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Discussion Starter #1
<i>*player, info, predicted stats*</i>

<b><u>Center:</b></u>

<b>#1) Kelvin Cato (27, 6'11, 255lbs): 24 mins, 8 pts, 8 rebs, 1.5 blks:</b>
We acquired Cato in 1999 from the Scottie Pippen trade. He put up 2 monster triple-doubles in the preseason so we gave him a 6 year/ $42,120,000 extension (his contract was up in 2000)... He played well that season as Hakeem Olajuwon's backup and a 32-game starter. He averaged 8.7 pts, 6.0 rebs, and 1.9 asts in 24.3 mins in 65 games. Pretty good numbers for a guy getting his 1st opportunity to play... Then in 2000 he came to camp out of shape, he had a bad attitude, he suffered many real and not-so-real injuries during the season, and never got in shape. He only played in 35 games, averaging 4.7 pts, 4.0 rebs, and 0.9 blks in 17.8 mins. Not a great way to reward the people that just payed you $6 million. This is when everyone got really down on Cato and wrote him off as a bust... In 2001 he came to camp with something to prove. He was in shape, brought a positive attitude, and produced during the regular season. There was a long stretch of games that he earned the nickname "Super Cato" from yours truly because he was pulling down 10+ rebs, blocking shots, playing great defense, and shooting over 60%... Cato needs to work on staying positive and in shape and becoming more consistent. He's overpaid slightly (he makes less than the average starting center) but we need him for now. In 2004 or 2005 we should be able to trade him (assuming Yao Ming develops) and find a less expensive backup center.

<b>#2) Yao Ming (21, 7'6, 300lbs): 20 mins, 8 pts, 6 rebs, 2 asts, 2 blks:</b>
We acquired Ming with the 1st pick in this year's draft. He is currently playing for China and will be here for the preseason... He's an athlete, not a stiff. He has range out to the 3 pt line. He has a developing inside game. He is a good man-to-man and team defender. He needs to bulk up his upper body to help him inside and on defense. He's a good rebounder and shot blocker and a great passer. Very soft hands... Ming isn't going to burst onto the scene this season. He'll be our backup center as he adjusts to America, the NBA, etc. I think he'll be very productive in his limited mins because we'll keep him fresh... Ming will sign a rookie contract for 3 years, plus a team option for a 4th year... Starting center of the future.

<b>#3) Jason Collier (24, 7'0, 260lbs): out of the rotation:</b>
We drafted Collier 15th in the 2000 draft. Bad move. He's a serviceable 3rd center but we could of had Jamaal Magloire or Jake Tsakalidis as Cato's backup. Or Hidayet Turkoglu, Desmond Mason, Quentin Richardosn, or Morris Peterson at swingman. Oh well... He hasn't played in 50 games for us in 2 seasons. He's just a big body that has 6 fouls. As a plus, he can shoot jumpers... He has a team option for 2003, the jury's still out on whether we keep him or not.
 

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<b>Kelvin Cato:</b>

Is an excellent man defender, and the second half of the season he did alot better job as a team defender. He really increased his energy level and started blocking shots at a high clip. Kelvin Cato is a productive player when he concentrates on basketball, avoids foul trouble and just tries to rebound and block shots. Kelvin tends to get down on himself and a few early fouls or calls going against him can completely take him out of the game. Kelvin shed some weight in the middle of the year and really played better. Often criticized, Kelvin is actually a good defender in the clutch and wants to fit in with his teammates. He has a little turn around jumper, but is a terrible ball handler and has poor hands so he will never be a big scorer. An excellent athlete for his size, he gets almost all his points on ally oop flashes to the basket. Consistent play is the one attribute keeping Kelvin from being a 12/10/2 player in the NBA. Now, it will be interesting to see how he handles the Rockets drafting of Ming. Will Cato sulk and revert to his old form, or play hard and with high energy. cato makes roughly 7 mil a year for 4 more seasons. This may seem like alot, but it is less than the NBA's average starting center average salary. Also, the back ups are making nearly 5 mil a season. I don't see Cato being dealt this off season because he will still get alot of minutes and probably start for the Rockets this season.

<b>Yao Ming:</b>
The first thing I noticed about Ming was the way he moved, he moves very smooth and fluid. He is an athlete, which is almost unheard of in a man 7'7" in shoes. Ming runs the floor extremely well and thrives being the trailor on plays or setting up for a jumper when the point guard penetrates and kicks out. Ming likes the fast passed game and has shown an ability to run a full court press. He dribbles well, can put the ball on the floor, hit a turn around and has a mechanical but developing sky hook. In time his sky hook will be virtuallu unblockable. Ming is a good mid range and long range shooter for a center, but he is not as good a shooter as a guard, as some of suggested. Ming is a finesse player (so was Hakeem, Kareem and Robinson, Duncan), Ming needs to show he can still score with his finesse moves in the NBA. He will need to go up stronger than some of the moves he has shown. Post position should not be a problem, Ming is already 300 lbs and has a huge lower body, he should be able to score.
On defense Ming tends to play the high post around the free throw line, swooping in at the last minute to block shots and switch off. I don't think this style will work in the NBA, and is possibly why Ming has a history of foul trouble. Ming is an athlete and as such is a good team defender, switching defensive assignments easily. Ming is a skilled rebounder, especially when you realize he fronts so far from the basket often. Ming blocks shots and has good instincts. I expect Ming will suffer foul trouble as a rookie and see limited minutes. He also will need to gain the confidence of Francis if he wants any touches at all on offense. Ming should help the fast break offense a great deal, he is a good passer and with his size should trigger transition easily. I can't think of anyone to compare Ming to, he is far smoother and stronger than Smits, but is similar in how he learned to play the game. He moves similar to Kareem but I don't think he is as quick. There really is no one like him ever in the NBA. How good he becomes depends on how well he adjusts to the NBA physical play.

<b>Jason Collier:</b>
This guy will not be in the league after this year. He can shoot decent from mid range, and has soft hands, but the rest of his game is a mess. He is not an athlete, and his lower body is very stiff. He often is out athleticized by smaller players. Collier doesn't have a good feel for the game and is prone to foul trouble and just never looks comfortable on the court. I honestly think the Rockets took him because everyone on their draft board was already taken and they had promised Mobley they would not take a guard (it was during Mobley's contract negotiations)
 
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