I feel like rolling out a new gimmick, so let me introduce you to my "Starting 5." Basically if nothing else is going on this week leading up to camp, I’ll give you "5" thoughts on the "start" of the new season. Get it? Ok, its lame, but maybe I can work with it. Here goes:
5 Blatantly Obvious Questions (in other words, look for Dr. Jack to highlight these any day now)
1. Will Gary show up?
2. Is Raef Healthy? Googs?
3. Are any of the rookies ready to contribute right away?
4. Who will start: Ricky or Jiri?
5. Was Mark Blount a one-year wonder?
The questions are obvious, but that doesn’t make the answers easy. Some thoughts:
1. Yes, Gary will show up. I think he’ll even play for us this year. But I think the odds are against him playing for us beyond this postseason if he even makes it that far. (or if we do for that matter)
2. All signs point to Raef being able to play, but with a bit of pain and a reasonably high risk of re-injury. From what I’ve gathered, it will likely be a situation like we saw with Battie. He’ll need a lot of rest to make it for a whole season. Googs may be in the same boat, but because he’s further removed from surgery, he could be further along. We’ll see.
3. Yes and no. Summer league is not like the regular season, so we can’t expect Allen to average 5 dunks a game and Al to average a double-double (at least not yet). On the other hand, there is no denying these kids and their talent. If all goes according to plan, they’ll come off the bench and learn on the job because Doc and Danny are on the same page. We’ll lose a few games early on, but the theory is that we should win some in the Spring because of it.
4. Ricky. Like I explained before, he can win or lose a game for you by himself. If he goes cold, put in Jiri and put the game on Paul’s shoulders. Its not like Paul isn’t used to that by now. But when Ricky is hot, Paul will be all the better for it.
5. I think Mark will pick up where he left off. Don’t get used to seeing him score 30 or anything. But a ton of double doubles and a high field goal average can be expected. He works too hard to let his game regress without injury. If Gary is delivering the ball where he needs it, all the better. Don’t forget how good Atkins made Blount look on the pick-and-rolls. He’ll never have a velvet touch, but if his teammates are doing their job, he won’t have to.
In future posts, I’ll try to break down less obvious questions and hopefully come up with something more creative to call it.