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thunderbird1245
09-25-2006, 04:17 PM
As training camp approaches quickly now, I thought it was appropriate to talk about Sarunas and his strengths and weaknesses here in year 2.

I wasnt on this board until this summer, so I am hoping this topic hasnt been done to death prior to now. I do think that most of us have a realistic assessment of his positives and negatives as a player, although there will be some dispute among "the degree" of how bad and good they may be. In general, I think most of us, including me, see his game breaking down like this:

Strengths: Ability to make open shots, ability to pass accurately and with either hand, ability to "see" the floor and plays develop quickly, ability to make foul shots, fiery and emotional leadership style. Most likely will do better with more regular playing time, and in a faster pace of game. Creative player and passer, pretty good decision maker. Understands the game offensively well.

Weaknesses: An extreme lack of athletic ability and lateral quickness. Has trouble handling ball against extreme ball pressure. Possibly not in the best of physical shape last year. Release on shot is a little slow, which causes him to hurry to get it off, which drops his shooting percentage some. Not as physically strong as some other guards. Lack of ability to pressure the ball defensively forces him to have to lay off his man to keep from being beaten off dribble. Offensively lacks "blow by" speed with the dribble, which invites teams to be able to pressure him and force him to turn his back or zig zag to protect the ball. Doesnt cut off of screens as well as you'd expect, which limits his ability to play off the ball offensively.

Ok, I think most people who intelligently watch the game would more or less agree with that assessment of his abilities. The question I pose today is, since it is apparent we are going to play him in our rotation, and with the odds being in his favor that he will start some for us due to Tinsley's injury history......how can the coaching staff best use Sarunas to use his strengths and hide his weaknesses?

In my opinion, this is a huge part of his job and a big challenge for Carlisle this year.....how to better utilize Sarunas? What suggestions do the members of this board have to make that happen? Whether or not you are in the pro Sarunas or Anti Sarunas camp makes no difference now....he is ours, so how can we best use him?

From a coaches perspective (and I'm not particularly a fan of his game), here are some things I think we can do to better use him:

1. We can play another ballhandler with him offensively. As has been suggested by some on this board (Naptown Seth was one), Marquis Daniels seems to be an ideal backcourt mate with Sarunas. Daniels can help bring the ball upcourt to alleviate some of that pressure on him, and then we can play offensively by getting the ball back to Sarunas to initiate whatever play we choose to run. This is a solution we can't easily use with Sarunas with anyone else paired with him in the backcourt (Jackson/Granger) because those 2 guard options can't really bring the ball up. Time will tell whether James White will play much, but if he does, one of the main factors in how much he helps us surely will be if he can do the same type things for us Daniels does.....in my opinion, it is this attribute which will make Daniels one of the most important acquisitions we've made in the last 5 years.

2. We have to be able to run more after missed shots. This will depend on how well our bigs are able to both rebound and OUTLET the ball. I view us as being very poor at outlet passes (especially Foster), but hopefully if our bigs are better at this skill, it will show up in Sarunas game. Our bigs ability to outlet the ball after a defensive rebound successfully will be the deciding factor in how really uptempo we become. I hope again that the insertion of Harrington in the lineup, and the pickup of Maceo Baston helps in this regard, along with more minutes for Harrison. I have no real current knowledge of how well those 3 guys are at this skill of making the overhead two handed outlet pass, but if anyone else does please inform me.

3. I think we need to defensively trap any "screen/roll" situation he is involved in. He had a hard time fighting thru those last year as the year progressed, and I think this is the easiest and best solution to the problem. That will take a change in our overall team defensive scheme as a whole, but I think its one that we should make anyway, so I have no problem with this idea's benefits to Sarunas.

4. Defensively, we need to be able to play some zone defense when he is in the game. This will limit his exposure to being beaten off the dribble outright, and will help mask others picking up fouls after he is beaten and being forced to help. If it were me, I'd play about 15-20% zone defense this season, and almost all of that time would be with Sarunas in the game.

5. Lots of improvement is going to just have to come from Sarunas himself individually. He is going to have to be in much better physical shape and condition, hopefully a few pounds lighter and a bit quicker. I'd make him attempt to pressure the ball defensively instead of laying back like he did last year, even if it means he gets beat more often. Hopefully thats a skill he can gradually improve thru out the year. Along with that, in our "team defensive man to man", our wings have to do what is called "showing your help early", which in laymans terms means jumping toward the direction of the ballhandler whenever he even thinks about driving. This type strategy sometimes stops ballhandlers from improvising and driving the ball to toward the rim, as they know or think that their drive will be cut off before they get very far.....of course, it also means you'll be more vulnerable to "penetrate and pitchouts", since you are helping earlier and further and more often.....but thats just price you pay.

6. We still need to use Sarunas off the ball some, like last year. I know the crowd of those who get angry at the thought of Sarunas not being the point guard will complain, but hear me out with this.. My adjustment here would be to use him as a more of a "screen setter" than a cutter.....as I dont view Sarunas as as good of a cutter away from the basketball as he should be. Knowing that, Id like to use him as a screener for other players, then perhaps release to the outside to spot up....maybe even create some switching mismatches with these "small on big" screens. I see Sarunas being able to screen well, causing his own man to have to help, then being able to free himself easier to recieve a pass. That seems to fit his own strengths to me better than having someone else SCREEN FOR HIM. Just my opinion though, and Ill be interested in hearing others thoughts on that.

7. Using the above idea from number 6, I believe after some study that Sarunas will be our second/third best post feeder (Jackson/Granger are ahead of him at my current thinking). With that in mind, its going to be important for Sarunas to be able to play in the wing areas of the floor, and to be able to make the post entry pass. He will have to learn how to do that and then "relocate" (move to an open area after he passes it inside) so he can take a return pass and make his jump shot. Last season, I thought once Sarunas made an entry pass to the post that he often stood and watched, this season he needs to be better in that regard, be in good enough shape and have increased the speed of his release that he can take and make the 3 point shot after playing inside out. Hopefully, this single adjustment to his game can raise his 3 point percentage to the high 30's%, maybe even to the low 40's%. I think its that important.

8. We need to be willing to play him thru mistakes, and not have a quick hook. I think RC needs to give him fairly regular minutes, somewhere between 18-22 or so......and to try and do it in longer stints of 8 to 9 minutes at a time.

