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View Full Version : Too much depth can hinder growth...



Jim R
10-21-2005, 04:35 PM
In the NBA, there is a contractual element that can affect the value of any player. It's not an issue of whether or not a player is good, it's is he good relative to his salary. Austin Croshere, Al Harrington, and Jonathon Bender all went through that process with the Pacers, and with all of them on the same roster behind Jalen Rose then Ron Artest it took too long to determine their value.

No team wants to give up on a player too early, i.e. Jermaine O'Neal and Portland, and worse, they don't want to be the 'next team' to give up on a kid. The fear of losing a player is far worse than sticking with one who doesn't quite live up.

Three 'tweeners coming off the bench was one too many. Good subs in the NBA often get 25-30 minutes on average. It seemed clear to me Croshere was definitely a second team defender and a special situations player. Rotate him early vs. the other team's 2nd PF, create matchup problems on the other end, and use him in situations where his shooting can create space.

Bender had the most potential but was frail. Still, he had a year or two early where he was able get minutes. Harrington always wanted to start, and he was the one who was able to step up.

The log jam three years ago killed any shot at Indiana getting much for Bender or Croshere (minus the Antoine Walker flirtation). The backcourt depth suffered, and while I like Jax, I'm not sure he is ultimately the best fit with this lineup. Harrington is dealt, for Jax, but last year's turn of events just killed any shot any sense of normalcy.

Enter Granger. Granger is an absolute steal at this point, but with Croshere and Bender on the roster with inflated contracts, how are they going to develop any sort of value? They have two years left on their contracts. That can be valuable to a team looking to clear some cap space in the future. Not that the Pacers want to be burdened with salary, but it's a nice chip to have to get additional help.

Granger, Bender, and Croshere all need minutes. It would be nice if Bender could stay healthy to the point of showing he has a future here, or showing he can be used to fetch help at another position. Croshere has probably shot his wad in terms of value, but he has provided some pretty important play for the Pacers over the years, especially when Isaiah Thomas isn't coaching him. Granger may indeed be the future for this franchise at the forward spot. I don't get the impression he's going to be "injured" as has been the past for others.

I'd like to see the Pacers get a real shooter who can start. It would put the roster where it should have been last year, balancing out the positions. It won't please Jackson, but he would be PERFECT off the bench. He can play both wing positions. He's just as much of a 'tweener as the forwards above. Coming off the bench, he could still 30+ minutes.

With the depth the Pacers have, the best thing for them to do is balance their roster out and add a shooter behind or in front of Jackson. The prototype would be Ray Allen, and behind him would be Michael Redd, Richard Hamilton, or a Joe Johnson. I'm not suggesting any of these players are available. Behind Jackson could be Mike Miller or Cuttino Mobley.

It would have been nice to parlay of this depth toward a Martell Webster or Francisco Garcia in the draft as an additional pick.

Will Galen
10-21-2005, 04:48 PM
All we really need is a healthy team. Getting one seems to be the problem.

Jon Theodore
10-21-2005, 04:51 PM
I agree with a lot of what you said. It's very true, a lot of players on this team could be much more productive somewhere else (statistically.)

But, we need to get rid of some PG"s and get a Center, not another shooter.

Sjack/Sarunas/Artest/Jermaine are all great shooters from different spots on the floor. And Sjack/Artest/Jermaine are all among the best defenders in the league at their position, none of them are have a compromised offensive game either.

Sjack/Artest/Jermaine all compliment each other well with what they bring, mainly they are all excellent defenders as I stated.

Defense wins championships, not ray allen. If we get a defensive minded Center, game over for anyone we play. Simple as that.

All we have to do is beat people with our depth. Guys like Ronnie/jermaine could be expected to play 40 minutes a night, but here they don't have to do that.

This not only increases their longevity as players, but should make them a lot better off come playoff time.

If i were carlisle, i would play the bench a lot during the regular season. Just wear teams out by constantly throwing fresh legs at them. Everyone on our team can put the ball in the basket, we build a lead and put in our starters to hold it down defensively.

