One thing I would warn people away from is focusing too much on scoring. Anyone can have those nights, even Lou had one of those nights. But the big 4 (Ian, DJ, GG and Young) were having positive impacts even without scoring, that's what really impressed me. They've all shown they can get you points, but they've all also shown poise under heat and a general ability to make clutch plays on either end.
The top 9 guys on this roster can win 55 games this year, I really expect that.
It's funny how what we saw last night was exactly what we mentioned at the PD party. I likened the use of Ian instead of West late as your MLB closer coming in to get that final defensive shutdown and preserve the lead.
But seeing Ian's offensive footwork and touch around the rim? So nice. His fouls per minute which hindered him at Dallas are still going to be a problem, but when he's able to be out there he's a huge win. He does give you a sense of Antonio when he comes in, that agile but strong big that gives you a bit of everything you need.
Ian also frees up Roy to be an even more aggressive shot blocker. And he can replace Roy when needed and run just as well or better next to West. Great 3 man rotation through 2 spots.
Young's defense last night was outstanding. There were a few trips where he was just relentless in bodying his man when he tried to dribble drive to the lane, turning him away and forcing the kickout/reset pass. When you had Green out there too and that kickout went to his man it just compounded the problems for Memphis. Young isn't the scorer Green is, but he's going to be great as 9th off the bench and defensive specialist. I liked DJones, but I prefer Sam just in general and I'm glad he's getting this chance with the team.
Green - he's a much more all-around bench player than Barbosa or DJones, his hops give him a unique quality at the rim on either end, and yet he's showing a great scoring touch off the dribble and a sense of CONTROL AND CONFIDENCE that you need from the bench. SIXTH MAN CANDIDATE all the way. Very sincere. Seems obvious really. ESPN highlights keep him in people's heads and his solid box lines give him the stats to be in the running. Add in an elite team with a lot of wins, and bingo. Should be a great year for him.
DJ - look, again he's just going to get crushed almost immediately by the other PGs first step. If you swing help defense in behind that then you can cover this up. After that he's giving you great positives in every other way. His ball control skills are the best we've seen since Tinsley. He's not just Collison quick and Hill poised, he's also showing a vast array of speed change and dribble change skills that keep defenders off balance much in the way a 95 mph fastball pitcher can do when he mixes in an 80 12 to 6 curve.
He doesn't have any specific move that kills people, he just keeps on mixing in things until he's got the space he's looking for. And he has a great awareness of what space it is that he needs to find, and what to do with it when he gets it. He's showing a variety of passes to make the most of tight situations and maintains a poise right to the end of the shot clock. He's not putting up monster lines, but he's a big plus when he's out there. Only his defense prevents him from being a starter.