The Toronto Raptors are back from Cleveland and face a home game vs. Detroit on Wednesday night. It's a busy week for the club. Here are a few quick NBA thoughts.
1. TRISTIAN THOMPSON (Cavs): Saw him last night and he is a guy folks have to be patient with as far as his development is concerned. He's still a bit raw but he's a big and strong young man who has a good work ethic and a desire to learn and improve. He's getting more comfortable with the daily NBA grind and making the necessary adjustments. His skills need to continue to blossom but he's got a terrific motor and in time will be a good one. I was impressed in stretches last night and considering he's so young, the Cavs have lots to work within the years to come.
2. KEMBA WALKER (Bobcats): Really coming into his own this season; taking and making big shots for his team. He's a lightning-fast guy who knows how to change speeds and keep you off balance. Loves to challenge the D off the bounce and is fearless in the lane against opposing big men. He is a competitive defender who backs down from no one. In spite of his team being in a major funk after a terrific start, he is a major bright spot.
3. ALAN ANDERSON (Raptors): He's been excellent in the past two games for his team. He is a fundamentally sound player who makes the right plays and is a steady defender who understands the system and his opponent's habits. He is always prepared to play; a real pro. He has shot it quite well and been solid creating off the bounce. He has limitations and as long as he plays within himself and makes the heady plays, he'll be very effective and productive. Good to have him back.
4. LOU WILLIAMS (Hawks): Honestly, ask yourself this: Do the Hawks really miss Joe Johnson that much? I'd say no. Look at the fact that the Hawks are ahead of the Nets in the standings and you can point to the pickup of this guy as a major reason why. He proved himself to be a dynamic scorer at times in Philly and once again here. Just give him time and touches and just get out of the way. He's going to compete and produce. He's one of the best pickups of the off-season by a team.
5. RYAN ANDERSON (Hornets): Loved him in Orlando and he's gotten better and better. Man, he can shoot it and he'll board for you. I remember him in college at Cal and then as a rookie with the Nets and he had sleeper written all over him. He has gotten stronger over time and become one of the best 'stretch 4's' in the League. If you can bring a few top skills like shooting and rebounding to the table, you can stick and create a nice role for yourself and he's done just that. He's a good team player who plays with energy and purpose on a daily basis.