All I know is this season can't start soon enough and I just drank three cups of coffee and typed this.

GO PACERS!!!! God I love this team.

Anthem
10-21-2005, 04:56 PM
I'm really hopeful that Bender can stay healthy for long enough to raise his trade value.

Granger looks like a perfect backup to both forward spots, which means no minutes for Bender.

Roy Munson
10-21-2005, 05:01 PM
Sjack/Sarunas/Artest/Jermaine are all great shooters from different spots on the floor.

I have yet to locate a spot on the floor from which Sjax is a great shooter. He is NOT a great shooter.

I don't think the Pacers have a great shooter on their team. I haven't seen enough of Sarunas to know for sure. Other three guys mentioned hardly qualify as great shooters. They are great at other things, just not shooting.

Anthem
10-21-2005, 05:05 PM
Agreed that this team has no great shooter. But then, last year's spurs didn't either. And don't say Horry.

Jon Theodore
10-21-2005, 05:06 PM
Maybe not great shooters like Allan Houston or Reggie Miller. But they all can knock down enough shots.

18to88
10-21-2005, 05:06 PM
How do you think we would get Ray Allen or Michael Redd?

ChicagoJ
10-21-2005, 05:20 PM
Depth is one of the most overrated terms in the NBA.

Depth only helps a team survive the regular season. It is not important during the playoffs.

If one of your three best players go down in the spring, you probably aren't going to win, period.

If your three best players aren't good enough, it doesn't matter how good guys #4-8 or 9 in the rotation are. And guys #10, #11 & #12 are not relevant.

SoupIsGood
10-21-2005, 05:31 PM
I feel like I'm reading a thread from a couple months ago, before Saras signed on. He is a great shooter, he is that shooter you want behind Jax.

waxman
10-21-2005, 05:53 PM
Depth is one of the most overrated terms in the NBA.

Depth only helps a team survive the regular season. It is not important during the playoffs.

If one of your three best players go down in the spring, you probably aren't going to win, period.

If your three best players aren't good enough, it doesn't matter how good guys #4-8 or 9 in the rotation are. And guys #10, #11 & #12 are not relevant.


Jay I know this has always been your stance....and i agree to a point. But a few guys off the bench can help situationally in the playoffs ....

Robert Horry has been key off the bench for both LA and SA. Steve Kerr hit big shots off the bench for Chicago....Sam Cassell was a monster for Houston in the Mid 90's playoff runs.

If we have a key starter (JO, Tins, Jack,Feisty,Ron) limping into the playoffs Harrison, Granger, Saras, FJ, JB, AJ could be key to holding the fort until that starter got back for a later round.

Bball
10-21-2005, 06:01 PM
Robert Horry has been key off the bench for both LA and SA. Steve Kerr hit big shots off the bench for Chicago....Sam Cassell was a monster for Houston in the Mid 90's playoff runs.


But those guys don't even get that chance without the contributions of the main cogs.

I agree with Jay.

-Bball

Destined4Greatness
10-21-2005, 06:20 PM
Wow, just wow. I mean Wow, Some of the recent stupidity when it comes to trades has just been WOW.

beast23
10-21-2005, 06:23 PM
It is a good point that we have SCORERS, but really do not have a single SHOOTER. At least not yet. I think many of us hope that Saras proves himself to be the shooter we need.

And Jay, I agree with Waxman about subs being situationally vital. Not just important, but vital.

Most would probably agree that a deep team uses 10 players, give or take, during the regular season. And, I know that it is your stance during playoffs that teams only need to primarily use their starting 5s, with maybe contributions from 6-8 where needed.

But I think subs 9-12 play a much more important role than that. For a good case in point, just look at our series against the Pistons this past season. We were giving the Pistons all they could handle, even with an injured and short lineup, until Brown suddenly discovered that he had Arroyo on his bench.

