Thought I would bump this thread given Bird's signing and a lot of minimizing of his potential on this board, especially in the Bird thread.
Bird has a ton of potential. I say potential even, though many are discounting his potential based on his age.
Bird may be 24, but developmentally, he is only about 20-21 at most. Two major retardants to his development have been his college coach for his last 3 years at Cal, Cuonzo Martin and his injuries this past, first pro season, so in effect, he has lost 3 1/2 years of his development.
Cuonzo Martin is/was a HORRIFIC coach.The guy could recruit like crazy (Bird as McDonald All-American and top 21 recruit, Ivan Rabb and Jaylen are prime examples) but is one of the suckiest college coaches that I can remember. Pre-game strategy, in game strategies and adjustments and players motivation, personnel implementation and a lack of a coherent offensive or defensive scheme are his major weaknesses.
Cuonzo Martin is SO bad, that with Jaylen, Jabari and Rabb, he lost in the first round of the NCAAs and WORSE, lost to CSU Bakersfield (yeah, you read that right) with Jabari and Rabb in the NIT in 2017. He resigned shortly thereafter, despite having a contract through 2021. SHAME.
It WAS a shame, particularly for Bird and Rabb, whose value as pro prospects weren't even close to being realized because of Cuonzo. Even Jaylen looked totally lost oftentimes in Cuonzo's systemless, structureless basketball, and didn't develop as he should have (perhaps lucky for us).
Bird is explosive, defends like crazy and has good offensive instincts, especially in moving off the ball. He has always been a decent FT shooter and 3pt shooter. He's a good rebounder for his position.
Early last season, in his breakout game vs the '6ers, he shut down a previously on-fire JJ and led our comeback. Stevens and Jaylen praised his defense and his readiness mightily after that game.
I have been a Jabari fan since his Cal days and his development since Salesian HS has been exactly ONE year with Mike Montgomery his freshman year (Montgomery's last year at Cal) and 1/2 of a year last year with the Claws and Brad.
He still has big potential, despite his chronological age, because his development age is more like 20 or 21. I am thrilled at his deserved signing, and hope we can keep him after the 2 years. His further development could make TRoz expendable if Kyrie stays. Smart at the point and Bird at the 2 is one hellacious, versatile defensive nightmare pairing.