9. RC needs also I think to give Sarunas the responsibility to call the half court plays himself. (I think that of Tinsley too by the way). Im fairly certain he can handle the responsibility, and his personality traits to me seem to tell me that he would cherish and really value the added responsibility. That will be hard for Carlisle to do with both his point guards, but I think he needs to try it, especially if he really genuinely wants to play slightly faster tempo.

10. Lastly, Sarunas needs to fully commit to his role and how he is being used. He needs to completely buy in to the Pacers, and not be giving quotes to any media types either here or overseas. He can't be doing anything to make waves or cause distractions for a team that is so mentally fragile in general anyway. I like his leadership style in general, but my perception is that he needs to be much more demonstratively positive in his actions and words with teammates, and not come across as quite so negative with them. Thats a complete guess on my part, but I think that what he viewed as leadership last year probably grated on the nerves of some people, whether or not it was true what he said. He needs to be very upbeat, positive, smiling, joyous, and competitive, and hopefully that will rub off on his teammates and help the atmosphere around Pacerland. Being so positive with his teammates will help his overall game and give him more credibilty as a leader I think when he plays, so he CAN eventually say something negative to someone he is playing with. Maybe DA can counsel him with this some this year.

Id love to hear any more strategic ideas we can use as a staff to better help Sarunas as a player, and to better enable the Pacers to play him more effectively. Im sure there are more I havent thought of, so lets hear them.

Los Angeles
09-25-2006, 04:35 PM
It's always a pleasure to read your posts, T-bird.

I think that many of these points are applicable to just about every player we want to see developed, most notably Harrison.

Naptown_Seth
09-25-2006, 04:36 PM
As you quoted me, I would like to see some backcourt 2-man play with SarJas and (likely) Daniels. I mean in screening for each other, moving toward the basket as they shuffle the ball between them rather than just a static, standard ball handoff once it gets into the front court.

Daniels is athletic enough and a strong enough shooter inside the arc to pressure his defender on any switches or spacing their screening creates. I see it in a vein similar to how Mobley and Francis played together in Houston (the only thing Stevie did well). They could basically 2 man weave their way right to the basket half the time and were constantly in motion off of each other.

Also the magic play for SarJas last year was the high pick from David with David then going down the lane as SarJas rolled off the screen with his dribble. He had the passes to make that play work repeatedly (and Dave's size created real problems for defenses to deny him the space or the pass).

I don't like SarJas OFF THE BALL. They have to avoid that. He is a ball dependent player IMO, even if he struggled vs pressure. So I think the ball must get back into his hands ASAP if he is going to be a part of the HC set, though he will need to see a couple of catch and shoots to keep teams honest when he is off the ball on a play.

Anyway, I want him on the ball because I think he is much, much better at reading the offensive flow from that position, even after he gives the ball up during the play.

Most of his plays should involve the screener moving to the basket or moving to set a 2nd screen for someone going to the basket. He needs plays to develop quickly like that because I think that's where he has his strongest advantage - reading the play and with enough passes to get it to his man before the defense can react.

You can't count on him on slow developing plays or really complex setups because it gives defenses too much time to just trap him and drive the ball away from him.

On the flipside, I do think it would really benefit him if they ran some bait and switch plays that lure defenses into trapping him intentionally with him then passing the ball past them for the score or an assist for the recieving player (meaning he then passes in for the score).

The benefit is two-fold. First you get a double-team which means space and defenders out of position, and in this case it is in a way that you have setup rather than being caught off guard. Secondly, if you run it well a few times it will slow down those hard traps and give Cabbages some time to see the floor in normal HC sets.

Essentially SarJas might best be used like RC tried to use Fred, setting Fred up for 1 or 2 moves off a high screen with him finding the shot or making the pass. The trade off here is that SarJas won't be flying in for a dunk, but he also won't be throwing out of control passes from mid-air.


The fact that you must committ the ball to him so much for him to be effective makes him a poor option for the first team IMO, where JO and Al will especially be looking to draw the doubles inward instead of outward and dish to athletic cutters more than spot-up shooters (I assume this since they want to be uptempo, and inside-out spot-up is low tempo IMO).




edit - I agree about getting him out on the break. Cabbages was the best man advantage transition player the team had last year. The spacing on those has typically been awful, guys don't read their lane, they don't stagger, etc. Generally awful spacing, very awkward.

thunderbird1245
09-25-2006, 04:51 PM
Thanks Seth for the analysis, you usually add good points and did so again, even if you and I disagree a little on using Sarunas away from the ball as a screener some of the time. Your other points about using him to "invite" traps and pressure and then countering them for easy baskets was great, and so was they reasoning on what would happen after we did that a while. I would also add that adjustments like that are "classic" Carlisle, and wouldnt be surprised if we saw stuff similar in design to that.

I did want to add another important thing that I forgot in my original post, but should have included: Playing some "2 guard" front offensive schemes. This goes along with the idea of pairing him with another ballhandler, but involves more than that. This would mean in general using offensive formations unlike what the Pacers have preferred in the past....ones with 2 guards both parallel to one another out front. Those of you who know what I mean know that some of these include the "4 out 1 in" formation, and the "2 out 3 in" formation. Because these formations essentially split the ballhandling responsibilites between the 2 guards (if you chose them to), and because it makes no difference which side of the floor you initiate your offense from using these formations, playing alot of these 2 our half court game this way would enable you to use Sarunas more often paired with someone other than Daniels. I say that because playing offense in this way gives the ballhandler normally only one option to initiate offense thru: the wing on his own side. Because of this truth, you can use Granger/Jackson/White to begin your play by making the first pass, because you've taken any responsibility to make a decision out of their hands.

Using 2 guard front offensive formations shouldve definitely made my first list.

aero
09-26-2006, 12:23 AM
I truely believe that he will be a better player this year, sure he isnt a Steve Nash or young Jason Kidd but Saraus is a decent player that deserves more respect then what some are giving him.

Nice read Thunderbird you bring up some good points.

Unclebuck
09-26-2006, 09:22 AM
One thing about Saras that is very troubling. You can't just give him the ball and tell him to "run the offense" Last year he wasn't capable because he couldn't dribble the ball against mild pressure and get into position to "start the offense" That is why Rick played him off the ball.

From what I've seen of Saras, he's excellent off the ball, but not as a spot up shooter, but as a playmaker after the offensive play has already started when the defense is on the move, rotating to recover. Saras is great at running a secondary pick and roll in the middle of the offensive play.

Saras is a specialist, and it requires the coaching staff to be very creative.