Arroyo for god's sake. What was he? Maybe #10 in Brown's rotation. But voila... Brown inserted the bugger and he was more than we could handle. We couldn't stop his passing, his penetration and the few mid-range shots that he took. So, I think that Detroit's #10 player was the difference-maker. He may not have decided the playoffs, but he was the player who seemed to swing things to their favor.

But basically, I believe that your #9-#12 are the players that provide a different twist to your lineup. You put them in, and every now and then, you get lucky. And all they have to do is collectively have one of them contribute just enough to swing one game. One game. That's oftentimes enough to get you to the next round.

waxman
10-21-2005, 06:33 PM
But those guys don't even get that chance without the contributions of the main cogs.



-Bball

Of course they don't. My point is there are valuable contributions to be made off the bench during the playoffs....in key situations and gave noted examples... yeah , none of these guys would've had the opportunity without the Superstars....but neither would the roll playing starters.

The reverse is true as well.

Jordan & Pippen didn't win 6 titles by themselves, the Bulls did.....Shaq & Kobe didn't win 3 titles, the Lakers did.....Tim Duncan & whoever....you get it right?

I didn't say I completely disagree.... a 10 man rotation ain't gonna help you much in the finals.

shags
10-21-2005, 06:40 PM
It is a good point that we have SCORERS, but really do not have a single SHOOTER. At least not yet. I think many of us hope that Saras proves himself to be the shooter we need.

And Jay, I agree with Waxman about subs being situationally vital. Not just important, but vital.

Most would probably agree that a deep team uses 10 players, give or take, during the regular season. And, I know that it is your stance during playoffs that teams only need to primarily use their starting 5s, with maybe contributions from 6-8 where needed.

But I think subs 9-12 play a much more important role than that. For a good case in point, just look at our series against the Pistons this past season. We were giving the Pistons all they could handle, even with an injured and short lineup, until Brown suddenly discovered that he had Arroyo on his bench.

Arroyo for god's sake. What was he? Maybe #10 in Brown's rotation. But voila... Brown inserted the bugger and he was more than we could handle. We couldn't stop his passing, his penetration and the few mid-range shots that he took. So, I think that Detroit's #10 player was the difference-maker. He may not have decided the playoffs, but he was the player who seemed to swing things to their favor.

But basically, I believe that your #9-#12 are the players that provide a different twist to your lineup. You put them in, and every now and then, you get lucky. And all they have to do is collectively have one of them contribute just enough to swing one game. One game. That's oftentimes enough to get you to the next round.

Actually, Arroyo was the Pistons 8th man last year. The Pistons 9th through 12th men:

Elden Campbell (completely useless against any team that doesn't have Shaq)
Darvin Ham (useful for 30 second stretches at the end of quarters)
Ronald Dupree (slightly less useful than Ham)
Darko Milicic (don't ask)

The Pistons essentially played 7 guys, and one of them was Lindsay Hunter, who 90% of the time was an absolute offensive disaster in the playoffs last year. Richard Hamilton had to play 48 minutes against the Heat in Game 7.

That group of 7 was one quarter away from winning a title against the Spurs, who also pared their rotation down to 7 (Barry & Horry) in the finals. I agree with the thought that depth is important in the regular season, but in the playoffs you need a top-notch 7 or 8 guys. The Pistons got by last year with 6.

ChicagoJ
10-21-2005, 06:45 PM
Hold on,

I agree that good quality subs are important because of whatever role they play. I don't want you to think that I think the entire starting five should play all 48 minutes. (Although I probably would recommend that for Game #7 of The Finals.)

But having the right role players is much different than having "the deepest team in the league".

Let's just talk about Steve Kerr as an example. Nobody in their right mind would've said that Steve Kerr & Co. made the Bulls better because he gave them great depth.

Steve knew his role and was generally excellent at it. But if Harper or that other guard on their team went down, nobody would've been saying, "well, with Steve Kerr they've got great depth so I think they can still win it all."

I'm just saying that I agree that having really good role players is important, but having a bunch of backups that might be good enough to start on other teams isn't all that helpful.

waxman
10-21-2005, 06:45 PM
Yeah at least 7 preferably 8 solid guys.

