Mid-term Reports: SG/SF

We’re over the half-way point of the season, and with the team suffering mixed fortunes so far we thought we’d ask three of the most knowledgable basketball experts to give us their thoughts on each player’s contribution so far…

Unfortunately, everyone we asked said “no” or didn’t get back to us.  But we quite liked the idea, so Andy, Stuart and Duane had a go instead – and following on from point guards we’re looking at the shooting guard/small forward positions.

Tommy Freeman

ST:  An enigma in the team.  Some of his blogs are really interesting, he isn’t really your typical sportsman, but I get the feeling Tommy would be an interesting guy to have a pint with.  On the court he is equally as enigmatic.  When he is on his game he drops 3 pointers all over the place, what a useful player he can be, especially with the style The Rocks play.  Unfortunately, by his own admission, it seems that Tommy hasn’t been at the top of his game at points this season which is a real pity.  He seems to have adapted his game a little and now “comes inside” a little more (is that a real term?).  Tommy is also valuable in defence, I have often wondered how sore it must be taking the charges he does a few times each game.

Grade: C – when he is hot, he is very hot, when not firing, not so much.

AA: “Freezy”, as he’s known, is a good nickname for Tommy Freeman. In some games, he ices the opposition.  In others, his shooting is so cold that he chucks enough bricks to make an igloo.  There’s a crisis of confidence going on.  His inability to replicate the numbers he produced at Worcester (they’re down heavily) perhaps being a driver for this.  Our reliance on the 3pt game has hamstrung Tommy to an extent – teams know that we won’t go inside and set up their perimeter defence accordingly – so he deserves a bit of slack.  The introduction of Reggie Middleton will either create much needed space, or will leave Tommy without an excuse.

Gr
ade: D-, well below average, dropped from the starting lineup and offering no consistency.
DR:  I remember the first time I saw Tommy Freeman, in the Kelvin Hall sometime during the 2011/12 season.  My first thoughts were “is he Amish!?”, shortly followed by “wow, that dude can shoot!”.  So when I heard that we’d signed him three years later I thought this was the perfect offensive compliment to the offence Sterling likes to run (namely a heavy reliance on the three ball).
Tommy Freeman - probably not Amish, despite the beard

Tommy Freeman – probably not Amish, despite the beard

Fast forward half a season, and the Tommy Gun (did I just make that up!?) is misfiring.  Badly.  I really  admire his commitment and he still plays hard, but there’s a crisis of confidence not seen since… well, probably Gareth last season.  Time and time again he passes up open looks that he should be knocking down.

He’s still a weapon though (I’m persevering with the “gun” thing) – and there’s still time to turn things around.  When he was dropping shots from all over the place against the Riders we saw what he is capable of – he just needs to be able to do it more regularly.  We believe Tommy.

Grade: D – there’s no doubting the guy’s commitment, he just needs more confidence.

 

Danny Huffor

AA: Ali Fraser’s injury allowed Danny Huffor to start the season and he hasn’t looked back.  For a man who wasn’t guaranteed a starter’s slot, his impact cannot be overstated.  With several double-doubles and top scorer performances under his belt through first half of the season, he has more than proved his worth to the team.  He’s been a valuable source of rebounds and steals, and a very handy defensive player.  Brought in as the 6th man, it’ll be difficult for anyone to oust him from the starting lineup at this stage.

Grade: B, not an all star, but exceeding expectations.

 

ST: Started the season on the bench but after a bit of a slow start he has come into his own in the last few months and could lay real claim to being our MVP of the season so far.  Danny obviously spends a lot of time in the gym, I know of a lot of people who marvel at his arms – not me though – and is obviously a dedicated professional.  Danny works his socks off every game and again, is very valuable at both ends of the court.  Danny seems good at most things, earning a few steals, rebounds, 3 pointers and whatever you call them when you drive in and make a layup.  My only complain is when he got chased down by Charles Smith on a fast break in the Cup Final, but when you perform so consistently throughout the season you can be forgiven that one wee slip.

Grade: A- – Consistently hard worker, exciting and reliable, a role model for the rest of the team

 

DR: Everyone likes Danny, and for good reason.  He works hard, does a bit of everything and he plays for Scotland!  Add in the fact that he had a serious injury a few years ago, and it’s a great comeback story that everyone can get behind.

The injuries facing the team this season means that he’s had to play a little out of position, playing much of the time as a small forward, which he’s a little undersized for (watching him get bullied by Taylor King remains one of the most painful games of the season).
With Paul back, it means Danny’s re-claimed the starting 2 spot, and hasn’t looked back.  A capable ball-handler, an under-rated shooter (an area of his game which has really improved since his last stint at the team) and an active defender, Danny has been solid without being remarkable, though he has had a few shining moments.
Grade: B – he’d make a fantastic 6th man, but is more than holding his own in the starting five.