I just wonder if Saras is worth the effort

Fool
09-26-2006, 09:41 AM
One thing about Saras that is very troubling. You can't just give him the ball and tell him to "run the offense" Last year he wasn't capable because he couldn't dribble the ball against mild pressure and get into position to "start the offense" That is why Rick played him off the ball.

I hesitate to comment on individual players (since I don't watch nearly as many Pacers games as most of you) but I agree with this. It isn't just "extreme pressure" that hampers Saras. And on the note about baiting other teams to trap Saras, did that happen much last year? I wouldn't expect a team to risk sending a second guy at Saras when one player aggressively playing his dribble seems disruptive enough. Why create the hole in your defense when one player can exploit that weakness well enough already.

Phildog
09-26-2006, 09:49 AM
I hesitate to comment on individual players (since I don't watch nearly as many Pacers games as most of you) but I agree with this. It isn't just "extreme pressure" that hampers Saras. And on the note about baiting other teams to trap Saras, did that happen much last year? I wouldn't expect a team to risk sending a second guy at Saras when one player aggressively playing his dribble seems disruptive enough. Why create the hole in your defense when one player can exploit that weakness well enough already.


Other teams did do this because it was like an automatic turnover. There was no hole because they would trap at half court and Saras couldn't recover.

Speed
09-26-2006, 09:59 AM
2 things that really struck me as making sense. Technically, having him set the picks and flair to open spot, makes so much sense. Completely uses his skills and puts so much pressure on that pick and roll. Simple and perfect.

Giving him more responsibility, along with that will come respect/leadership and I think he'll wear that like a comfortable sweatshirt.

Technically I disagree with having him play up on a guy with early feigning of help. I think its too disruptive to the team scheme. I would lock Saras in a room and make him watch Mark Jackson play D for about 3 days. Mark wasn't great, but he limited his weaknesses by keeping the defender off balance by positioning and not giving the ballhandler a consistent look defensively. Saras won't be a good defender, but with his high b ball IQ he can be good enough.

Also, I'm not much on zones in the NBA, you can get killed on the offensive boards and the players are good enough to get a decent shot almost everytime down, if they are smart.

Good job, nice read.

Los Angeles
09-26-2006, 10:03 AM
The most fascinating part of the ongoing Saras debate is that many of the criticisms of Jasikevicius - namely his lack of speed, his ball handling, and his trouble against pressure - are the very same criticisms that were thrown towards Anthony Johnson for years.

If AJ can overcome these difficulties as an aging vet, why can't Sarunas?

Unclebuck
09-26-2006, 10:36 AM
The most fascinating part of the ongoing Saras debate is that many of the criticisms of Jasikevicius - namely his lack of speed, his ball handling, and his trouble against pressure - are the very same criticisms that were thrown towards Anthony Johnson for years.

If AJ can overcome these difficulties as an aging vet, why can't Sarunas?

That is a good point, but AJ overcame that weakness with a ton of offseason work. He realy, really got into great shape, and really worked on it to improve. We'll see if Saras can do the same

Bball
09-26-2006, 10:41 AM
That is a good point, but AJ overcame that weakness with a ton of offseason work. He realy, really got into great shape, and really worked on it to improve. We'll see if Saras can do the same

I thought AJ, more than anything, got comfortable with his role and knew the coach was on his side.

-Bball

Los Angeles
09-26-2006, 10:46 AM
That is a good point, but AJ overcame that weakness with a ton of offseason work. He realy, really got into great shape, and really worked on it to improve. We'll see if Saras can do the same

This is exactly why I don't like shifting the blame for his poor play last year on coaching, the rookie wall, or team chemistry. Sure, all of those things may be factors. But in the end each and every one of us must take responsibility for our own situations.

Only one man is responsible for Sarunas' play: Sarunas himself.

thunderbird1245
09-26-2006, 11:16 AM
The most fascinating part of the ongoing Saras debate is that many of the criticisms of Jasikevicius - namely his lack of speed, his ball handling, and his trouble against pressure - are the very same criticisms that were thrown towards Anthony Johnson for years.

If AJ can overcome these difficulties as an aging vet, why can't Sarunas?


I actually view AJ and Sarunas as different type of guards for the most part, both physically and in how they think and play the game. I also am pretty certain, although I dont have the information in front of me, that AJ had a fairly significant size advantage on Sarunas, which enabled him to play and be utilized a little differently.

Johnson, and Mark Jackson too, had a weight and strength advantage on Sarunas that enabled them to body up more on the player they were guarding.....that and the rule changes from the era when Jackson played to today's current rules are a factor in how Sarunas is going to have to play defensively.

It does bring up a question though I guess: If you were to be asked, do you think it would be better for Sarunas to put on weight and be stronger than last year, or to lose weight and try and become quicker? I think you can make arguments for both, but I'd go for the leaner quicker version....

Defensively, I know I dont want him laying off his man and only being able to pick them up inside the 3 point line....he has simply got to be able in my view to at least be able to pressure the opponents point guard as he comes across the time line at least somewhat. If he can't at least improve that area of his defensive game.....then I might have to take a look at Greene or Armstrong, and sacrifice some of the offensive advantages Sarunas can give you.

As far as using him as a screener goes, please realize I dont just mean using him as a screener in screen/roll situations, but as a screener away from the ball for JO, Harrington, Granger, Jackson, Harrison, and whomever else we design offense for. Not all the time, but much much more than he has had to in the past.

JMO

Putnam
09-26-2006, 11:31 AM
Sorry, but....


I dont have the information in front of me, that AJ had a fairly significant size advantage on Sarunas, which enabled him to play and be utilized a little differently.

Anthony Johnson
6' 3"
190 pounds

Sarunas Jasikevicius
6' 4"
195 pounds

Sarunas actually has the size and weight advantage over AJ. On paper, anyway.


I agree with the desire for a "quicker" Sarunas over a stronger one. You're over my head with your coaching analysis, but it would be more fun to watch him stay with his man a little better.

Los Angeles
09-26-2006, 11:43 AM
You're right, comparison of AJ and Sarunas ends on the offensive end of the floor. There is no comparison on the defensive end.

There was once a thread here where I asked Jay to explain the concept of "hiding" Jasikevicius on the defensive end. It seems to have fallen victim to the November 2005 forum blackout. That's a shame, becuase it went into many of these topics.

Maybe Jay can chime in again.

