Nick Kranz: Well, lets start off by talking about the weaknesses of last year's team, and whether or not personnel changes are likely to address those weaknesses. Last year, Cal struggled with:
Drawing fouls/free throws
Forcing turnovers (this is almost certainly a stylistic feature of Cuonzo's defense and can be dismissed)
Committing fouls/allowing free throws
I am very much hoping that adding Rabb as an ideal power forward and development from Okoroh and/or Rooks will help address many of the fouling issues on both ends. Rim protection can make a pretty big difference. And the addition of Rabb and Brown should help Cal draw more fouls in two ways: 1) Both players are very athletic and will draw plenty of fouls on their own 2) Teams won't be able to double/triple team Wallace on his drives, making fouls from his primary defender more likely. If Cal can adequately defend with Rabb at the 5, that would solve so many issues.
None of Cal's returning players are great offensive rebounders, and I doubt an off-season's worth of development has meaningfully changed that. So: How active will Brown and Rabb be on the glass? Early returns in Australia are promising but hardly conclusive, but any improvement would be a welcome development.
Based on the above, I would guess that Cal will continue to comparatively struggle with offensive rebounding and fouling too much on defense, particularly early in the year. I will also speculate that Cal won't be a brilliant shooting team, but that they will improve enough in terms of offensive rebounding/drawing fouls to make the offensive significantly more efficient than last year.
KWBears: Defense. We've got a bunch of guys who can score. But, unless you're the Warriors, you're not going far without decent defense. We need our guys to match other teams' intensity and get timely steals to setup our transition game (which will surely lead to countless SC Top 10 plays this season). Here's to hoping Coach Martin has them working hard on D this fall!
Reef: It's hard to tell until I start seeing game plans and sets, but I enter the season with two concerns. First, I'm not convinced that Ty can run point at a high level. In many instances he won't have to. We will overwhelm a lot of teams with our talent and numbers. But if we aspire to be elite, we will have to deal with elite defense. So for example, when we're on the road in Virginia, and they give us looks we've never seen before, and the first and second options aren't there, do we have a point capable of making good decisions under pressure? The Ty Wallace I've seen until now could not run a club successfully under those circumstances. He'll have to grow into that role.
Second, I don't know how good Cuonzo is at coaching execution. Last year the concepts were sound, but the execution often lacking. The ball movement and shot selection issues were perhaps understandable due to personnel limitations, but the failure of our players, especially our perimeter players, to maintain proper position defensively, and to improve during the year, was a concern of mine. I don't know how much of this was coaching and how much was talent. This year, if it's a problem, it won't be because of lack of talent.
Nik Jam: This is still a team that came off a declined CBI invitation last season. They are expected to do well this season but the team can't feel like they're being given anything even with the two big recruits (plus Domingo and a healthy Rooks) coming in. Last season there were a lot of offensive clunkers where the team couldn't make any clutch shots (See: The stunning loss to Bakersfield). They still have a lot to prove.
Ruey Yen: I agree with Reef that it's way too early to tell until actual games have been played. I think the frontline might be my biggest worry. I don't know about the health of Kam Rooks and Kingsley Okoroh or the depth at Power Forward beyond Rabb. How often will the 4 wing plus 1 big strategy work?
The last but not least worry is the expectation factor. Maybe the new guys will handle these well because they have been hyped all of their life, but how well the holdovers deal with the higher expectation. Fortunately, I trust Cuonzo Martin to have our guys ready mentally for what may be a very special season.
boomtho: The biggest weakness is our true big man depth. If Rabb continues to pack on the muscle and can credibly slide to 5 for longer stretches, then I'll retract my answer - but until then, I'm worried about Okoroh and Rooks holding up for the Pac-12 season.