A solid second ballhandler , swingman, and Big.

ChicagoJ
10-21-2005, 06:58 PM
Actually, Arroyo was the Pistons 8th man last year. The Pistons 9th through 12th men:

Elden Campbell (completely useless against any team that doesn't have Shaq)
Darvin Ham (useful for 30 second stretches at the end of quarters)
Ronald Dupree (slightly less useful than Ham)
Darko Milicic (don't ask)

The Pistons essentially played 7 guys, and one of them was Lindsay Hunter, who 90% of the time was an absolute offensive disaster in the playoffs last year. Richard Hamilton had to play 48 minutes against the Heat in Game 7.

That group of 7 was one quarter away from winning a title against the Spurs, who also pared their rotation down to 7 (Barry & Horry) in the finals. I agree with the thought that depth is important in the regular season, but in the playoffs you need a top-notch 7 or 8 guys. The Pistons got by last year with 6.

Clearly, I agree 100%.

I'm going to just defer to the guy that cheers for the team that our "great depth" can't seem to beat in the playoffs. :shrug:

ChicagoJ
10-21-2005, 07:00 PM
Yeah at least 7 preferably 8 solid guys.

A solid second ballhandler , swingman, and Big.

Bingo.

If the solid ballhandler is a swingman (e.g. Brent Barry), you can do it with seven.

waxman
10-21-2005, 07:20 PM
Bingo.

If the solid ballhandler is a swingman (e.g. Brent Barry), you can do it with seven.


I can definately agree with that.... I'd still prefer 8 or 9 men through the first round or so,, (just because the playoffs tend to get so physical due to regular season officiating practices getting tossed out the window).... and then tighten up the rotation as it goes.

ChicagoJ
10-21-2005, 08:39 PM
The main reason I harp on the "eight man" thing is you have to spend some time doing it *before* the playoffs.

You can't play a full five-man bench all season then magically expect the starters and subs to all pick up their new roles and responsibilities at the flip of a switch.

I wouldn't argue that an 8-man rotation is best for the regular season, I just don't care whether we win 52 games or 61 games or whatever.

wintermute
10-21-2005, 11:21 PM
the pacers seem to have a very rigidly defined system of responsibilities, judging by players' comments. o'neal, for example, saying that he's been playing the center role so much that he may forget the power forward role. or sjax needing to adjust to the 2-guard role from the sf position he played last year. i would have thought that c/pf and sf/sg are the 2 most interchangeable positions.

in such a rigidly defined system, i would think that it would not take much adjustment to pluck the backup sf and plug him in for the starting sf, for example. more adjustments would be needed if players get shifted out of position, but even then it seems like most pacers learn 2 positions anyway.

on depth, i can think of situations where having backups good enough to be starters could be helpful. namely, injury or suspension. if your #9 and #10 players are good enough to be part of the core 8-man rotation, then you could lose 2 guys and still field a crack 8-man rotation. in fact, even if you lose 2 guys in the your top 3, as long as your #4 and #5 are good enough, you could get by.

case in point - last season, our 3 best players were o'neal, jackson, and tinsley. both o'neal and tinsley weren't healthy, and the next best players (aj? fj?) couldn't cut it. this year, we're getting artest back, while adding 2 players who we believe to be starter quality. i believe that this year, we can lose 2 starters and still make a credible run at the title.

the weak point is o'neal - he is the one guy in the lineup who is irreplaceable. in truth, this is a situation which all teams with a premier big man face. san antonio, miami, and detroit will all have major problems if duncan, shaq, or one of the wallaces go down.

SoupIsGood
10-21-2005, 11:25 PM
Depth is one of the most overrated terms in the NBA.

Depth only helps a team survive the regular season. It is not important during the playoffs.

If one of your three best players go down in the spring, you probably aren't going to win, period.

If your three best players aren't good enough, it doesn't matter how good guys #4-8 or 9 in the rotation are. And guys #10, #11 & #12 are not relevant.

Yes, but for us, this is maybe the most THE key to winning in the playoffs. We've got to last the season. If we were a ultra-durable team, our depth might be a little overrated.