On losing or gaining weight: At his age, I honestly don't think that there is an advantage for going either direction. I don't think gaining weight will make him stronger, and I don't think that losing weight will make him faster. His body is what it is, it just needs to be ready to last 35 minutes on the floor and 6 months during the season. His conditioning should be focused on stamina. Again, Sarunas is 30 years old, and 30 year old bodies don't change lightly or easily.

The only muscles he really needs to develop are his heart, his brain, and his will.

thunderbird1245
09-26-2006, 11:56 AM
Sorry, but....



Anthony Johnson
6' 3"
190 pounds

Sarunas Jasikevicius
6' 4"
195 pounds

Sarunas actually has the size and weight advantage over AJ. On paper, anyway.


I agree with the desire for a "quicker" Sarunas over a stronger one. You're over my head with your coaching analysis, but it would be more fun to watch him stay with his man a little better.


Ok you got me there, at least on paper. I can tell you that at least from what I saw with the naked eye I thought AJ was a couple inches taller and definitely 15 pounds heavier.....maybe it was my eyes playing tricks, or just a difference in body type. Am I the only one that thinks Sarunas probably is closer to 6'2", or that AJ weighed more than that listing?

Anyway, good information!

Unclebuck
09-26-2006, 12:21 PM
I read and heard many things that AJ did in the past two offseasons that improved his ballhandling, improved his quickness with the ball. That did not happen by accident.




I thought AJ, more than anything, got comfortable with his role and knew the coach was on his side.

Bball, you have to remember that a year ago he was the third strong point guard, so he was not comfortable in his role, in fact he had to fight and claw his way back into the rotation and into the starters role. I can't believe he's not on the team anymore, that is the one offseason move that I hate.

Bball
09-26-2006, 12:32 PM
Bball, you have to remember that a year ago he was the third strong point guard, so he was not comfortable in his role, in fact he had to fight and claw his way back into the rotation and into the starters role. I can't believe he's not on the team anymore, that is the one offseason move that I hate.

By 'comfortable' I meant he knew where he stood and what was expected and what he needed to do. Not that he was in a 'happy' place or was satisfied.

So he could focus on what he needed to work on.

As for the debate on Sarunas vs AJ size wise... Not sure on height but I thought AJ looked heavier.

-Bball

Kestas
09-27-2006, 05:58 AM
The most fascinating part of the ongoing Saras debate is that many of the criticisms of Jasikevicius - namely his lack of speed, his ball handling, and his trouble against pressure

if that's all shortcomings you can name, then it's easy for the team to compensate them.
and comparing him to Johnson :///////// no comment.
I still see it this way: if the team will not make anything to utilise Saras' many strengths while working arround his few wekanesses, screw it. he'll go backt to Europe (that's my subjective prediction). NBA seems to be not ready for players like Saras yet. I'm not telling he'll not suceed, though, but I find hopes that he'll somehow miraculously improve his dribble against double guarding stupid. nobody's perfect, there are no such players in NBA or anywhere else.

BillS
09-27-2006, 09:14 AM
if that's all shortcomings you can name, then it's easy for the team to compensate them.
and comparing him to Johnson :///////// no comment.
I still see it this way: if the team will not make anything to utilise Saras' many strengths while working arround his few wekanesses, screw it. he'll go backt to Europe (that's my subjective prediction). Players like Saras seems to be not ready for NBA yet. I'm not telling he'll not suceed, though, but I find hopes that he'll somehow miraculously improve his dribble against double guarding stupid. nobody's perfect, there are no such players in NBA or anywhere else.

fixed

McKeyFan
09-27-2006, 11:49 AM
You can't just give him the ball and tell him to "run the offense" Last year he wasn't capable because he couldn't dribble the ball against mild pressure and get into position to "start the offense"

I agree with this comment and the others that made it-- but also with BBall's comeback.

Basically, Runi better have worked on this handles during the offseason or it will be difficult for the rest of his NBA career.

Having said that, I believe that confidence is a major factor here. Knowing that Rick will pull him after one or two mistakes, Runi was less willing to take a risk while beating the press (looking for a good pass up the court, etc.) and seemed determined to just somehow dribble up court with no mistakes.

When your confidence is high, when you know you have the endorsement of the coach, you have so much more freedom, and have more choices and more potential risks to take, all improving your confidence.

Runi last year seemed to be in a straightjacket much of the time.

Some will say giving him more freedom will mean watching the same turnover ten times in a row. Others of us think it means he will come into his own with the confidence and creativity he needs.

I will say this: the few games he was played a lot of minutes he did very well, which I believe makes my point.

McKeyFan
09-27-2006, 11:54 AM
I can't believe he's not on the team anymore, that is the one offseason move that I hate.

I'm thrilled he's off the team.

Not because I don't like AJ or don't think he's very good. He is.

He's just not great. And it takes great to win a championship.

Others are not great but potentially could be, imo (Harrison, Daniels, Granger, Runi, etc.)

Without hope, the heart perishes.

Sometimes you have to sacrifice the good to accomplish the great. This is what I believe happened with the AJ trade, especially given Rick's constantly going to AJ as a crutch for an offense with no movement.

PacerMan
09-27-2006, 04:11 PM
Sorry, but....



Anthony Johnson
6' 3"
190 pounds

Sarunas Jasikevicius
6' 4"
195 pounds

Sarunas actually has the size and weight advantage over AJ. On paper, anyway.


I agree with the desire for a "quicker" Sarunas over a stronger one. You're over my head with your coaching analysis, but it would be more fun to watch him stay with his man a little better.


In the real world AJ threw down some monster dunks. Don't think Saras is capable of that.

v_d_g
09-27-2006, 08:53 PM
One thing about Saras that is very troubling. You can't just give him the ball and tell him to "run the offense" Last year he wasn't capable because he couldn't dribble the ball against mild pressure and get into position to "start the offense" That is why Rick played him off the ball.

From what I've seen of Saras, he's excellent off the ball, but not as a spot up shooter, but as a playmaker after the offensive play has already started when the defense is on the move, rotating to recover. Saras is great at running a secondary pick and roll in the middle of the offensive play.

Saras is a specialist, and it requires the coaching staff to be very creative.

I just wonder if Saras is worth the effort

Nailed that one, UB

Why does the coaching staff need to do HEAD STANDS to protect a player with so many weaknesses.

Why not do it for all the players?

Why not do it for me?

In other words, why take playing time away from better/more deserving players?

Have yet to understand the love affair on this board with a very mediocre player. Seriouly, if he didn't have a 2 year contract, is he back this year?

