The only guys we can outright dump are Strawberry, Alexander, Mbenga, and Pops. Anything else would have to involve another team, even if it is a salary dump. While that may happen, if the guys we want to dump are that bad, why would anyone take them on without adding a piece, at least this early on. Perhaps there has been some injury that has created a need? Any data on this? We will have at least 12 players unless another team gets involved due to the number of guaranteed contracts we hold . We will have a maximum of 15 players due to NBA rules. Therefore, without the involvement of another team, we will retain the services of at most 3 of Strawberry (combo guard), Pops (power forward, center?), Joe Alexander (power forward, small forward), and Mbenga (center). Do we need 12 due to the inactive rules? Mbenga plays one of the positions of greatest need with potentially smallest supply, so he's least likely to get sacked. He also has the rare attribute of being 7'0 tall. Gray would have to reallyreallyreally out perform him, outright Connor McCloud (of the clan McCloud) him, for him to not make roster due to on-court issues. Strawberry's main threat to the roster is the fact that we are pretty stacked at guard with Chris, Marco, Marcus, Willie, and now Curtis. A 6th guard may be useful, especially if one goes buhbye in a trade. Though he can play 2 positions, we are pretty well covered at at least 1 since we have 5 guards if the take the standard depth chart approach here. The opposite is true for Pops as he can play two positions of some need, however well, so I see that as his edge to make the team (I still would like to hear other opinions on the matter). Now, center is pretty well covered from a guaranteed contract point of view, but Pops could play a small center with his energy if we ever do the 3 guard thing. Still, I'm really just going to count him as a player at power forward since he's nothing to me if he can't do that. Strawberry plays two positions (as do they all) that are well-covered, but he could be kept as insurance since we have ALL of our non-Paul guards have expiring contacts, ignoring that Quincy and Ariza can play the 2; that's not where they are slotted for primary usage as far as I can tell. Mbenga will be an expiring, cheap 7-footer. Pops plays two positions of need, and the one he's best suited for is the one where we have had the biggest void in the past. Joe has essentially showed mental lapses. If Peja has the physical tools to play power forward, then Alexander does even if he gives up 2 inches to Peja. The difference is brains. Anyone will get manhandled if they aren't positioned right, in the right stance. He chose to play soft when laying those balls in with Dwight looming somewhere in the area code. Getting mauled by Dwight doesn't make you a casualty; not even putting up a fight does. I don't know if he doesn't know if he's not in a game or what, but that aloof air he has about him has likely sealed his fate here. Additionally, he's playing the position where we have the most depth, shooting forward. Yeah, I just typed that. Let me type it again. Additionally, he's playing the position where we have the most depth, shooting forward. Yeah, I just typed that. That's how I see it, with all these guys treading water, Joe having gone under twice. I wouldn't break my heart to see us going forward with 13 guys.
absolutely alexander's biggest problem is between his ears...he lacks bball smarts due to being a late bloomer and still being really inexperienced...after the league's best shot-blocker swatted away his first lay-up, he should have gotten the message, but he tried it two more times w/ the same result another example from the same game...in the second half, although the game was out of reach, joe had the ball on the left side and instead of driving the ball and making something happen, he just thought about it for a second and then fired up a 2 point jumper...it was stupid and he immediately got pulled he's got ability and athleicism, though, and the hornets need both...2 weeks ago he looked like a lock for the top 12...i still think he'll make the 15 man squad
My initial thought was that Pops had a better shot. I overlooked Alexander partially through a decision to say more about fewer people but partially due to him not really standing out to me. Pops looked like he had some nice upside. My confidence that he'd make the team has cooled from my initial enthusiasm, but I still think he stands a better shot the Alexander. Pops just seems more into it and plays more naturally. He is by no means a lock in my mind, but he seems more likely than Alexander. It may just be that Alexander has his good karate exactly where we already have better karate, at the 3, which is weird. He was billed initially as a PF, however, so I'm guessing this idea that he can be a good SF has an element of charitable speculation to it. I've liked Alexander's good point and would not be upset if they found a way to keep a hook in him, give him some non-guaranteed deal, etc., but I pretty sure such things are not realities in the regular season.