TSN's Jack Armstrong offers his thoughts on Philadelphia's Michael Carter-Williams, Toronto's Tyler Hansbrough, Trevor Ariza of the Wizards, Chris Anderson of the Heat and New Orleans' Tyreke Evans.
1. MICHAEL CARTER-WILLIAMS (Sixers): What a difference this guy makes. Interesting with some guys; they end up being better as pros than they were in college. Every time I watch him, I marvel at his versatility and ability to impact the game on so many levels. I thought they were a little goofy trading Jrue Holiday to the Pelicans, yet as I reflect on it now they knew this young man could be special and they wanted to clear the runway for him. Smart move. He's a keeper.
2. TYLER HANSBROUGH (Raptors): Has lost some playing time of late with the emergence of the other three front court partners that he has, yet he was truly missed last night here in Miami for his rebounding prowess and ability to win 50/50 balls and chase down balls that are long rebounds. Ankle injury leaves the Raptors a bit vulnerable inside vs. the Pacers and Pistons next two games. A concern. He has limitations, yet you truly appreciate his value when he's not out there. Tough hard-nosed competitor who leaves it all out there.
3. TREVOR ARIZA (Wizards): When I watch his team play I see a guy who is so valuable to their fortunes with his 3-point shooting ability and dedication on the defensive end. Having guys like him, Bradley Beal and Martell Webster allows John Wall to have lots of space to penetrate in the lane because they all shoot the three. His veteran leadership is big and when he got tossed out of the Raptors game on Friday night it was a critical blow to his team's chances. Control that temper - your team needs you.
4. CHRIS ANDERSON (Heat): What an ideal reserve for his team. He gives you energy and great second effort in the lane. On a team with such speed, quickness, three-point shooting and transition ability his game fits their style of play perfectly. He's a guy that thrives in tempo and lives off of teammates penetration and folks doubling LeBron James and D-Wade to free him up on the glass and for dunks. A good fit.
5. TYREKE EVANS (Pelicans): Gotta give props to coach Monty Williams. He's gotten through to him and he's playing a much more team-oriented style than we saw in his time with the Kings. His all-around game has been efficient and with him averaging 13 + PPG along with 4.9 RPG and 4.4 Assists PG, he has fit in nicely with their improving roster. Another guy with lots of talent that is finally starting to mature. He's a solid combo guard with a lot of explosiveness in his game. The key is developing consistency.