SoupIsGood
10-21-2005, 11:26 PM
The main reason I harp on the "eight man" thing is you have to spend some time doing it *before* the playoffs.

You can't play a full five-man bench all season then magically expect the starters and subs to all pick up their new roles and responsibilities at the flip of a switch.

I wouldn't argue that an 8-man rotation is best for the regular season, I just don't care whether we win 52 games or 61 games or whatever.

The Spurs did this past year. I think they did alright in the playoffs.

circlecitysportsfan
10-21-2005, 11:41 PM
In the NBA, there is a contractual element that can affect the value of any player. It's not an issue of whether or not a player is good, it's is he good relative to his salary. Austin Croshere, Al Harrington, and Jonathon Bender all went through that process with the Pacers, and with all of them on the same roster behind Jalen Rose then Ron Artest it took too long to determine their value.

No team wants to give up on a player too early, i.e. Jermaine O'Neal and Portland, and worse, they don't want to be the 'next team' to give up on a kid. The fear of losing a player is far worse than sticking with one who doesn't quite live up.

Three 'tweeners coming off the bench was one too many. Good subs in the NBA often get 25-30 minutes on average. It seemed clear to me Croshere was definitely a second team defender and a special situations player. Rotate him early vs. the other team's 2nd PF, create matchup problems on the other end, and use him in situations where his shooting can create space.

Bender had the most potential but was frail. Still, he had a year or two early where he was able get minutes. Harrington always wanted to start, and he was the one who was able to step up.

The log jam three years ago killed any shot at Indiana getting much for Bender or Croshere (minus the Antoine Walker flirtation). The backcourt depth suffered, and while I like Jax, I'm not sure he is ultimately the best fit with this lineup. Harrington is dealt, for Jax, but last year's turn of events just killed any shot any sense of normalcy.

Enter Granger. Granger is an absolute steal at this point, but with Croshere and Bender on the roster with inflated contracts, how are they going to develop any sort of value? They have two years left on their contracts. That can be valuable to a team looking to clear some cap space in the future. Not that the Pacers want to be burdened with salary, but it's a nice chip to have to get additional help.

Granger, Bender, and Croshere all need minutes. It would be nice if Bender could stay healthy to the point of showing he has a future here, or showing he can be used to fetch help at another position. Croshere has probably shot his wad in terms of value, but he has provided some pretty important play for the Pacers over the years, especially when Isaiah Thomas isn't coaching him. Granger may indeed be the future for this franchise at the forward spot. I don't get the impression he's going to be "injured" as has been the past for others.

I'd like to see the Pacers get a real shooter who can start. It would put the roster where it should have been last year, balancing out the positions. It won't please Jackson, but he would be PERFECT off the bench. He can play both wing positions. He's just as much of a 'tweener as the forwards above. Coming off the bench, he could still 30+ minutes.

With the depth the Pacers have, the best thing for them to do is balance their roster out and add a shooter behind or in front of Jackson. The prototype would be Ray Allen, and behind him would be Michael Redd, Richard Hamilton, or a Joe Johnson. I'm not suggesting any of these players are available. Behind Jackson could be Mike Miller or Cuttino Mobley.

It would have been nice to parlay of this depth toward a Martell Webster or Francisco Garcia in the draft as an additional pick.



Tri Central was soooo overrated last season.

ChicagoJ
10-21-2005, 11:42 PM
I'm drawing a blank. Name the ten.

beast23
10-22-2005, 12:19 AM
Actually, Arroyo was the Pistons 8th man last year.

The Pistons essentially played 7 guys, and one of them was Lindsay Hunter, who 90% of the time was an absolute offensive disaster in the playoffs last year. Richard Hamilton had to play 48 minutes against the Heat in Game 7.I assumed that Arroyo was probably beyond #8 because he's not the first guard off the bench... Hunter is. With the DNPs he was getting in the playoffs against the Pacers, I just never considered him to be a #8. But looking at the roster that's probably right.

