The NBA Regular Season has drawn to a close, which means it's time for a season review! Hit the comments section with any questions or recommendations you may have for the feature.
Cole Aldrich - LA Clippers
Cole played in 60 contests while starting in 5 for the 4-seed Clippers. He managed to put in a sterling 60% of his field goal attempts... To put that into context, there were a total of 8 NBA players who managed a FG% of 59% or greater this season while taking at least 200 shots, the others are DeAndre Jordan, Hassan Whiteside, Ed Davis, Dwight Howard, Steven Adams, Andrew Bogut, and Miles Plumlee. One could certainly argue that it's not so difficult to get buckets with Chris Paul passing you the ball, but recall that most of Cole's 800 minutes were with a bench unit. Aldrich is still 27 years old, and his per-36 line this year was 15 points, 13 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.1 steals, and 3.1 blocks. One can't really extrapolate those numbers too much, but Cole looks to deserve a bit more run from those statistics. With a player option for a bit over a million dollars for next season, Cole will likely look to see what the market holds after the season ends, and may even see a few playoff minutes in the coming weeks.
Cliff Alexander - Portland Trail Blazers
An undrafted Cliff stuck on the Trailblazers all season, despite not seeing any game-time after the first couple months of the season, his only roster move has been to go play a couple of games with the Santa Cruz Warriors in the D-League. That short stint illustrates one of the problems with Cliff's situation in Portland, as the Blazers don't have a 1-to-1 D-League affiliate, but rely on the Warriors' squad to give their developmental players run... It may be that the Portland coaching staff wanted to keep Alexander around to coach him and allow him to practice with the squad, but I can't help but think that more minutes at any level might be a positive for his development.
Darrell Arthur - Denver Nuggets
Arthur just turned 28 last month and just completed his best season since missing the 2011-12 season thanks to his achilles injury. Darrell played in 70 contests and started 16, shooting 47% from two and 38.5% from three on the most long-range attempts of his career. Arthur's defensive contributions have often been lauded, but with statistics for defenders lacking, I'll resort to looking at lineup stats for the Nuggets. Unsurprisingly, Arthur featured in 4 of the team's 5 best lineups of 2015-16. Shady has a player option for '16-17 at his disposal, and I'd be very surprised if he didn't take a look at the market this offseason and end up earning more than the $3 million he had been slated for.
Tarik Black - LA Lakers
After Black's very solid rookie season, the Lakers signed Roy Hibbert and were just awful... Not just because of that, but we don't really have time to get into everything there. The incompetent Byron Scott decided that he had no use for Tarik and played him for just 500 minutes, after using him for 1200 as a rookie. Black hit 55% from the field and maintained his very solid rebounding rate. With the Lakers moving on from the Kobe and Byron Scott eras and Black hitting the Free Agent market, it remains to be seen how his career will unfold.
Mario Chalmers - Memphis Grizzlies
Mario was having an absolutely abysmal season while he was with the Heat, but a mid-season trade to the Grizzlies was exactly what he needed to get back into gear. In Memphis Chalmers reverted to his career 3-point % and posted new career bests in Rebounding%, Assist%, Steal%, Block%, Turnover%, and Usage% in addition to nearly tripling his career best in Free Throw Rate. Naturally, he had to rupture his achilles and miss the last month of the season, he had surgery in March and will hopefully be ready to return sometime during the 2016-17 season. He will be a free agent, so he'll likely wait until fit to sign unless a great offer comes in.
Nick Collison - Oklahoma City Thunder
Nick is in the twilight of his career, this was his age-35 season after all, and he has seen his minutes and usage decrease. He's under contract for next season for just under $4 million dollars, so don't worry about him too much.
Joel Embiid- Philadelphia 76ers
Embiid shootaround videos are making their way to twitter regularly now, and the big man looks as talented as ever... If only the Sixers didn't look like a raging tire-fire of an organization after the Hinkie step-down of this month...
Drew Gooden - Washington Wizards
Gooden didn't end up playing much this season, especially in the second half of the year after the Wizards acquired Markieff Morris. Not much to say here...
Kirk Hinrich - Atlanta Hawks
Kirk played minimal minutes after being picked up by Atlanta, and I wouldn't expect for him to factor into their playoff rotation at all unless something goes terribly terribly wrong.
Sasha Kaun - Cleveland Cavaliers
Kaun is in the playoffs! Look for the large man on the end of the bench, possibly in a suit.
