Coming into the year we were pretty sure Kevin Love a borderline All-Star, we really really hoped Ricky Rubio was the real deal and we were quite sure Michael Beasley could score a ton of points if he was properly focused. Well a month has passed and we know some things.
The good news is that Kevin Love isn't going to let us pencil in Blake Griffin in at 1st team All-NBA PF for a decade. Ricky Rubio has been one of the top 5 stories in the NBA. He's living up to every optimistic hope we had on draft night. Finally, finally we aren't screaming at asinine rotations we've been subjected to for this entire rebuild, I still can't believe we have a real coach. Oh and DID YOU SEE THAT CLIPPERS GAME! Wow!
The bad news is the Mike Beasley might as well not have existed, he's been such a non-factor. Wes Johnson has been drastically worse than that (he did decide to show a bit of a pulse this last weekend, don't be fooled). Darko, *sigh*, he'll poke his head out every-so-often but he is still the most embarrassing player on the roster.
The rest, Luke is back in the role as off-guard/pg along side a rookie that is apparently his calling in life. He's earning his money. JJ looks like he should be a guy we can trust with the ball, but who really knows. AT and Pek give maximum effort and are great guys for Derrick "Charge" Williams to be around. Williams shooting hasn't been great but he looks to have a natural finishing ability along with flourish for dunks that leave me optimistic.
Anyways I've compiled my own rankings along with 7 of my closest TWB contributors and am sharing this wonderful data with you. For the purpose of adding a comparison to expectations I made up a preseason top 15 that seems pretty reasonable.
1. Kevin Love - Hard to see how he could have been any better than he's been. He must be paid the max this week.
2. Ricky Rubio - Wonderful to see Adelman handling a rookie perfectly. Looking at the few good PG season's this franchise has had, it's been shoot first guys (Marbury, Terrell Brandon, Sam Cassel) so this is the first time we've got to see studly passing from our PG. It is to be enjoyed.
---- End of Known Studs -----
3. Luke Ridnour - As I noted above, the man is in his niche and making the most of it. Who would have thought before the season that Luke would clearly be the 3rd best player AND the season would be going fairly well. Shocking.
---- End of Guys consistently contributing to wins ----
4. Michael Beasley - I put Beas a little lower but I can see why others still have him at #4. He started at #3 and Luke is the only player who has actively ripped the spot out of Mike's hands. Things couldn't have gone worse with his shooting and health. There is still hope.
5. JJ Barea - Glad you rounded up your ring this weekend, now get healthy.
6. Anthony Tolliver - He's been a little up and down especially with some key turnovers at the end of games. Never the less he is still a guy you love having around young players. AT plays unselfishly and works hard.
7. Derrick Williams - We've seen flashed but no coming out party just yet. I put him at #3 based on his overall value but this is the spot he's earned on the court. The flourish he shows on dunks and his ability to make tough And 1's give me a lot of hope. His ability to supply the refs with a steady stream of the most obvious possible charging fouls has been somewhat exhausting, but he is a rookie so I'll let him have that for now.
8. Wayne Ellington - He's been playing solidly as of late (tonight's stinker against Houston aside). This team can badly use a Shooting Guard who is willing to take and make shots.
9. Anthony Randolph - Still has that rookie glazed over look way too much of the time for a guy whose been around as long as AR has. Hard to see him shaking that and really contributing to a winning team. It is too bad because he has the skill that's for sure.
10. Peko - This was taken before last weekend, if it was done now I think he's definitely ahead of AR. Regardless he's playing really tough right now, but really hasn't put together the string of good games we'd hoped for when he showed up last year. While that is true, Joe Schweppe said it best in his contribution, " I love his post presence! I love his demeanor! I love his fouls! START PEK OR HE'LL GET ANGRY! YOU WOULDN'T LIKE PEK WHEN HE'S ANGRY!".
11. Martell Webster - No one could have an easier time jumping in this ranking by half time than a healthy Martell. No reason he can't take some where near 100% of Wes's minutes.
-- End of the Guys who might realistically contribute this year --
12. Wes Johnson - Disaster. Disaster. Disaster. Wes is damn lucky he has all the time in the world (at least this season) to figure out what is going on. There hasn't been anyone healthy available to take his minutes. You really couldn't make up a way for him to do less with this much opportunity.
13. Darko - He lifts you up before he crushes you. He'll get a little thing going than them try to gun a pass in like Ricky into the 4th row. He mysteriously plays most of the 1st quarter then presumable smokes the night away at some unknown location. Kahn's faith in him continues to be the most foolish moment of his GMing atleast from a media perspective. That's saying a lot because many GM's could never top the Flynn/Rubio farce.
14. Malcolm Lee - As a group we are hopeful. Who knows though.
15. Brad Miller - Consensus was that we have no idea if he'll ever play again. Darko led the rankings in last place votes but Brad managed to stink up the composite. Non-factor.