The biggest difference between this years team and last years lies soely in the development and improvement of Cashmere Wright. Even though last years team had more talent on paper. The dualing alpha dogs Lance Stephenson and Deonta Vaughn created some very large and very tangible tension in the locker room and that found it's way onto the court. There was never much overt about it, but it was clear to anyone who watched last years team that everyone was merely hovering in the orbit of Stephenson and Vaughn. Cashmere Wright to a bigger extent than almost anyone else on the team. While he was nominally the Point Guard last year, he never really functioned as a point guard. He was relegated to being an off ball spot up shooter as Stephenson or Vaughn set up their high post isolations. That is not really Cash's game and he was by and large a non factor for the 2009-10 season.
With both of those guys off the roster this would be Cashmere Wrights team in 2010-11, for better or for worse. It turned out to be for the better. Anyone would have a very hard time mounting an argument that the 2009-10 team was a better team than this past years group. IMO that is mostly because of the way that Cashmere took a big step forward this past year.
The most impressive thing about Cash this past season has been his growth and development as a true point guard. As I said, he never really got the opportunity to run the show last year. Stephenson and Vaughn were nominally shooting guards or small forwards, but they had the lions share of the ball on most, if not all possessions. With those two guys gone it wasn't a slam dunk that Cash would take to the point guard position. He might have PG size and dimensions, but he was a scorer in high school.
I was concerned, but it turns out those concerns were all for naught. Wright ran the team beautifully right from the start. As the year went on he became more and more indispensable to the work rate of the team. Towards the end of the year it got to the point where I absolutely dreaded the 10 or so minutes each game where someone other than Cash would have to run point. I wanted him to play 40 minutes each and every game, but he couldn't do that because of his knee.
When you think about it Cash playing 30 minutes of Big East Basketball a night on, effectively, one good knee is remarkable. He was damn good too, his scoring, shooting percentage and assist to turnover ratio all went up. One can only imagine what he could do if he stayed healthy for an entire season. I know that he will be having his knee taken care of once again this year and he should be back and better then ever.
So what is your grade for Cashmere Wright's 2010-11 season?