Not with the Pacers and probably not in the NBA

BlueNGold
09-27-2006, 09:30 PM
In the real world AJ threw down some monster dunks. Don't think Saras is capable of that.

In many ways, AJ is the antithesis of Saras...on offense and defense.

AJ has inspector gadget-like arms. Maybe a wingspan of 6'7" or more. That allows him to dunk without much hop. He is also a bit quicker than Saras. These are perhaps the only two reasons AJ is currently a better PG. It is merely in terms of physical attributes that AJ ran the show last year.

Saras has the fundamentals, court vision, leadership, passing skills and shooting stroke to be perhaps a much better player. He just needs to shore up his defense and learn to handle pressure D better. These are purely physical issues...but might prove to be insurmountable. Those are huge gaps in his NBA game, but I think he can improve on both fronts if he is motivated to improve and be a part of this team. I don't think the team will try to cover for him, nor do I think they should.

BlueNGold
09-27-2006, 09:41 PM
Have yet to understand the love affair on this board with a very mediocre player. Seriouly, if he didn't have a 2 year contract, is he back this year?

Not with the Pacers and probably not in the NBA

The hype partially comes from across the pond...but that's not the whole story.

Saras has a couple distinct gaping holes in his game that greatly hampers his effectiveness. I guess you could call him mediocre, but that fails to recognize that he is tremendously talented in other areas. He is a great shooter, better passer, shows tremendous passion and until last year had supreme confidence. These are attributes you find in a champion and is why he is so highly regarded OUS.

If he closes the gaps (which I have some doubt he can do), his stock will rise very quickly.

ChicagoJ
09-28-2006, 11:01 AM
Saras could be utilized better by fetching gatorade for the players if he's sitting behind the bench in a suit and tie, not on the bench in a uniform.

Oh wait, you mean on the court?

Well, Wile E. Coyote had some leg muscle vitamins that made him as fast as the Road Runner for a little while. Maybe Saras should call ACME. Or did they get acquired by BALCO?

Maybe ACME also has some "handle the ball under pressure" vitamins, and a "try to stay with Kyle Korver on defense" rocketship. Maybe ACME has a one of those hypnotism thingies that Rick could use to get Saras to accept that in the NBA he's going to play a much smaller role than he did overseas and that we're not going to re-design everything around his glaring weaknesses. He can either figure out how to fit in, or not. I'm not holding my breath.

McKeyFan
09-28-2006, 11:45 AM
Dude, you're vicious toward Saras. Why the extreme dislike?

vapacersfan
09-28-2006, 11:48 AM
Saras could be utilized better by fetching gatorade for the players if he's sitting behind the bench in a suit and tie, not on the bench in a uniform.

Oh wait, you mean on the court?

Well, Wile E. Coyote had some leg muscle vitamins that made him as fast as the Road Runner for a little while. Maybe Saras should call ACME. Or did they get acquired by BALCO?

Maybe ACME also has some "handle the ball under pressure" vitamins, and a "try to stay with Kyle Korver on defense" rocketship. Maybe ACME has a one of those hypnotism thingies that Rick could use to get Saras to accept that in the NBA he's going to play a much smaller role than he did overseas and that we're not going to re-design everything around his glaring weaknesses. He can either figure out how to fit in, or not. I'm not holding my breath.

We all get the point, you hate Saras.

I do think your last line is kind of funny, though. The same can be said for Tinsley, Jax, DH, etc.........

ChicagoJ
09-28-2006, 11:54 AM
I don't hate Saras. But if I were coach, I wouldn't spend any time worrying about utilizing Saras better. He's an eighth-man at best. He'll either figure out how to make a contribution or Greene or someone else will (can we please get Omar Cook back?).

I'd worry about how to better utilize JO, and how to work Al and Daniels into the lineup. I'd worry about ways the coaching staff can make Tinsley healthy and happy. I'd spend some time working on the transition from when David is on the court (he is what he is) and when he's not (nobody else on our roster can do what he does) as those the transitions from playing with a post presence to playing without a post presence is often difficult on the other players.

But I wouldn't spend any time changing my gameplan around my backups.

Kestas
09-28-2006, 07:35 PM
I don't hate Saras. But if I were coach, I wouldn't spend any time worrying about utilizing Saras better. He's an eighth-man at best. He'll either figure out how to make a contribution or Greene or someone else will (can we please get Omar Cook back?).

I'd worry about how to better utilize JO, and how to work Al and Daniels into the lineup. I'd worry about ways the coaching staff can make Tinsley healthy and happy. I'd spend some time working on the transition from when David is on the court (he is what he is) and when he's not (nobody else on our roster can do what he does) as those the transitions from playing with a post presence to playing without a post presence is often difficult on the other players.

But I wouldn't spend any time changing my gameplan around my backups.

you get some of us wrong: Saras doesn't need the team to adjust to him. The team needs to adjust to Saras in order to be better when he's on court (instead of being worse). teams interest is by far first and foremost. if the team can't get a guy to help Saras get the ball up the court, because it's too complicated or something, then srew such a team. they would better stand up there like idiots and look at Saras losing the ball, right, coz this is Saras' problem, right? no, when Saras loses a ball it's the problem of the team, because it's not Saras, who gets two or three points on his head - it's Pacers. if you're so afraid Saras will lose the ball when he's pressed, but still don't wanna move your *** to help him, then fire Saras and get over it! buy somebody who has a better dribble and who doesn't reaquire the team to do nothing (good luck, btw). why the hell are you paying him 4 mln, for crying out loud? sacrificing good result in favour of some misterious principles is stupid, to say the least. in fact, the team must utilise all of its players in order to succeed (principle ignored by biger part of NBA teams). and if the team has a certain system, then it must buy players that fit it. now Pacers bought Saras for three years and even after one year they're still looking at him like they met yesterday. this is pathetic. Why waste money and time on him, when entire world knew that Saras is not suited for the kind of play that Carlisle was running last year? why the heck coach accepted a player he doesn't actually need or want? why the heck Bird buys a player his coach doesn't want in his system?
so Pacers will either adjust to Saras' few weaknesses, or it'll be 12 mln wasted, image in front of Global viewers tarnished, and results - worse than they could be.

ChicagoJ
09-29-2006, 10:33 AM
You're exactly right, its $12 million wasted, but having the coach make a bunch of adjustments around a minor roleplayer doesn't recover the $12 million wasted and won't make the team better.

