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I know we've only had 2 preseason games and that this is therefore a very
premature message, but I just wanted to share some thoughts and elicit ideas
from others about who has thusfar earned the right to play, and where they should.
Walker: Is still shooting like crap. Doesn't seem to have changed his approach
one bit, which is troubling when this is supposedly his make-or-break season.
I'm totally confused why Pitino insists on playing him at PF. Pitino's already
hinted about stripping him of the captain's title.
Fortson: Rebounding machine, and also has a great attitude. Deserves minutes
if for no other reasons. He's also hitting his free throws. Questions about
defensive ability (not desire) may hold his minutes down.
Battie: Ray and Peter May keep raving about him. Can he be effective at center
Pierce: For a guy who has been "lost" in his first two exhibition games, he
shot the ball awfully well against Atlanta and also had 3 blocks. Would like
to see him hike that steals number again. I'm not worry worried about Pierce,
only where he plays, and considering our dearth of other alternatives at
shooting guard I peg him for that spot.
Eric Williams: Has gotten consistent raves. I still like him as a bench scorer
rather than a starter; he'll get plenty of minutes if he keeps this up.
Kenny: Statistically, there's nothing to knock. Complaints about not pushing
the ball still linger. Would Pitino actually bench or trade him in favor of a
guy who can't shoot but will defend and push?
Turner: Nothing but good things so far, but can a kid who can't shoot from
beyond 8-10 feet start in the NBA?
Cheaney: A total waste so far. Looks like he's picking up here he left off
last season. We need him to rediscover his shooting touch.
Griffin: DNP against Atlanta, nice production vs Charlotte. Peter May loves
the kid. Same question with Turner: how much do attitude, work ethic and
intangibles count? If Cheaney struggles, Grif might actually get some minutes.
Washington: Despite his reputation as a stopper and three-point bomber, has
done nothing so far to justify keeping him around.
Wal-tuh: An enigma. Decent production so far. Still can't see him getting
anything more than spot minutes, but maybe he's got some kind of fire in the
belly this year.
Pervis: Soo-PRISE, soo-prise, Sgt. Carter. I refuse to pin any hopes on this
guy staying healthy; Washington might ask him for help moving a table when he
Vitaly: Really bummed about this. He seems to have taken a stride backward,
maybe because he's confused about his role. I thought he was the best backup C
in the league with Cleveland.
Dana: Incomplete grade. Will be nice if he can come back and play like he did
at the end of last season.
Minor: There is a better chance of Greg Odegaard having lunch with Josh
Ozersky than of Minor suiting up for the Celtics this season.
Conclusions: Battie, Williams and Fortson seem to be demanding frontcourt
minutes. Do you bench Walker and hope he gets the message? At what point can
you continue to say, "Walker must play because he is the most talented player"
if his execution continutes to hurt the team? Pierce will continue to play
well, I am convinced; but with Griffin the only other reliable shooting guard
to have emerged, Pierce will probably not get many minutes at the 3. I think
Kenny has to continue to start, with Turner coming off the bench to spark the
pressing unit; Kenny is simply more talented than Turner, and sometimes you
have to sacrifice the system and build around your players' strengths. Dana is
the wild card here, if he comes out blazing he and Turner might form a good
enough tandem to let Kenny be moved, if possible. But I think that's a