When we did a fan podcast the other night, we sort of touched on this. Poor Jrowan has to go through 2 hours worth of talking to edit out what needed edited out. I feel for him. I'd like to do a more indepth version...and then let the rest of FTS take over from there.
The Obvious: Drink milk and add some muscle. He's great when he's healthy. But we really would like him to stay that way. 3 consecutive seasons (dating back to college) where he's had an odd injury that has cut entirely too many games out. The good news, none of his injuries are connected. It's not Brandon Roy's knees. Also in the Obvious categroy is defense defense defense. Mike Brown should help this.
The Less Than Obvious: Trap Recognition and Passing Speed. The end game strategy was to trap him and watch him make a lazy pass. Also, I think his ability to make a cross court chest pass that defenders don't see until it's gone by them is an underrated skill. If he could add this (or even a skip pass that does that) I think we're in a great position moving forward.
The Obvious: Shot Selection and Shooting Form. Shooting form (at least according to his summer workout video) seems to be improving. But there's a huge difference in working on your shooting form with a fat guy holding a broom...and maintaining said shooting form when James Harden is closing out on you. Like Kyrie, the other Obvious is defense. Mike Brown (again) should be able to help stuff a bandage into this gaping wound to at least control the bleeding. Transitioning from a college zone to NBA Man defense did not help. But now he's got a year in the NBA. Need big strides next year.
The Less Than Obvious: Off-ball movement. He would get a lot more opportunities to shoot if he didn't stand around in the perimeter when Kyrie had the ball. This includes when Kyrie is bringing the ball up the court and he's getting trapped. His recognition of this defensive tactic early on might allow him to set Kyrie with a better passing angle.
The Obvious: Either develop a few post moves (other than a 2-dribble push shot) or a 12-15 foot jump shot. I really think that him adding a better offensive element to his game will only make things easier for Kyrie and Dion. TT having a post game allows Kyrie and Dion to pass the ball down low and take a load off offensively. If it's a jump shot, then the PnP becomes an option (which also helps open the lane up.) Either one makes our teams offense more dynamic...and that is something we could use. Though he's improved on it, the other thing I'd like to see him fix is his habit of gathering before jumping. As the season wore on, he did get better...but it seems like he still does it, particularly later in the game when he's tired. I understand why...but I'd like to see it go.
The Less Than Obvious: His rookie season, he abandoned his man to go for blocks. This last season he basically abandoned help side defense to stay with his man...and yes, those are both massive over-simplifications. I'd like to see him push for a better balance between the two. The other thing I'd like to see him working on is passing out of the high and low block. He doesn't have to be a 4 APG type of guy...but a 2.5-3 APG would help with the offense...because it means the ball is moving that much more.
The Obvious: Add strength/muscle. He got pushed around. He got beat up. He got destroyed. I would like to see him add the muscle so that he can be a semi-competent defender and play a little basketball. The other obvious item for him to fix is his shot. He was supposed to be the most NBA ready big (with a high floor and a low ceiling.) Well, his floor has some big gaping holes in it...because he was touching the foundation last season.
The Less Than Obvious: Fix your confidence little Z. You got drafted because you were thought to be instant help off the bench. Show us you can be that. I have a feeling by adding strength/muscle, he'll get some confidence. He just wasn't ready for a starting role and I think between the excessive amount of games and minutes played against guys who were clearly physically superior to him took a toll on both his mind and body. Hopefully fixing one will cause the other to fall in place.
And for a Bonus...because we didn't actually discuss this in our podcast.
The Obvious: Fix your offense. You have one of the best pair of young guards in the league...two very dynamic scorers capable of both making plays for themselves and for their teammates. Recognize this and find a way to utilize it...or find someone on your coaching staff who can make this happen.
The Less Than Obvious: Player Development - it's very important. We're not bringing a bunch of NBA vets onto this team this time around. We're going to build around our young players. So make sure you understand that there is a need for development individually and as a team. I'm not saying it was a problem the last go round...it's hard to find a spot for Danny Green when you are trying to win now. But we're in a win now and 5 years from now mode. No team with Old-Shaq, Antawn Jamison, Anthony Parker, etc...was expected to win now and 5 years from now.