Bird makes mistakes. He held onto Ron for too long, and the guy he coveted for years turned out to be a four-month rental who sat out of the playoffs with a mysterious injury. He's mishandled the coaching situation. Giving Rick an extension is probably compounding the mistake of bringing him back after he totally lost the team last season. He underestimated Brad Miller's value for - if nothing else - just keeping JO healthy. He gets credit for making gutsy decisions, but nobody is accusing him of making smart/ good decisions. He overpayed (years and dollars) for a somewhat risky experiment on a player that was very good and very popular in Europe and inadvertently created a bunch of chemistry problems by adding a guy with a "superstar's" mentality but a "role-player's" skill set to a position with depth and experience.

I could understand Rick designing a defense to hide his perceived biggest weakness - lack of footspeed. We had no idea that he had an even bigger weakness - lack of capable ballhandling. That's too much to ask a coach to work around. My hunch is that, although I'm not remotely excited about Orien Greene's prospects, the team will have a smoother adjustment if he's the backup PG. And "not needing to make a bunch of adjustments" will make the team better.

bulldog
09-29-2006, 12:15 PM
I don't hate Saras. But if I were coach, I wouldn't spend any time worrying about utilizing Saras better. He's an eighth-man at best. He'll either figure out how to make a contribution or Greene or someone else will (can we please get Omar Cook back?).

That's not true and you know it. 8th man at best? What are you basing this on?
I'm not gonna bother countering this argument because I assume you're being flippant. But if you're actually serious, then I don't even know where to begin.

Kegboy
09-29-2006, 12:17 PM
Jay, you're such a hater. :-p

I've said that I expect Cabbage to be better this year. He's got severe physical limitations, but I think he's smart enough to make up for some of them. Going into the offseason I would have thought he'd be determined enough to work his *** off this summer, but all we've heard besides his honeymoon is he worked out with Maccabi, which I guess is better than not working out at all, but I'm afraid it will reinforce skills that won't help in the NBA.

TBird, I haven't had much time to read your stuff, but I thoroughly enjoyed your writeup. We discussed Daniels being as good a match as any for Cabbage when we got him, and I couldn't agree more on the trapping. The one thing that drove me crazy last year was seeing him get picked, and bouncing back in slow motion like he was in a Rocky movie or something. Hopefully our increased speed will help in that regard.

Doug
09-29-2006, 12:18 PM
All players have flaws. Especially back-up players. Good teams will attack and try to exploit a players flaws. All coaches have to and need to adjust there schemes to prevent this.

That said...



I could understand Rick designing a defense to hide his perceived biggest weakness - lack of footspeed. We had no idea that he had an even bigger weakness - lack of capable ballhandling. That's too much to ask a coach to work around.

I agree with Jay completely. When one of a player's weakness is the primary required skill for his position, it becomes too much to try to game plan around.

Kegboy
09-29-2006, 12:19 PM
That's not true and you know it. 8th man at best? What are you basing this on?
I'm not gonna bother countering this argument because I assume you're being flippant. But if you're actually serious, then I don't even know where to begin.

What's wrong with being the 8th man? I'll be very happy if he can make it in an 8 man rotation.

Tinsley
Jack
Danny
Al
Jermaine
Quis
Jeff
Cabbage

ChicagoJ
09-29-2006, 12:28 PM
That's not true and you know it. 8th man at best? What are you basing this on?
I'm not gonna bother countering this argument because I assume you're being flippant. But if you're actually serious, then I don't even know where to begin.

What part of "eighth-man" is unclear. Let's break it down.

You've got five "starters", and he ain't one of them (assuming they're all healthy.)

Is he sixth man? No, as of right now either Daniels or SJax will be.

Is he seventh man? No. as of right now Jeff probably is (or if Jeff starts, Al or Danny is the sixth man and SJax/Daniels is the seventh man.)

Is he the eighth man? One could argue that the leftover from Jeff/David is this team's eight man. But if we get down to an eight man rotation, as we should, then one of those two will be out.

Is he the ninth man? Assuming he beats out Greene, yes. And he moves up to the eighth man if we don't play all our big guys.

Keep in mind, he's only being promoted from third-string to second-string because we traded AJ the malconent. We've signed several PGs with the idea that any of them could supplant Saras and push him back to a third-string role.

Seed
09-29-2006, 12:44 PM
all we've heard besides his honeymoon is he worked out with Maccabi, which I guess is better than not working out at all, but I'm afraid it will reinforce skills that won't help in the NBA.
I have no clue what went on in his practices with Maccabi, but actually, they have one of the top defenders in the Euroleague - Derick Sharp.
If Saras wanted to practice against pressure, he could do it.

Seed
09-29-2006, 12:48 PM
Keep in mind, he's only being promoted from third-string to second-string because we traded AJ the malconent. We've signed several PGs with the idea that any of them could supplant Saras and push him back to a third-string role.
You'd love that won't you?
But the truth is that he's regarded as an important part of the roster this year. He will get more minutes, take more perimeter shots and call more offensive plays.
He might screw up, sure. But as for now, they are surely counting him in the plans, and planning plays for him.

imawhat
09-29-2006, 12:52 PM
It sounds bad, but like others have been saying, 8th man isn't that bad. That puts him behind O'Neal, Harrington, Granger, Jackson, Tinsley, Daniels and Foster but ahead of Harrison, Baston, Armstrong, White, Williams, and whoever else makes the team.

It's a deep roster. And unless there are some injuries, there are going to be some players that we'll want to see that are going to get little playing time, if any.

Kestas
09-29-2006, 02:47 PM
You're exactly right, its $12 million wasted, but having the coach make a bunch of adjustments around a minor roleplayer doesn't recover the $12 million wasted and won't make the team better.

Bird makes mistakes. He held onto Ron for too long, and the guy he coveted for years turned out to be a four-month rental who sat out of the playoffs with a mysterious injury. He's mishandled the coaching situation. Giving Rick an extension is probably compounding the mistake of bringing him back after he totally lost the team last season. He underestimated Brad Miller's value for - if nothing else - just keeping JO healthy. He gets credit for making gutsy decisions, but nobody is accusing him of making smart/ good decisions. He overpayed (years and dollars) for a somewhat risky experiment on a player that was very good and very popular in Europe and inadvertently created a bunch of chemistry problems by adding a guy with a "superstar's" mentality but a "role-player's" skill set to a position with depth and experience.

