The Bogut-Lee Frontline: Another dominating performance from Bogut and Lee against the golden boys of Utah, Favors and Kanter. This time in their home gym. If you think that’s easy to do, you haven’t been following Jazz boxscores.
And in general, this furthers the point that I made in my Thunder recap. Bogut and Lee are at their best when playing against big lineups. They are far less effective playing together against smaller players who stretch the floor. When the Warriors are facing small lineups like the Thunder’s, Mark Jackson should rethink his rotations.
Take a look at last night’s Nuggets-Thunder game: In his home gym, Serge Ibaka was absolutely dominated on the boards by JJ Hickson, 19-7. How did that happen? Well, quite obviously, the undersized and highly mobile Nuggets’ frontline of Hickson and Faried is far better suited to matching up against the Thunder than the big and slow frontline of Bogut and Lee.
Serge Ibaka is not a great rebounder, averaging less than 8 a game the last few years. That dominating rebound performance he put on the Warriors? Strictly on Mark Jackson. A function of his refusal to match up correctly.
I remember that one of the biggest pet peeves Warriors fans voiced against Don Nelson in the forums had to do with his frequent lineup changes. These fans believed that SET ROTATIONS were essential to success in basketball. That SET ROTATIONS let players know what their role was, and enabled them to play their best.
Absolute nonsense. Utter garbage. Set rotations are nothing but a bugaboo of small minds. As has been proven forcefully and repeatedly by the great coaches of the NBA in recent years. Coaches like Greg Popovich and Erik Spoelstra don’t give a rat’s ass about set rotations. They match up to win.
As does the great Rick Carlisle. Take a look at the Mavs game against the Sixers last night. For the first time all season, Carlisle shifted Dalembert to the bench, Nowitzki to starting center, and Marion to the four, in order to match up with the Sixers’ stretch-five Spencer Hawes, and mobile four, Thaddeus Young.
That’s how it’s done. The best coaches in the league think the game dynamically, and deploy their rosters dynamically. They match up to win.
The Warriors have one of the most versatile rosters in the entire league. But so far this season, their coach has been trapped in conventionality. And it has cost the team badly in games against the Clippers, Grizzlies and Thunder.
Monta Ellis: Taking another look at that Mavs boxscore, tell me, who is the Mavs’ real point guard?
I have been predicting for years that Monta would rock the statphreaks’ world if he ever got the opportunity to play point guard for a good coach on a team that could spread the floor. And Kirk Goldsberry has taken notice. Now if Goldsberry would only turn that lens on his own piss-poor analysis of David Lee, who is currently playing on one of the best defensive teams in the NBA.
Something else I’ve been saying for years: The “Sausage Stats” (my term for fraudulently-confected advanced stats like PER) are absolutely worthless. They cannot account for a player’s teammates, the system he plays in, or his role within that system. The Sausage Stats are a very poor substitute for the ability to watch games attentively and understand what you are seeing.
Don’t look now, but I’m seeing that the Mavs are 5-0 at home.
Yo Adrien: Remember Jeff Adrien? He’s apparently found a home with the Charlotte Bobcats.
I always loved this guy. Serious banger, sweet outside stroke.
Perusing that boxscore further, you’ll see the reason why the Bobcats are so much better this year. No, it’s not Al Jefferson — he’s barely played due to an ankle injury, and didn’t play at all last night. It’s because they’ve finally added some legit stretch-fours to their roster: McBob, who’s starting. And Anthony Tolliver. Adding some spacing to an offense that was badly in need of it, due to the wretched draft of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (a perfect example of valuing athleticism over skill).
And then, of course, there’s Mr. Adrien. Who’s good out to 18 feet.
But best when you need some tenderizing.
Pre-Game Jitters: The Grizzlies nemesis is coming to town on Wednesday. Let’s see if Mark Jackson makes the necessary adjustment, and crossmatches the frontline. Bogut on Randolph. Lee on Gasol.
And maybe gets Iggy on Conley in crunch time.
Could make all the difference.