Sacre's biggest strengths, as an unheralded #60 rookie draft pick, are defensive positioning, physical strength and good mobility. Sacre is already becoming somewhat polished. He is getting into a nice rythm with Howard out. He should be a nice role player coming off the bench this season. CDR is also proving that he is an asset on the floor, especially since most of the time he is on the floor in preseason garbage time, with no real quality teammates around him. I would like to see CDR play with Nash. Same with Earl Clark. We could go Nash/CDR/Ebanks/Clark/Pau sometimes, for very effective run and gun offense. So many possibilities.
As far as the rest of the team goes, I saw improvements from the last game to this one, especially with the second unit. I am starting to think CDR is pretty much a lock to make the team, as is Sacre I believe. DJO, Goudelock, Aguilar, Somogyi, and Nelson are all goners. I think we should keep 14 of the 20 players. We can cut Darius Morris to make room for a player down the road. I say we should cut him now, even though his contract is guaranteed. The kid simply cannot play effectively at the professional level. He has an inefficient shot, he is careless with the ball, and he doesn't play good postitional defense. He also tends to foul when he's in man on man defense.
Pau was way too inefficient tonight. He kept badly missing open jumpers, as well as that dunk on a great pass by Nash. Ebanks was pretty good, he is showing some improvement, but he missed 2 easy open looks under the basket, so there is still a lot of room for improvement. He seems like he is trying too hard sometimes.
Earl Clark and Darius Johnson-Odom need to get more PT with one or two starters, otherwise they are not getting a fair opportunity to prove themselves IMHO. Mike Brown seriously improved the continuity of the bench reserves play, so props on that. Overall, I am very optimistic after this performance. We played a hungry, aggressive Portland starting unit to a first half standstill with Meeks and Sacre repacing our two best players. Not too shabby, especially when you consider that Jordan Hill wasn't coming in for Gasol or Sacre either...
This is awesome because our bench is going to develop better with Kobe, Dwight and Hill out. When we get those three back, then the guys behind them will be that much more prepared. AND HOW ABOUT MEEKS? He is thicker/more athletic than I thought. Kid has put in some serious work this off season. Me Likes!
The End is nigh. Time for a total Cut and Shuffle. Kobe contract was a mistake...time to avoid making more. The future is here, whether we want it to be or not. An era is over, but for the death rattle, and it's time for the cycle to begin anew. Growth and change are scary and painful, but alas...nothing worth achieving comes easily.