Sacramento Kings' Spencer Hawes Is Still a Work in Progress

Blake Mehigan@blakeam11Correspondent IDecember 7, 2009

PHOENIX - OCTOBER 20:  Spencer Hawes #31 of the Sacramento Kings slam dunks the ball against the Phoenix Suns during the NBA preseason game at US Airways Center on October 20, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Kings 143-127.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Since being selected 10th overall by Sacramento in 2007, Specner Hawes has been looked at by Kings fans as someone their team could build around. Hawes played well enough to earn a starting spot last season, but has been a bit underwhelming this season.

The improvement that was expected has not come yet. And if anything, the Washington product may have taken a step back. Hawes has relied a bit much on his jump-shot and not enough on his crafty moves around the hoop.

His stats are a mirror image of those he posted last year. Though Hawes is shooting much better from the free throw line this season. The former Husky is averaging about 83 percent from the stripe compared to just 66 percent a year earlier. Hawes is shooting a much lower percentage from behind the three-point arc, posting only a 25.9 percent compared to a much more respectable 34.8 percent last year.

Hawes started the season coming off the bench after a very unspectacular preseason. Coming off the bench fired up Hawes, who had a few very good games that earned back his starting job, including a 22 point 10 rebound performance against New Orleans. Since being put back in the starting lineup though, Hawes has played very inconsistent with a few solid performance, along with many middling performances.

Hawes is a young talented player who is still developing. At 21, he is still learning and improving. If his rebounding does not improve and he is unable to bulk up, Hawes' ceiling may be lowered quite a bit.

Around the hoop, Hawes is still very soft with a slight frame making it difficult for him to body up with bigger and stronger centers. He is a good shot blocker, but can be abused around the hoop. His rebounding numbers are only about average/below average because of his weight and his tendency to float around the perimeter away from the hoop.

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Hawes most important focus should be to continue to add muscle. With added strength he will not take such a beating around the hoop. The potential of having a solid mid-range game, three-point shot and nice post-up game would make Hawes a very solid player for years to come.

Coach Westphal has said before that he will play Hawes however minutes he sees fit. The Washington product will play more minutes on certain nights than others, just depending on match-ups. For example, Hawes played only 22 minutes against the Warriors early this year, his limited minutes were because of the Warriors up-tempo style of play and lack of post player to guard.

The potential of a matured post tandem of Hawes and Thompson is a nice thought, but the reality is still unclear. Sacramento has a team stock piled with young and raw talent, Hawes is just one piece in the puzzle. It will take some time to figure out where that piece fits.

Off The Record

Sacramento lost last night in Phoenix. The game had been close the whole game, with the Kings entering the fourth quarter with a one point lead. Neither team led by more than three points until the last seven minutes of the game when Phoenix pulled away.

Channing Frye and Steve Nash hit five three-point shots between the two of them to stave off the aggressive Kings team. Nash scored 20 of his 32 points in the second half.

Tyreke Evans played another solid game, posting 21 points grabbing six board while dishing out seven assists. Evans may not have a 50 point game like his rookie counterpart Brandon Jennings, but Evans may be the first rookie to put up a triple-double this year. The former Memphis product has come close to a triple-double on a couple of different occasions.

Sergio Rodriguez had another solid game, scoring 12 points in 22 minutes.

Since having the best game of his career, Donte Greene has not managed to break double digits in scoring and has not played more than 19 minutes in the past four games. Greene has lost a lot of time to Omri Casspi, who has been solid all season. Greene and Casspi will be fighting for minutes even more so once Kevin Martin and Fracisco Garcia come back from injury.

Sacramento hosts Miami tonight at six PM Pacicific Standard Time.

Dwayne Wade will be a handful for the Kings defense. Tonight will be a good test of Evans' grit as a defender, as he will have to guard someone near his height and strength, but who is a bit quicker. The Kings will look to snag their ninth win at home tonight against the Heat.

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