I could understand Rick designing a defense to hide his perceived biggest weakness - lack of footspeed. We had no idea that he had an even bigger weakness - lack of capable ballhandling. That's too much to ask a coach to work around. My hunch is that, although I'm not remotely excited about Orien Greene's prospects, the team will have a smoother adjustment if he's the backup PG. And "not needing to make a bunch of adjustments" will make the team better.

It's hard to argue with you on this, so I hope Saras will prove you wrong. therefore I'm changing my mind regarding his other options beyond Pacers. if the team has not changed and they will still be misusing Saras or unwilling to cover his few problems, then I hope he gets traded to another NBA team that actually wants him the way he is and not the way people like you imagine the PG should be like. Saras has features that only a couple of other PGs can offer and other coaches have shown you can use these to the full and come out the winner. I still believe there are smart "out of the box" coaches in NBA.. though after this year's WBC performance by a supposedly exactly such coach Mike Krzyzewski and "European style promoter" DiAngelo I'm somewhat more sceptical about this than a year ago... back then I thought Carlisle was a modern coach, would you believe it.. ;)

JayRedd
09-29-2006, 04:36 PM
Just a few things to add...

I really don't have an very strong opinion either way on Sarunas, but there are two things I'm certain of:

1) Players don't improve their ball handling at 30 years old. Sarunas could be a slight exception to the rule and improve somewhat seeing as how he is adjusting to better defenders than he ever has played against before. But in general, your ball-handling ability has reached it's ceiling by your 30s. The guy may learn to handle pressure a little better mentally, but his physical ball handling ability is probably what it is.

2) if you can't dribble the ball up the floor against pressure and need "help", you are not a PG. There is one press breaker needed to beat a man-to-man full-court press: Every one else get out of the way and let the PG bring the ball up. If you can't do that, you are a two-guard.

DeS
09-29-2006, 04:58 PM
First, I want to thank Thunderbird for a good read!
Jay - you surely don't like Saras. You can talk pages of posts on how Pacers must utilize Tinsley (in first place firing a coach, because he don't know how to utilize Tinsley), although he didn't played a half (I don't know exactly, but still it was a lot of missed games) of the season games and in the same time you call Saras a waste of 12 mln. after somone spoke about Saras utilization. Surely - you are not counting how much of a waste was Tinsley this year alone. I don't like Saras too much either, still I miss the integrity in your posts. And the sentences like "I'd worry about ways the coaching staff can make Tinsley healthy and happy"... It sounds just funny (we are supposed to be talking about the professionals).

ChicagoJ
09-29-2006, 05:21 PM
I think that's a fair point, but I'd offer the following counter-point:

If we had another healthy, happy PG that was as good as Tinsley, I'd be okay with showing him the door. (Or a chance to get another healthy, happy PG without breaking up our frontcourt.)

The difference is, here we are asking, "What can the coaching staff do differently to help cover up for a popular player's weaknesses." Contrast that against this: our coaching staff knows how to use Tinsley, and when he's healthy Tinsley has been our most important player. As Reggie said, "As Tinsley goes, so go the Pacers." That's a double-edge sword, because it indicates just how good, and how fragile (either physically or mentally, or both) Tinsley is.

That's what we're stuck with, the enigma that is Jamaal Tinsley. Starting PG, however, is probably the most difficult position to fill in the NBA. We do have one player capable of filling that need.

When I complained of the apparent toxic relationship between Rick and Tinsley, I observed that both parties were to blame, and in the NBA when that happens you change coaches.

Just because I think Saras has too many weaknesses to overcome (he's not a starting caliber PG, and that makes a big difference in terms of how much you do/ do not "cater" to him) does not mean that I'm remotely happy with the way this coaching staff has handled many things, including, in fact, the Saras situation. I dislike Rick as much as the pro-Saras crowd dislikes Rick, for a similar yet different reason.

Kestas
09-30-2006, 08:38 AM
I think that's a fair point, but I'd offer the following counter-point:

If we had another healthy, happy PG that was as good as Tinsley, I'd be okay with showing him the door. (Or a chance to get another healthy, happy PG without breaking up our frontcourt.)

The difference is, here we are asking, "What can the coaching staff do differently to help cover up for a popular player's weaknesses." Contrast that against this: our coaching staff knows how to use Tinsley, and when he's healthy Tinsley has been our most important player. As Reggie said, "As Tinsley goes, so go the Pacers." That's a double-edge sword, because it indicates just how good, and how fragile (either physically or mentally, or both) Tinsley is.

That's what we're stuck with, the enigma that is Jamaal Tinsley. Starting PG, however, is probably the most difficult position to fill in the NBA. We do have one player capable of filling that need.

When I complained of the apparent toxic relationship between Rick and Tinsley, I observed that both parties were to blame, and in the NBA when that happens you change coaches.

Just because I think Saras has too many weaknesses to overcome (he's not a starting caliber PG, and that makes a big difference in terms of how much you do/ do not "cater" to him) does not mean that I'm remotely happy with the way this coaching staff has handled many things, including, in fact, the Saras situation. I dislike Rick as much as the pro-Saras crowd dislikes Rick, for a similar yet different reason.

this post was pretty much eseless, imho. you just hate Saras and you're also in denial. pretty much the same goes to JeyRedd, who still naively believes Saras has not met briliant deffenders in his non-NBA career and that other teams did not try to utilise his mediocre dribbling.. hopeless..

and that's my last reply on this thread, promise ;)

bulldog
09-30-2006, 09:26 AM
Jay, you didn't say he was the eight man, which I agree with. You said he was the eight man at best. I'm assuming you mean thats his cieling.

SO what you're saying is, based on his rookie year, you've decided that there is absolutely no way he can replicate his Euroleague or international success, despite the fact that some of that success was against the American team, who despite their deficencies in other areas , still had the athleticism that so many claim make Saras incapable of being an NBA player. You're such a visionary that you've already decided that there is absolutely no way that Saras can be more successful in the NBA than he already has been. Really?

I don't think there's one guy on our roster I'd describe as eight man at best. Maybe John Edwards.

McKeyFan
09-30-2006, 10:46 AM
The difference is, here we are asking, "What can the coaching staff do differently to help cover up for a popular player's weaknesses."

I can see where you get that perception.

And I suppose this angle is true for some folks, but not for me.

I think I speak for a lot of Saras supporters by saying it is not his popularity that makes us want to see adjustments made to help him improve. Rather, we see the possibility (potential) that Saras could truly excel and be a great point guard for us.

So, that's about wishing for good basketball, not a popularity contest.

