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Kings should opt not to extend Spencer Hawes this summer

Apr 2, 2010, 11:53 AM EST

In many ways, Spencer Hawes is treated as a scapegoat for many of the Sacramento Kings’ shortcomings, which isn’t very fair. It’s easy to forget that Hawes is just 21 years old, a year younger than Andrew Bynum and Greg Oden, to put things in context. He has plenty of holes in his game, but plenty of time in order to turn them into strengths, fix them, or at the very least, hedge their negative impact.

The problem is that Hawes may never be the textbook low-post center, and that’s fine. It’s not a reason to discount his strengths, ignore his production, or deny his improvement. He’s still a capable player in the league and a young one at that, playing an incredibly difficult position for a pretty young team. 

The effervescent Tom Ziller of Sactown Royalty has somewhat begrudgingly compiled several compelling reasons why the Kings should elect to wait on locking Hawes up long-term. The argument is sound, and less an indictment of Hawes and his game than it is a cautious warning to NBA teams everywhere. Put succinctly by Ziller:

The Kings’ experience in this realm fits with the NBA standard: some
early extensions, particularly for really good players, works out,
while some early extensions, particularly those for mid-level talent,
don’t work out.

Hawes is good, but not great. His extension isn’t a no-brainer, and should very much depend on his development over the next year or so. That strategy is even more important with the new collective bargaining agreement looming in 2011, and with a player of Hawes’ age and his developmental track, the most important facet of the Kings’ negotiations with Hawes could be their patience.

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