First time poster here, but I have been reading this blog for the past few years and you all do a great job, so kudos. After reading some of the posts recently, I had to chime in about the varying views about MCW and his future potential as a player in the league, whether he be a superstar in the making, a solid piece on a future contender, or a solid but unremarkable starter on a middle of the road team. I personally am ecstatic over what he has shown to date. Expectation were very limited when we drafted him this past year. Most people thought he could be a decent ball distributor and his length and defensive capabilities could be an asset, but that is where the projected positives ended and and where the discussions about his deficiencies began. The biggest knocks against him were primarily his ability to shoot as evidenced by his sub par FG% in college and his age, which many thought would cap his ceiling.
Despite his great start to the season and his play since then, I still see a lot of people (you know who you are) feeling he is definitively not going to be a "franchise player" in this league due to the reasons I stated earlier (primarily shooting). I don't see how you can proclaim to know his ceiling after playing 24 games in the leagues. He is the odds on favorite for ROY to date, and deservedly so. His averages through those 24 games are (as per NBA website):
FG%: 41.1%, 3PT%: 29.3%, FT%: 70.2%, RPG 5.7, APG: 7.1, SPG: 2.67, BPG: .71, TO: 3.42, PPG: 17.7
So this show that he certainly could work on his shooting %s (although his FG% is higher than it was in his last year in college) and his Assist/TO ratio could improve (although still over 2). Now for the positive, who could be underwhelmed with a player averaging 18 ppg, 6 rpg, 7 apg, 3 spg, 1 bpg (rounded) as a rookie? He is playing arguably the most important position on the floor on a bad team. He has proven that he is an exceptional defender and rebounder for his position compared to others in the league. In addition, 7.1 assist per game on a team with not particularly good options to pass to is nothing to scoff at. Also averaging 17.7 pts/game at PG is above average as their primary role is to distribute to others. The question is, how many rookies have performed this well or better in their 1st years in the league? The answer: very, very few.
I also wanted to address the doubts about his ceiling due to entering the league a little longer in the tooth than some other players. MCW turned 22 in Oct and based on some of the post on here it seems like some feel he is already over the hill and his ability to improve his game is very limited because he is too old. I personally think that is just plain silly. Is it a benefit to be exposed to NBA coaching, and playing against NBA talent when you are younger (say 19 yrs.old) then when you are older? Of course. Does it mean that when a player gets that opportunity at 22 instead and seems to respond well to the upgrade in opposition that it doesn't matter because he was 2-3 years older than some other players coming into the league? Absolutely not. I also see a lot of supposed fans here trying to seek out any advanced statistics they can to undermine what this kid has done, and I personally find no value in doing so. Are there aspects of his game his still has to work on? Yes. Does every rookie not named Lebron have parts of their game to work on? Yes.
So to sum up, I'm not saying he is the second coming of Chris Paul, but what he has shown to date in the limited sample size of 24 games has been almost all positive. Will he be able to take a team on his back and be the top or second option remains to be seen, but I don't think it is completely out of the realm of possibility based on what he has shown even if he admittedly is not there now.(he is a rookie- give the kid a break).
This is a little off topic, but I see so much focus on this blog about the upcoming draft class and how important it is to get a top 4 pick. I also want a top 4 pick, who wouldn't? Just know, there is no guarantee that a player's game will translate from college to the NBA .Sure the talent at the top end of this draft looks amazing, as of now, but that doesn't mean there won't be any busts ( there have been many in the past i.e Darko, Eddy Curry, and even Bennett from this past year so far). We have a guy now who has already displayed that he can compete against NBA level talent in MCW which I find more valuable than the unknown. Also, those who think that diamonds in the rough can't be found outside of those top picks are just plain wrong. Take a look at the 1998 draft for instance. The 4 top players from that draft were imo Dirk Nowitzki 9, Paul Pierce 10, Vince Carter 5, Rashard Lewis 32 (pretty awesome when with the Supersonics). The top 4 actual picks in that same draft- Michael Olowokandi, Mike Bibby, Raef LaFrentz and Antwaan Jamison. Although the top 4, outside of Olowakandi, were decent players, they had no where near the value of those later picks I listed,so all is not lost if we don't get a top 4 pick and no I am not on #teamchill. I would love the higher pick and the greater # of options it allows, but it doesn't mean we don't get a star if we don't pick in that range.
In closing, I was a big fan of Jrue, and when Hinkie pulled off the draft day trade, although I knew it was a necessity in order to build a contender, I was disappointed,because I felt Jrue was one of the only pieces we had in place already for a rebuild. After seeing MCW play I am much happier about the move as I feel will still have that piece in place despite losing Jrue. I'd love to hear some response/legitimate rationales for capping this kid's potential, from those who seem to only focus on MCW's deficiencies rather than his strengths.