Those of us with such hopes may be proven to be wrong. That's okay, as long as it is sufficiently proven, which many of us (including Bird) just don't think Carlisle did last year.

Seed
09-30-2006, 12:31 PM
I think I speak for a lot of Saras supporters by saying it is not his popularity that makes us want to see adjustments made to help him improve. Rather, we see the possibility (potential) that Saras could truly excel and be a great point guard for us.
Yup! Well said.

I can say for myself, that I would enjoy very much a scheme in which Tinsley excels and stays healthy, and Saras comes off the bench with a leathal 2nd unit (and I think we have this potential), and brings his experience and on-court leadership. This is the Pacers I'd like to see.

Jermaniac
09-30-2006, 12:39 PM
Damn Jay is ****ing owning yall in this thread. This is wild, I want to be like Jay when I grow up. Yall need to go to sleep.

Seed
09-30-2006, 03:34 PM
Damn Jay is ****ing owning yall in this thread. This is wild, I want to be like Jay when I grow up.
And you sure have lots of growing up to do.
That's a shame cause when your'e being serious, I like reading your posts.



Yall need to go to sleep.

Your'e right about this one. Its night time here in Israel.
Sweet dreams all.

Dr. Goldfoot
09-30-2006, 04:00 PM
I'm gonna agree with Jay. You don't go to such great lengths to cover the weaknesses of a backup player. We didn't expect Larry Brown to change the style of the offense/defense for Kenny Williams or Malik Sealy or to call specific plays to take advantage of Fred Hoiberg's outside shot. They were expected to play within the offense as was dictated by the better players. In those cases it was Reggie & Rik this year it's JO, Al & Jackson. You don't change the play to suit the reserves you change the reserves to suit the play.

Jermaniac
09-30-2006, 11:45 PM
And you sure have lots of growing up to do.
That's a shame cause when your'e being serious, I like reading your posts.


I try to be serious but then who would be funny around here.

SoupIsGood
10-01-2006, 12:14 AM
I do wonder if Saras is worth all the effort, but lets face it - we better hope that he is, because he's going to be starting a good amount of games for us. 60 games out of Tinsley would be outstanding, and still leaves Saras starting for 20 games.

Saras didn't make it into the Rookie/Soph game by accident. The man has talent, but it's up to him to improve his offensive game. If he can become a better ball-handler and bring to this team a genuine play-maker on offense, then the defensive losses are acceptable. But if not, then he's only good as a long-range shooter.

Hicks
10-01-2006, 08:55 AM
I try to be serious but then who would be funny around here.

Unclebuck, apparently.

Hicks
10-01-2006, 08:56 AM
Regarding Sarunas, if he can just keep up what he had at the start of last season, for an entire season, I'll be OK with him.

Jermaniac
10-01-2006, 12:34 PM
Unclebuck, apparently.I'm mad, UB keeps getting on the Funniest Poster of The Year ballot and I never even laughed at one of his posts, other then when he talks about Rick Carlisle being a great coach, thats always good for a laugh at my household.

Alpolloloco
10-01-2006, 12:56 PM
I've heard that Sarunas has worked with the Harlem Globetrotters intensively this summer so I won't worry too much about his ballhandling skills.

He will challenge Tinsley for a starting spot and JO for the leadership!

Jermaniac
10-01-2006, 01:14 PM
LMAO Harlem Globetrotters

thunderbird1245
10-01-2006, 05:42 PM
Everyone, please realize I'm not saying you need to, or should, revamp your entire team's set up and strategy around one back up guard. But I am saying that its been decided that Sarunas is going to play a big role for us apparently, so its up to the Pacers staff to utilize him to get maximum production from him. That is the job of RC for every player, not just SarJas, and it only makes common sense.

Pacesetter
10-01-2006, 06:49 PM
I don't hate Saras. But if I were coach, I wouldn't spend any time worrying about utilizing Saras better. He's an eighth-man at best. He'll either figure out how to make a contribution or Greene or someone else will (can we please get Omar Cook back?).

I'd worry about how to better utilize JO, and how to work Al and Daniels into the lineup. I'd worry about ways the coaching staff can make Tinsley healthy and happy. I'd spend some time working on the transition from when David is on the court (he is what he is) and when he's not (nobody else on our roster can do what he does) as those the transitions from playing with a post presence to playing without a post presence is often difficult on the other players.

But I wouldn't spend any time changing my gameplan around my backups.


A coach should be trying to find ways to make EVERYONE on the team better, especially the PG!

ChicagoJ
10-02-2006, 10:39 AM
A coach should be trying to find ways to make EVERYONE on the team better, especially the PG!

I don't dispute this common sense of course. But Saras isn't "The" PG. He's a backup PG that could easily be replaced by someone who is a better "fit" for Rick's system/ the Pacers.

But I'm not really a fan of having a backup PG with a completely different skill set than the starting PG. It totally disrupts the rest of the team.

In a way that's much different/ more profound that different style wing players or different style post players.

AJ (or KA, for example) had flaws, but the team generally operated the same way/ same plays regardless of which PG was on the court.

In Phoenix, Saras would still be an eighth-man at best, but he'd look much better because the team's transition from Nash to Saras would be smoother.

At PG, THE starting point for a team's offense and defense, the shift from *any* of our other PGs to Saras is huge transition, and I wouldn't want the coaches to burden the team with two widely different gameplans for "with" and "without" Saras. The team would be best served if Saras had enough all-around skills to step in and give the team what it needs.

As for John Edwards, he's a twelfth-man at Best.

Saras is really old for a second-year player. It not like he's got much of the "P" word anymore. He is what is he is. He'll make some small adjustments. I don't expect him to be as awful was he was for the last sixty games of last season. But once he'd been around the league once, other teams had uncovered a variety of ways to limit his usefulness. Because he isn't really a "potential" player, he'll never be as good again as he was for the twenty games or so before opposing NBA coaches figured him out.

His NBA career will ultimately be someplace between the guy who earned a spot in an eight-man rotation during his first twenty games and a guy who played his way out of an nine-man rotation the rest of the season.


+ + + + + +

I suppose I could listen to a scenario in which we tried to change Tinsley's style of play to match Saras, in order to reduce the disruption. Since Saras seems much more limited in terms of on-court/ NBA PG skills than Tinsley, that might work.

+ + + + + +

Lastly, Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington can both be "the man" on a lottery-bound team. If you want to limit it to "Saras is eighth-man at best on a playoff bound team", then okay.