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It seems like everyone is expecting us to have to really fight for a playoff spot, but I have a hard time believing we are anything but a playoff caliber team. Some thoughts to ponder..
1) CP3 should be healthy again. Anyone that watched the end of last season knows that Chris Paul was not himself. And one thing I found really promising about him is his improved 3 point shot. He’s absolutely lethal in the paint, and many times point guards play a few feet off of him to respect his quickness and dribble. In the past, he didn’t exploit that as much as he could have, but I think he’ll start to. This will also allow him to play off the ball when he and DC are in the game at the same time. And don’t forget that he is an extremely hard worker who watched DC succeed (moreso statistically than getting wins) in the regular season, and then listened to announcers worship Rondo, Nash, and Deron Williams throughout the playoffs. Do NOT underestimate Paul: he will be back with a vengeance
2) Aaron Gray/Okafor. Okafor’s struggles were very evident last year, having one of the worst years of his career. After watching Andrew Bogut look like a hall of fame center against Okafor, it became very clear that Okafor has trouble defending against centers with a lot of size. Aaron Gray (coming back?), from what I understood, was a good bit overweight. He is still very young, and has true center size. Should he get back into shape and develop, his strengths should complement Okafor’s fairly well. By no means will this be a strength for us, but it shouldn’t be as glaring a weakness as it was last year
3) Thornton/DC- a lot of people were surprised by the production of DC and Thornton last year. I, for one, had no idea how good Collison was. Having seen Thornton plenty of times at the PMAC, I knew exactly what he brought to the table. With two late picks (yes, one as a trade with the Heat), we grabbed two top 5 rookies last year. They are both hard-working players that should continue to improve. It only helps that they had to shoulder a good bit of the load last year. Experience is definitely a plus here
4) DWest- mid-range assassin. I used to have some problems with West, as he seemed to make atrocious decisions when he went 1 v 1 in the post. But as last year progressed, he really picked it up, and he truly became a leader for our team. Still possesses one of the best mid-range shots in the NBA, and has great chemistry with CP3.
5) Monty Williams- Is it just me, or does anyone else have a really good feeling about this guy? A former player with a lot of passion for the game. I think players appreciate a coach that can get on the floor during training and demonstrate things. It seems his emphasis is on hard work, something that should rub off well on our players. And I hope he can make some strides with JuJu, at least to where he can develop a better jump shot and put in some good bench minutes for us.
6) This year’s draft sets up perfectly for us. Our backcourt already has a lot of promise. We could use a combo forward or a center, both of which are available