But it really doesn't diminish the argument. A player that the Pistons were not relying on in the playoffs pulled their butts out of the fire against the Pacers. And once Brown learned the value of Arroyo against the Pacers, he became the player that Brown used in late Q3 and parts of Q4 to burn the Pacers. At least until the last game, when we just couldn't seem to control Billups.

For the Pistons, A short playoff lineup has worked. But only for one reason. They had no choice because their bench has basically been *****.

As we watch the Pistons this season and in the playoffs, let's remember this conversation. Their goal this off-season was to acquire depth. After accomplishing that goal, do you really think that they will continue to use only 7 or 8 players in the playoffs? I don't think so.

One reason that you won't see that this season and in the playoffs with the Pistons is because with Flip they will probably run more than they did with Brown.

Basically, I think you play to your strengths. A major strength of the Pacers is the depth of their bench. If you got it, flaunt it. BUT... a huge advantage in having a deep bench is that you should be able to run the crap out of your opponents. The length of our bench will be diminished if we are not willing to push the tempo.

ChicagoJ
10-22-2005, 12:50 AM
If I thought that (1) we really would run the crap out of our opponents, or (2) that style would win a playoff series beyond the first round, I'd change my tune.

And frankly, I can't wait for Phoenix to win a title with a running team so that a few coaches will begin to jump back onto the "agreesive play" bandwagon - especially at the offensive end.

I love Bo Hill's quote... "Playing a slow, deliberate style of basketball never guarantees high-quality defense, only lower scores."

Jim R
10-22-2005, 08:16 AM
Tri Central was soooo overrated last season.

Lapel fan?

shags
10-22-2005, 11:40 AM
I assumed that Arroyo was probably beyond #8 because he's not the first guard off the bench... Hunter is. With the DNPs he was getting in the playoffs against the Pacers, I just never considered him to be a #8. But looking at the roster that's probably right.

But it really doesn't diminish the argument. A player that the Pistons were not relying on in the playoffs pulled their butts out of the fire against the Pacers. And once Brown learned the value of Arroyo against the Pacers, he became the player that Brown used in late Q3 and parts of Q4 to burn the Pacers. At least until the last game, when we just couldn't seem to control Billups.

For the Pistons, A short playoff lineup has worked. But only for one reason. They had no choice because their bench has basically been *****.

As we watch the Pistons this season and in the playoffs, let's remember this conversation. Their goal this off-season was to acquire depth. After accomplishing that goal, do you really think that they will continue to use only 7 or 8 players in the playoffs? I don't think so.

One reason that you won't see that this season and in the playoffs with the Pistons is because with Flip they will probably run more than they did with Brown.

Basically, I think you play to your strengths. A major strength of the Pacers is the depth of their bench. If you got it, flaunt it. BUT... a huge advantage in having a deep bench is that you should be able to run the crap out of your opponents. The length of our bench will be diminished if we are not willing to push the tempo.

I agree & disagree with you. The Pistons (and to a lesser extent the Spurs) situation last season is not an ideal one. You don't want to end up having confidence in only 7 guys, but that's the hand they were dealt.

The Pistons had an ideal bench situation in 2004. Before they got Sheed, Okur & Campbell split time opposite Ben Wallace. Mike James started EVERY GAME for Boston. And Corliss Williamson played 20 minutes a night. The Pistons, with Hunter, played 10 guys after they acquired Sheed. The bench developed during the season.

But in the playoffs, they pared that down to 8. And it was a different 8 depending on the series. Corliss always played. James was the 3rd guard against NJ, but Hunter was against the Pacers & Lakers. And Okur was the top frontcourt reserve against the Nets and Pacers, but Campbell got the nod in the finals. Okur didn't even play in Game 4.

And in Game 2 against the Pacers that year, the group that brought the Pistons back to within striking distance in the first half: Mike James, Lindsay Hunter, Corliss Williamson, Mehmet Okur, Elden Campbell.

The Pacers have the depth to copy what the Pistons did that year, even though there starting lineup isn't as good.