Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Grading the UConn Alumni in the NBA

Ray Allen: A. Age hasn’t slowed down this sharp shooter and he has settled into his role off the bench with the Miami Heat.  He has enjoyed the space teams are giving him with James and Wade slashing to the basket.  At this rate he has three or more seasons left in the tank and he’ll stretch out that three point record to impossible heights.

Rudy Gay: A-.  It has been a tough year for Rudy.  He was traded mid-season from Memphis to Toronto.  While the transition took some getting used to, the Raptors started to gel towards the end of the season.  It is still unknown if he can carry a team, but he’ll have the opportunity next season.

Caron Butler: B+. He has all the talent in the world and is in the prime of his career yet Butler hasn’t broken out into elite status.  He’s shown glimpses of a 20 point and 10 rebound performer but his consistency game in and game out just isn’t there.

Kemba Walker: B.  Jordan and the Bobcats gave the team over to Walker and he did produce better numbers but it didn’t correlate into wins.  He’s shown the ability to score but doesn’t look as fluid in directing the offense as other point guards in the league.  If he keeps improving like he has in the prior two seasons then he should be fine, but if his progress flat lines than he might be looking over his shoulder for the next point guard.

Emeka Okafor: B. The Wizards desperately needed some leadership and Okafor provided it, anchoring the paint and giving them some consistent play.  He isn’t going to dominate a game but will provide a team with solid post play and a player that works hard on the boards.

Ben Gordon: B-.  The transition to the Bobcats did little for Gordon’s production.  He had career lows in points, minutes played, 3-point percentage, and assists.  The most disappointing thing was that this was on a team that he should have thrived in.  Hopefully he can bounce back from this disappointing season and find the old Ben Gordon from the Chicago days again.

Andre Drummond: B-. No one knew what to expect out of Drummond in his rookie year.  He underachieved in college and was labeled lackadaisical but he put all of that to bed.  He became a highlight reel with dunk after dunk and also contributed heavily on the boards.  He still is a liability at the line and needs to work on a post game, but his ability to score around the basket will keep him employed for years to come.

Hasheem Thabeet: C. There is no better story from an UConn alumni than Thabeet’s.  He was on his way out of the NBA as an epic bust, but found a spot on the Thunder’s roster, backing up Perkins.  He contributed right away and showed ways to rebound which was one of the major reasons for his failure in Memphis and Houston.  He’ll never be a starter, but his resurgent play in Oklahoma has given him new life in the NBA.

A.J. Price: C. While it wasn’t a breakout year for Price, he did thrive in Washington, getting more than 22 minutes a game.  He has limited his turnovers, passed the ball much better, and has been able to knock down open jumpers.  He’ll get less minutes next year because Wall is back from injury, but he should do well again.

Jeff Adrien: C.  Adrien is a testament to how hard work can pay off.  He has found a home in Charlotte and has settled into his role as a player that can scrap in the paint for rebounds and provide solid defense.  He even was able to start 5 games this season which is amazing considering his journey.

Rip Hamilton. D.  This year was supposed to be a bounce back season for Rip, but it ended up being an up and down year where he battled injury and sub-par play.  He ended up riding the pine in the playoffs and his storied tenure in the NBA is nearing its finale.

Jeremy Lamb: D. Lamb had a tough rookie season.  He got traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder which already had a deep bench and an abundant amount of young talent so he was sent down to the D-League for awhile.  He did get some game time in but other than one game, he never had more than 12 minutes of playing time.   His numbers won't jump off the page but that is understandable since he is a streaky player who needs some playing time to let the game come to him and with the sprinkling of minutes coming his way, he never got comfortable on the court.


NewRap said...

I don't know if lamb deserve a D he didnt really get a fair chance to get minutes. Maybe a C for average or an incomplete.

David Gillett said...

True. I gave him a D grade because when he did have an opportunity to play, he didn't perform as well as he should've. He needed to force OKC to find a spot for him on the bench especially for a first round draft pick.

Andrew said...

I think I'd have to disagree with you re: Caron. He's 33 and a veteran who has battled some injuries - he has reached his peak, and it doesn't make sense to expect him to improve. That said, he's looked to for leadership on a Clippers team that has underachieved, so I don't think your grade is way off. Thanks for putting this together!

David Gillett said...

Thanks for commenting Andrew. I gave Caron his grade simply because of his tool set and what he is consistently able to do with it. He should be able to day in and day out put up 20 and 10 numbers.

Andrew said...

I'm not saying he hasn't underachieved somewhat, and again I don't disagree with the grade, but off the top of your head how many guys this NBA season averaged 20 & 10? Caron would have been the only one. Twelve guys scored at least 20 and six grabbed at least 10 boards. No overlap.

David Gillett said...

I know. It is just that Butler has all the tools. He has the body to post up, the shooting ability to knock down threes, has the handle to take his man off the dribble, and has an above the rim game. To me that is the whole offensive package yet he sometimes disappears offensively from games and his defense is average. I'm not saying that he would average 20 and 10 but he should be flirting with those numbers considering his skills.