Armstrong: Five thoughts on Bogut, Bennett and more

Jack Armstrong
10/16/2013 11:15:33 AM
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1. ANDREW BOGUT (Warriors): He has begun talks on a contract extension with the Warriors with his contract expiring at the end of the season. Considering that he missed 50 of 82 games last year and has experienced injury issues in the past, I'd say it's a good idea for the Warriors to move in a cautious fashion. Don't get me wrong; when healthy this guy is a very good player and the injuries are no fault of his own, just some tough breaks. He's a diligent worker and excellent team guy who can really pass, rebound and block shots. When he's right he's an intriguing guy in the post. Bogut understands the concerns and will have to be open to some degree of discussion with the Warriors, or anyone else this upcoming summer, to have Games Played incentives as part of a future deal. Bottom line, if he has a healthy/productive year it limits his exposure to a heavy-handed contract with incentives. Staying healthy, easier said than done.

2. MYCK KABONGO (Spurs): Kabongo was released by the Spurs; what a fall it has been the past few years for the undrafted Toronto native out of the University of Texas. The missed time from the NCAA suspension hurt his development. It's a humbling time but also an opportunity to truly look at his game and improve his shooting, decision making, and defence. All he has to do is look at a guy like Danny Green, who was briefly a teammate in San Antonio, to know that you could be down for a while but if you have the desire to improve and tighten your game another knock at the door will come. Be ready for it. Head to the D-League or Europe, get better, and bounce back. It's a temporary setback, nothing fatal. He still has lots of talent, figure it out.

3. TREY BURKE (Jazz): Burke is likely out with a finger injury for the next six weeks. It's a tough blow for the ninth-overall pick out of Michigan. He had a tough time at the Las Vegas Summer League and training camp and preseason games were critical for him to get on the right path. I loved his smarts and savvy for the Wolverines, he is an excellent distance shooter who makes others better. He doesn't have great burst to get into the seams of a defence but finds a way to effectively run an offence. What he needed was the trial and error of the October and November experience to grow. It won't be easy for him to jump on the moving train when he gets back at that position. Patience is required here.

4. ANTHONY BENNETT (Cavs): It's nice to see him back on the court after coming back from surgery. I'm intrigued by how he will transition to the pros. He's kind of a “tweener” (3/4) who can shoot the three and has a sweet face up game yet has enough interior craftiness to get his game off in the lane. His conditioning and defence will be the key to his development. He's a guy that will have some learning scenarios at both positions so he really needs to be in terrific shape, be locked in to Mike Brown's defensive schemes, and get after it from a competitive sense. There is solid competition at both spots for him so minutes won't just be thrown his way so I think this is a pretty good starting point for him. Overall, being back on the court allows him to figure it all out in live action and that's how you learn.

5. ANDRAY BLATCHE (Nets): This young man has a lot of talent yet when you watch him you always think to yourself he's only going at 75-80 percent of his potential. I can't wait to see how Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry, who are proud men who know what winning basketball and effort are all about deal with him. Having a guy like Jason Kidd as his coach, who brought an incredible blue collar effort and productivity to practice and games as a player, will be another good perspective for him. Environment does effect and this is a guy who has a lot more to give; you have to find a way to reach him. The dynamics are in place to do that. I'm fascinated to see if these guys can get that other 20 to 25 percent out of him. If they do, watch out. Ultimately, it's on him. How good do you want to be?

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