1. The usual shot across the bow- if you have to pull up some obscure stat to try to make your point, like PPPITP or opponent's PPS, probably time to rethink your argument.
2. Tristan and Hawes- both better than many people realize at defending the rim. Both terrible at defending the perimeter. In today's NBA, that means they can't play together. I'm very curious to see if Tristan improves on this with a restful season. If he can't, he needs to move to Center. You just can't play PF if you can't defend stretch 4s without tripping over your own ankles. I think Tristan's defense actually got worse this year because unlike in previous years, teams gameplanned for him and that meant forcing him to defend around the arc.
3. Speaking of gameplanning, I think Kyrie does terrible when he thinks about what he's going to do when he's bringing the ball up the court. When he thinks "I'm going to involve my teammates more" or "I need to drive and score", it just doesn't work. He needs to get the ball up the court quickly, see what the defense does, and then counter it. I think that he tends to do more pre-thinking when it's an important game, and that's why we keep losing the important games. It's going to get worse, too, and opposing teams figure out this pattern. It's certainly not a fatal issue- Tony Parker's the same way, and Popp has adjusted so that he (Popp) doesn't call plays as much any more.
4. Dion's a much better defender than people realize- it's just that when he screws up, it's obvious to the world. Considering that he was IMO the second worst defender in the league in '12-'13 (curse you Mullens!) that's enormous progress, and I expect him to get even better next year. Unfortunately, "better defender than people realize" is still only a bit above average, and even that's probably only from going against bench players as much as he does.
5. Anthony Bennett was terrible on both sides of the ball for two months, but he was much better after that. He shot about as well as Tristan around the rim and actually performed pretty well outside of the arc. I'm also much higher on his perimeter defense than most people- I thought he had good instincts for it, and while he was caught off-guard quite a bit I expect that to come. If you exclude the two bad months, he did as well as I think anybody should have expected on both sides of the ball. The issue here, as it was with Dion, is that so much of it was against backups that it's hard to know how well it's going to translate.
6. Varejao was extremely important to this team. Except for a short period in February, he seemed to lead the team. Not only is he the best defender on the team by a wide margin, but the rest of the team did better on defense when he was out there. When he was starting, the passing was much improved as well. I think a major part of that was having played Coach Brown's defense before. I'm kind of scared how this team's going to look if we trade him.
7. That period where Kyrie took over the team and they managed to win four games in a row in spite of missing Varejao, Miles, and Dion is what gives me hope for this team in the future. The various meltdowns by Bennett, Bynum, Dion, Kyrie, and others makes me despair that this team is never going to be more than a bunch of prima donnas who no coach is going to be able to control, and that we need to break up the band and start over. In real life, the Bad News Bears stay bad news.
8. We have $26M in cap space. Unless we pick up a guy like Lebron or Carmelo, I don't know that there's $26M worth of players I actually want. I don't like Jarrett Jack, but would you rather spend $14M for Kyle Lowry? How about $10M for Lance Stephenson, when he had a knock-down drag-out fight with a teammate which probably threw off the entire team's game for the first game in the playoffs? Maybe I'm wrong, and there will be decently priced players on the market. What it feels like, though, is that we'll end up either massively overspending or keeping what we have. We may as well keep Bennett, Tristan, and Miles, because I seriously doubt we'll find better players out there for a decent price, and the last thing we should want to do is sign more Jarrett Jacks just because we have the money.
9. I cannot figure out Luol Deng. His shot chart in 2012-13 is bad. His individual defense hasn't been good either. It is undeniable that he makes the teams better that he's on, but I can't put my finger on how. It isn't setting picks, or blocking shots, or rebounding, or any of the other traditional ways. He's a good help defender and a good passes, but it's hard to find numbers for that. As a result, even if I had a crystal ball and knew that he'd be completely healthy for next season, I find it hard to determine how much he's worth, and whether we should resign him.
10. Matthew Dellavedova is already good enough to be a backup PG in the NBA. Don't read anything into the fact that he didn't play there much last year- that's what guys like Mike Brown do with rookie PGs. What scares me is that his defense is all about guts and effort, and without it, he's worthless. That should be fine, but the last guy we had like this was Alonzo Gee, and when he got a long-term contract those guts mysteriously vanished and his defense took a nosedive until the contract was a month or two from expiring. Now I kinda nervous about relying on Delly. We'd we'd kept Shaun, that would have made life so much easier.