miles: This guy once scored 47 points in a game. Really, do I need to go on? How many guys can you pick up for dirt cheap that have the potential to dominate any given game (if healthy and focused)? He's been around the block, but he's still under 30. Plenty of time to reclaim his prime.
JR Giddens: He's basically mini-Paul Pierce. A little less talent, but he seems to have matured earlier in life. He can create his own shot and play defense. He fell in the draft because of character concerns, which makes him a value pick (if his head is really on straight). Could be another Danny draft day steal.
Bill Walker: Speaking of value picks, here's a guy that was talking about jumping right from H.S. to the pros before injuries set him back. All reports are that he's working tirelessly on his game. Again, the talent is all there.
So who has the best shot at being the diamond in the rough? Who's the next Rondo? Who is the next Kedrick Brown?