Boy, what a season.
Personally, I kinda loved that things went awry. Most of us realized that this team was not going to go far, even if we even made the playoffs (which we didn't-- thanks math!), and without Championship aspirations we already had an eye towards the future. The nice thing about the tanking, or preview to the rebuild, was that we got to see a lot of the young, new guys get a chance to play more minutes.
So without further ado, here's a breakdown of all our guys who were either rookies, sophomores, or joined the team this year:
-- Raymond Felton -- I carelessly threw around terms like PGOTF, and BBIQ, and excellent shooter before Ray was traded to the 'Zers. Clearly, these terms don't apply to Ray-Ray. You broke our hearts early on, and then you drove us to the point of insanity. When we wanted to win games, you single-handedly lost them for us; when we were tanking, you brought out your best game.
-- Jamal Crawford -- nice seeing you on the sidelines in a suit. You brought exactly what we all thought you would bring, which was the mentality that you never met a shot you didn't like, but boy, you still made us shake our heads (a lot).
-- Kurt Thomas -- at the beginning of the season, I thought you were a great acquisition, and that the Bulls really missed out. Then I realized that you were a better version of Juwan Howard, i.e. 6 hard fouls, a solid shot within reasonable distance, and a great veteran for the young guys. But boy, if you weren't one of the guys that mentally checked out after the All-Star break, then maybe I was wrong and just underestimated you.
-- Craig Smith -- aka the Rhino, Craig really didn't bring much to this team in his limited play. At the beginning of the year, he was a fringe rotation guy, grabbing boards and scoring on limited shot attempts. All of a sudden, something changed, and it was all offense for Craig. Which was great, until you realized he played soft defense and his rebounding was sub-par of what he was asked and expected to do.
-- JJ Hickson -- boy, you were a shining light for this team in the last third of the season. We picked you up off the waiver wire, and you brought energy and hustle every game, doing the dirty work and fitting in reasonably well with LaMarcus. Hopefully, we can bring you back either with the QO, or a nice 2-year, $4M a year contract, or something in that ballpark.
-- Luke Babbitt -- when you started getting minutes off the bench, you were nervous, until you became our Chalupa Savior. Now, you're hitting 3s with the best of them, and you're soo close to being the leading 3pt% shooter for 2011-2012. Now, if only we could get you to work on your defense. On the plus side, your handles are better than I would have imagined. Thanks for not letting us Nevadans (ok, just me) down. Btw, thanks for that whole Getting Your Candy Stolen clip- whenever I think about it, I smile :)
-- Elliot Williams -- you have so much potential, and yet we're unsure of whether we should be seriously concerned about your injury-plagued first two years in the league. But damn!, you can jump, and you've got a nice stroke too. Can't wait till you're back on the court.
-- Nolan Smith -- at times, you had things working for you. At times. But for the most part, you looked lost; your shot was iffy; and you were a step or two behind the game. I don't know what to think about 0 assists in almost 40 minutes in the last home game, and in fact, I'm leaning towards you, Matthews, and Shawne Williams as the guys to throw into a trade.
-- Jonny Flynn -- I was excited when we picked you up, as I always thought you were under-appreciated. Yes, you're short. No, you won't be a high % shooter from 3pt-land. However, you have nice court vision, can dish out assists, and can finish around the rim. You'll never be our PGOTF, but I sure as hell wouldn't mind you backing up our starting PG, as long as you're on the cheap.
-- Hasheem Thabeet -- You were our comedy relief for the end of the year, and I for one truly appreciated it. You're 7'3" tall, and yet you could hardly play defense. In fact, your best block this season happened when you kicked the ball out of Al Jefferson's hands. Nonetheless, I always got a kick out of seeing you on the court, as I partially smiled/ partially cringed. I'm not sure if you'll even be in the NBA next season, but it's probable, as some gullible team will take a chance on a human giant.
-- Shawne Williams -- we hardly knew 'ye, and hopefully it remains that way. I'd like to see you thrown in a trade during the Draft, as your sub-5 PER was worst in the league for a guy averaging 20 minutes a game this season.
Anyways, feel free to share your thoughts, hatreds, and dreams about the new guys in the comments below.