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Old 02-18-2012, 09:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Doug Smith gives his mid season grades

Alabi's grade makes no sense. A couple of the others are also a little suspect.

JOSE Calderon B

At home he’s a terror, averaging more than 14 points and 10 assists per game; on the road he’s below 10 and seven. Still, he’s been a solid scorer who could probably be more aggressive more often. His defensive liabilities haven’t been an issue in a new system. Remains healthy.


Yes, he’s been on a bit of a scoring tear of late, four games over 20 points in his last six and he’s getting to the free throw line. Still, he hasn’t made that much progress defensively. He’s had a rather inconsistent first half of the season and he remains very much a better athlete than he is a basketball player right now.


One of the more pleasant surprises, even if consistency remains an issue. He’s on track to perhaps lead the team in steals and blocked shots and he’s cut down the costly turnovers that come with trying to do too much. He’s worked himself into the future picture quite well.


Far too few games where he’s had a huge impact, a fact partially attributable to the absence of Andrea Bargnani and the loss of operating space. He’s still active on the glass and still shoots a high percentage, he just needs to be more impactful more often.


He is what he is. Offensively limited, a big imposing presence on defence who sets some bone-rattling screens on offence. In that role — less than 16 minutes a night as some sort of tone-setter — he’s having an average year for a minimum salary big who isn’t seen as a big part of any future.

ANDREA Bargnani B+

Has missed 19 games with the calf injury but he’s been the best player on the team when he’s been in uniform. Biggest improvement, and by far the most important, is his “engagement” defensively where he’s more active than ever. A breakout season was due and he’s having it.


Slowed by the bad ankle, he’s done what he can in the role he’s been given. He can get you points in a hurry, doesn’t kill you on defence but still needs to make better decisions with the ball when he’s running the offence. Solid combo guard off the bench may be his future.


Yes, he energizes the second unit offence most nights but he’s far too much of a black hole offensively when things aren’t going smoothly. Sometimes tries to do too much instead of looking for the easy pass. Still, if he wasn’t providing some scoring, imagine where they’d be.


You have to give him a bit of a pass because he’s still not fully up to speed after the knee surgery. Still, there have been enough nights where he’s been a multi-faceted offensive threat and he was coming on strong until the latest injury setback. Could morph in a solid contributor in the second half.


He’s been a bit of a tease, active one night and invisible the next but he’s still young and raw and simply not physically strong enough at this point in his career. Yet they expected more out of him on a more consistent basis and haven’t seen it. He’s got some proving to do in the second half.


Another guy who is what he is on the court but a guy who helps in ways a lot of people don’t see. He’s the teammate who tries to hold others accountable, the most vocal defender and the toughest guy on the team. Offensive limitations aside, he’s given them what they expected and what they needed.


If anyone expected anything more than an emergency fill-in third point guard who could eat some minutes every now and then and play some defence when called upon, they were kidding themselves. He could probably make some more shots, which knocks him down a bit from an average year.


Yes, they didn’t expect an awful lot but he’s only shooting 30 per cent from the field and only 27 per cent from three-point range, which just isn’t good enough. He may devolve into simply an end-of-the-bench guy in the second half since there doesn’t figure to be any future for him here.


They tried to play him out of position out of necessity when they ran him out as a point guard and that experiment was a failure. The game just seems a split second too fast for him most nights and that can perhaps be chalked up to his relative inexperience. He is unfulfilled potential right now.


Average? Yes, average. Nothing was expected of the young big man, who was always a long-, long-, long-term prospect. He hasn’t shown a lot of promise even in practice and was a gamble that will likely ultimately not pay off. But nothing ventured, nothing gained; they took a shot and it didn’t work out.
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