Ben McLemore - Sacramento Kings
McLemore saw the fewest minutes of any season in his young 3-year career this season. The SG saw just 20 minutes per contest after averaging nearly 32 minutes per game last season. He was still effective while on the court, however, as he hit 47.4% of his twos and 36.2% of his threes on the year. McLemore found himself behind the Marco Belinelli in George Karl's pecking order, this despite Belinelli featuring in each of the Kings' 4 worst lineups in net-rating over the course of the season. With the news that Karl will not be retained, perhaps there is hope for McLemore after all as he finishes out the 4th year of his rookie deal.
Marcus Morris - Detroit Pistons
Marcus Morris has been a spectacular addition for the Pistons this season, he played more minutes than anyone else on the roster at 36 minutes per game, and earned the distinction of being one of the three Pistons players rested in the final game of the season by Stan Van Gundy in preparation for the playoff matchup against the Cavs. Even with his increased minutes he has shown the ability to maintain a True Shooting % in-line with his career best years, improved his Assist% to a career high, and posted the best Free Throw rate of his career as well. The Pistons have been much improved squad in 2015-16, and their acquisition of Marcus Morris has been a big factor in that ascension.
Markieff Morris - Washington Wizards
After being traded to the Wizards during the All-Star break, Markieff reverted to his pre-Suns-falling-out self, to the surprise of absolutely no one... Washington improved their record from 23-28 pre-All-Star break to finish the season 18-13 in their last 31, which is obviously playoff pace for any squad, regardless of conference. The most telling difference for the Wizards post-Morris was that their defense improved from abysmal to become a top-10 squad in the second half of the season. It cost them a first round pick, but I would be very surprised if anyone in the middle of the 2016 Draft could possibly contribute as much as Markieff will to his squad over the next three years.
Kelly Oubre Jr. - Washington Wizards
Oubre was utilized a fair bit earlier in the season as the Wiz struggled with injuries on the wing, but, despite showing the ability to contribute in a meaningful manner, once Washington regained their health, he saw very limited minutes. This angered many in Washington, and in the last several games Oubre continued to show flashes of his spectacular athleticism in dunking on drives through the lane regularly. With the departure of Randy Whittman, there may be an opportunity of greatly increased minutes in year two.
Paul Pierce - LA Clippers
Pierce's age-38 season was one to forget as far as efficiency goes, he played the fewest minutes of his career and couldn't manage to do all that much with them... That said, age-38 seasons aren't exactly supposed to be spectacular, and playing 1200+ minutes for a 4-seed isn't so bad... Watch to see PP's role in the playoffs, if it's anything like the last two years with Washington then he may be saving the best for last.
Thomas Robinson - Brooklyn Nets
I have no idea what to make of Thomas Robinson. On one hand he has an ELITE NBA skill in his rebounding (his Total Rebounding% would have ranked 4th in the NBA, behind Drummond, Whiteside, and DeAndre Jordan) but he also has a historically awful Free Throw % as he hit jut 43% of his FT attempts this season. Some of that is likely noise as he he has averaged 60+% in the past from the line in increased minutes, but it's tough to let a young player have extended minutes around the basket when you know he's a liability even with a "good" outcome like a foul. He still has gobs of potential though, in a string of 6 games, including 5 starts, toward the end of the season he averaged 15 points and 13 rebounds as well as nearly 2 assists and more than a steal per game... I just hope he gets an extended audition at some point.
Brandon Rush - Golden State Warriors
Brandon Rush improved his Three-Point % 30% year-on-year (11.1% to 41.4%) between '14-15 and '15-16, and contributed minutes in 72 games (25 of them as starts) for the greatest regular season team in NBA history. After looking like his NBA career was over last year this has been a great development for Rush, and at 30 he likely has at least 3 to 4 seasons left as a contributor in the league.
Andrew Wiggins - Minnesota Timberwolves
Wiggins finished the season having scored 20.7 points per game in his age 20 season, a feat only matched by 6 other players, LeBron, Anthony Davis, Shaq, KD, Carmelo, and Kyrie... He ranked in the top-10 in the league in Free Throw Attempts, and he improved his True Shooting % as the season went on to the point where his last two months would have ranked within the top-20 in the league. He's going to be a star, and that's only assuming he isn't one already. The future is bright.
Jeff Withey - Utah Jazz
Withey was criminally underutilized yet again as he played only 13 minutes per game in 51 contests, but shot 54% from the field. He posted a Block% that would've been 2nd in the NBA if he qualified for the leaderboard, and was actually tied for 6th on the Jazz in Win Shares, despite playing half the minutes of the two players he's tied with... Someday someone will #FreeWithey, and on that day I will rejoice.