It’s report card time. I will also be making an off-court report card as well as a post trying to analyze exactly where things went wrong with the team. But for now let’s take a look at how the individual parts of this team performed over the last few months. Some notes before you look at my rankings after the jump:
- I am only counting games played for Halifax so guys like Anderson and Millien only get credit for work done for the Rainmen. Sorry Slim.
- Players who were not on the team at the end of the season do not count for the final over all mark.
- This looks at individual players, not how things actually fit together as a whole.
- It’s a mark based on how well players fulfilled the role that was asked of them. If you’re getting 15 minutes off the bench then I don’t expect the same from you as I do if you were a starter.
- Everyone’s mark is added up the same and then averaged at the end. So Tyrone McNeal’s mark affects the team just as much Tony Bennett’s.
John Strickland (PF) A- Yes, he was entertaining and hilarious, but he was also shockingly effective. His shooting percentages (particularly from the free throw line) were not good, but he got opposing bigs in foul trouble and is a very, very good defensive rebounder. Unlike most other big men on the team Strickland actually boxed out instead of just relying on his (non-existent) athleticism to get the job done. He also was the veteran leader that this team needed at the start of the season.
David Bailey (PF) B The guy gives you 7 and 7 plus a block a game in 22 minutes – I’ll take that. My only major problem was that he was that he was inconsistent, particularly on the defensive end, and he relied too much on his athleticism to grad rebounds instead of boxing out. In his defense, he was often guarding centres rather than powerforwards and this certainly didn’t help him much.
Cordell Jeanty (SF) B- Another player plagued by consistency problems, Jeanty had a more defined role under Berry. He was good and did a lot of the things other players refused to (i.e. go inside and try to grind out points), but I still feel like he ended up being a bit of a disappointment.
Tony Bennett (SG) A+ Other than Sanders I thought Bennett was the best player Halifax had this season. He led the team in points, assists and steal with 19.4 ppg (13th in the league), 5.5 apg (4th in the league) and 3.1spg (1st in the pbl). He was the go-to wing scorer that Halifax never had and created tons of turnovers. The most shocking thing to me is that the guy can dunk fairly easily despite being shorter than me.
Jimmy Twyman (PG) B While Jimmy is good he tended to disapear at the absolute worst times including a disappointing stretch of games from Feb. 15 to March 22 when the Rainmen were chasing a play off spot. He’s not a true point guard and is really an undersized two guard. I’d love him coming off the bench for 20 minutes a game, but I wasn’t blown away by him as a starter.
AJ Millien (PF) B+ The guy is fantastic, but he needs touches and shots to be effective. He never got them. He showed glimpses of being successful towards the end and he was effective when he got touches.
Brian Silverhorn (SF) B He was Halifax’s best three point shooter (46%) but really didn’t bring a whole lot more to the table and his defense continues to be questionable. I just don’t really believe in Silverhorn as a small forward but I don’t know if he has the speed to be a guard.
Eric Crookshank (PF) B+ Last year he dominated other teams based on his altheticism, this year the league is not only better but more athletic and he’s seen a dip in his ability to just jump over people for easy points. Under Les Berry he started to make the sorts of changes to his game that he needs to: playing good perimeter defense and using his long arms to disrupt passing lanes. I really imagine him as the first forward off the bench, playing 25 minutes a game, causing turnovers, scoring off put backs and dominating against opposing bench players. He still has too huge holes in his game: first, he turns the ball over too much, particularly in transition because he refuses to just give the ball to a guard and instead tries to dribble it up the floor on his own. He’s simply not as fast as any of Halifax’s guards so it not only led to turnovers but it actually slowed down the transition offense. He should take a look at old Bill Walton videos (or recent Kevin Love videos) to see how to take a risk to get the team out and running. The second problem is of course his free throw shooting which somehow managed to get worse this year. 34%? Really?
Michael Anderson (SG) B+ The guy seems kind of nuts but I am okay with that. He is a great defensive player and he is super athletic. He’s legitimately capable of playing the 2, 3 or 4 and his box score shows his versatility: while in Halifax he averaged 10 ppg, 35% three point shooting, 4.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.3 blocks, and 3 steals. He filled in all kinds of gaps and I want him back next year.
Zach Ramey (PG) B- He was hobbled by injury and never lived up to expectations, but he was pretty okay when he did play although I sometimes felt like he tried to do too much. He was a good defender and when he kept it simple was a good passer. He was a low percentage shooter from the outside and he never really found his groove in Halifax.
Reggie George (C) B Solid stats in limited minutes. He was quick enough to get up and down the floor and he has some length. I feel that if Halifax had George, Bennett and Berry starting in training camp this season would have been very different. It’s hard to find legit centres in the minor leagues and while he wasn’t spectacular, he got the job done.
Tyrone McNeal (C) C- More injury woes kept him off the court for most of the season and a majority of training camp. The guy is young (19!) and raw, but he showed some flashes of real potential in the last few games. If he has the confidence he displayed in those games and improves his game over the summer then I definitely want him back. But I am not grading players on potential, and the team’s lack of a real centre for most of the season really crippled the Rainmen.
Les Berry (Coach) A- He brought a new defensive tenacity to the team but I feel like he tried to put in too many offensive sets in too little time. Had he been given a full training camp and a full season to get this team on the same page I think we’d be in the finals. If you looked at his body language in the last half of his time in Halifax you could tell that he probably won’t be back next year.
The Guys Who Didn’t Last
Rob Sanders (PF) A+ He led the team in rebounds and set a PBL record for rebounds in a single game. He got to the line at will and knocked most of the free throws down. He played incredible defense when he had to and was a real physical presence. Had not left for a better contract then the season would have look quite different. (As you can tell, the team had a whole lot of what-if scenerios) He just did a lot of things that stats don’t show and I don’t think the team ever found a way to replace them.
Glen Dandridge (SF) C When you’re a three point specialist and you only knock down 28.7% of your attempts you might want to stop taking contested 26 footers. You might also want to not run into your teammates because you don’t know the plays, not lose track of your man off the ball, and maybe consider using your athleticism to get to the rim.
Kevin Hammack (PG) C+ I really liked Hammack and I thought he was going to be absolutely fantastic. For various reasons he just never found his groove under either Lewis or Berry. While he could shoot, drive and play defense he had serious difficulties running the offense in both transition and the half-court… which is unfortunate for a guy who was supposed to be a point guard.
SirValiant Brown (SG) C A volume scorer who couldn’t score. Maybe he was good at one time many years ago, but that didn’t help Halifax out this season. I just don’t understand what he’s supposed to be good at: he couldn’t shoot, had no handle, was not quick, had no athleticism, and was a poor decision maker. He was a not-horrible defender, though.
Rodney Mayes (SF) C Before the season even started I said that having a bunch of small forwards playing guard was not going to work, and shockingly it didn’t. Mayes was an athletic dunker who couldn’t create his own shot. Unfortunately for him he didn’t have a point guard who could create a shot for him.
Rick Lewis (Coach) F He never should have been invited back for year two. He never put any system in at either end of the floor, never exploited mis-matches, was disliked by the players, and didn’t know how to manage time outs. On the plus side, the Rainmen were in good shape. He was an absolute trainwreck of a coach and I am glad I will never have to watch him screw another game up again.
GPA: 3.1 (B)
B seems about right for a team that was in the wildcard hunt but came up short. Ultimately this was a poorly built team which ended up being less than the sum of its parts. Some players have games where they’re only successful if they get minutes, touches and shots, you can’t just assume that good top-3 option guys will also be good role players. Hopefully the lessons are learned and next year’s coach can fix this for next year.
Thoughts? Disagreements? Suggestions?