In response to BaileyPowe's comment:
as we're not likely to go from last to first again, i'd be quite pleased to make an 8th seed playoff appearance next spring as a huge step in the direction we want to go. what - 8th seed playoff is by definition mid limbo? living there year in and out is one thing, passing through is quite another.
I agree, teams that are always in the playoffs but not in contention are usually in that position not for lack of talent but lack of a stable organizational structure.
We have some decent talent, that with the right style and level of potential accomplished we could be an eighth seed . I know we technically have 18 players on the pay role now but two are good as gone (Babb, Bogans),four are on the bubble ( Johnson,Pressey,Faverani, Anthony) and another maybe wearing a different uni by November. We have a ton of what if's at this point but no definite answers. If half of of the what if's turn out positive we could be a decent team, if not, we could be worse than last year.
Last year all our what if's turned out no. This season we have some of the same what if's but with new twists and some new what if's. ;
Jeff Green, different season same question. JG is in a contract year and could be pushed for production and minutes from Evan Turner, Marcus Thorton and James Young at the 3 and Sully and OK at the 4. If JG pushes back and has a monster year he could make a big payday, if he folds into a shell he will be an MLE for the rest of his career.
Avery Bradley, can he stay healthy? This is the first year AB isn't injured or recovering from surgery in his career. I think AB is an exceptional player and to me his health is the only question. AB is a player that regardless of what position you label him, should be on the court. The fact that he has refined his game despite his injuries says to me if he can come into this season having worked on his game he could have a breakout season.
Rajon Rondo, is he able to lead a this group to over achieving or was it his surrounding cast that made him look good? Can he flourish in an more up tempo motion offense ? I'm a Rondo supporter and I give him a total pass on last season. RR is also in a contract year a has a lot of questions to answer for potential FA suitors. Has he regained his explosiveness ? Is he as good with an less experienced and accomplished supporting cast ? Can he show enough to lure another main piece here? He has a lot to gain or lose this year.
Sully and OK, will they reach their potential because of their high skill levels or will they be limited by their physical shortcomings ?
New what if's:
Marcus Thorton, will he be on the team opening day, where will he fit in ? Marcus is also entering a contract year and like Green and Evans is at a career deciding season, to fulfill his potential or be an MLE the rest of your career.
Evan Turner, this his last chance to not only resurrect his career but to stay in the league. Turner is teetering on verge on being one of the biggest top draft busts ever, he doesn't come up big this year he better learn another language.
Tyler Zeller, can he quite his critics and become the player he was in college at this level or is he a annual 10th 11th player off the bench?
Is this the team we're starting the season with? I haven't mention Brandon Bass and almost didn't mention Marcus Thorton, both may be moved before opening night.
Are Smart and Young as good as they think? Smart has been so hyped up you'd think he was the #1 pick. Is it hype or talent? Every time I saw Young play last year I was impressed, if KU won he would've been MVP. I was surprised by the direction of him being picked not with his being picked. Young has smooth game and sneaky explosive athleticism and could the steal of the draft, or not.
All the what if's turn out positive we'll be a competive team fighting for one of the last couple of spots and making the higher seed work to get by us. JG reacts positively to Turner pushing for minutes and Thorton pushing him for shots and finally realizes his potential. RR regains his explosiveness and shows he can excel in a faster more motion oriented offense and improves his FT% that would warrant a max deal. AB stays healthy and regains his unbelievable foot and hand speed and continues to improve his stroke. Turner finally gets it. Thorton realizes the are two parts of the game. Zeller, Sully and KO continue to adapt and improve. Smart is as good as advertised and Young is as good as I think he can be, we'll be good enough to both make the playoffs and get better.
If the what if's don't turn out and we start out slow expect a fire sale and watching our first and second year players a seeing the majority of minutes.
Hmmmm...awesome post. You nailed a lot of the issues with just about every player. Just wanna say.....VERY GOOD