View Full Version : Did Saras really hit the wall?

10-05-2006, 10:33 AM
I'm a Saras fan, but I've always been a little leery of the talk about him hitting the Rookie Wall.

Seemed to me more like a spin on just having a bad second half of the year. Instead of fatigue being the problem, I'm guessing it had more to do with Rick messing with his head, chemistry problems on the team, etc.

Or, if you don't like Sarunas, you can choose the option that it wasn't fatigue, he just sucks.

Since the issue and theory was covered in a stand alone article in the Star, I thought it might be worthy of some discussion .Anyway, I was wondering how many of you believe in the "Rookie Wall" (i.e. fatigue) theory.


Julius Sour
10-05-2006, 10:43 AM
i do

10-05-2006, 10:47 AM
I think it was a mix of things. He was tired, wasn't used to the schedule, and he didn't have the stability in the second half.

Sarunas is a guy that needs to know who he's going to be playing with night in night out and he needs to have a defined role, he didn't have that last year in the second half.

Hopefully this season he will be the backup point guard who plays 15-20 minutes a game and is effective in that role.

Dr. Goldfoot
10-05-2006, 11:39 AM
While i'm sure some players make it through game 30 of their career and realize "damn I'm tired". There are plenty who've shown they play right thru it.

Shareef Abdur Rahim, Carmelo Anthony, Elton Brand, Vince Carter, Tim Duncan, Michael Finley, Grant Hill, AI, Lebron James, Jason Kidd, Zo, Mutumbo, Shaq, Chris Paul, Paul Pierce, Jerry Stackhouse, Keith Van Horn, Dwane Wade + many more I didn't even look up all came in and contributed right away with little to no drop off in production their rookie years. I think some guys are ready to go and some aren't. The guys on this list never had the luxury of the "rookie wall" excuse in their first seasons.

Dr. Goldfoot
10-05-2006, 11:50 AM
After posting that, I realize I've opened myself up to the old "It's not fair to compare him to those guys they're the elite" and that right there is the difference. Runi is 30 years old, a veteran of pro ball for 7 or 8 some seasons, a champion overseas....what did he expect the NBA to be like? The guys on my list were all straight from college or in some cases high school and they made the transition. Some will say" those guys were put into a position to be the man on mediocre teams". Runi played on a mediocre team and the guy he was backing up went down early and never really returned. He was in a position to prove he belongs with the elite and failed. He still has a chance to prove otherwise. Many stars in the NBA didn't come right in and shine, but I'm not sure how many were given the chance he got last year only to blow it.

10-05-2006, 12:07 PM
Teams saw him play and learned to pressure him constantly. You pressure Saras and his entire game suffers. He can't get comfortable or find a rhythm.

IMO the only wall was how other teams defended him.

10-05-2006, 12:48 PM
Gotta agree.

He was "solved" after thirty games. Jacque Vaughn was eating him alive during the playoffs. Does he have an adjustment? Another gear? A spare set of hands to help him handle pressure? If not, just getting into better shape isn't going to be enough.

10-05-2006, 12:57 PM
If you don't want to call it "hitting the rookie wall" you could just say "he wasn't up to the rigors of an 82 game NBA season."

IMO blaming Cabbage's problems on people messing with his mind or chemistry problems in a cop out. If a player can't handle the coaching in the league he shouldn't be in the NBA. As for chemistry problems it's the same for everyone on the team. I don't get along with everyone I work with but we still get the job done.

10-05-2006, 01:04 PM
Or, if you don't like Sarunas, you can choose the option that it wasn't fatigue, he just sucks.
The two statement don't go together.

The fact is that the vast majority of players entering the NBA do hit a "rookie wall." The ones that don't are freaks of athleticism. I think Saras has the ability to contribute at an NBA level, but what he brings to the game isn't through his athletic abilities.

I think he'll be better this year.

10-05-2006, 02:18 PM
For any player that is entering the NBA for the first time....whether he is from College or from one of the EuroLeagues.....there will a period of adjustment ( whether it is due to the 82 game schedule or the faster and more aggressive nature of the game in the NBA ) that they have to make.

IMHO....Sarunas faced that adjustment in the NBA once teams figured out how to limit his effectiveness along with other factors ( undefined roles with Tinsley and AJ back in the roster....the turmoil of last season....whatever reason you can pull out of your hat ) were contributing factors to his breakdown in the 2nd half of the season. Either way....he had to adjust to the NBA life...which he clearly did not do in the 2nd half of the season.

My hope is that he has worked on the necessary adjustments to make it through the entire season without a "sophmore slump". This is the chance that he ( like everyone else ) gets. But if he still hasn't "figured it out" after going through 2 full season......then I agree with grace.....he shouldn't be in the NBA and therefore should be shipped out.

10-05-2006, 02:45 PM
Gotta agree.

He was "solved" after thirty games. Jacque Vaughn was eating him alive during the playoffs. Does he have an adjustment? Another gear? A spare set of hands to help him handle pressure? If not, just getting into better shape isn't going to be enough.
I agree with both of you because I saw the increase in trapping. However that doesn't mean that this isn't part of a rookie wall. We assume exhaustion but I think it does also include "gimmicks", go-to moves, and teams getting a report worked up on you.

A rookie has to be working up his own report on the rest of the league while this is going on so that as they solve him he is also solving them and learning new tricks. Some of those solutions can be flat-out effort and athleticism, so a guy hits the physical wall at the worst possible time.

The reason I don't bail on Cabbages is because the IDENTICAL thing happened to Beetlejuice the year before. He and Gill were abused with traps because they showed they couldn't handle it. It wasn't until AJ developed his ball handling in terms of up-court advancement that teams started backing off the traps and doubles.

Once a guy starts to break them regularly teams stop wanting to spend the energy on the ineffective effort. AJ fixed his problem, SarJas could just as easily do the same. The team will learn how to space for passes to beat the traps, set picks for the same, and hopefully he will adopt some ball handling methods that protect the ball without him having to pick up his dribble in the backcourt, which is unforgivable IMO.

It's not a given that he will be fine, but I'd be surprised if he didn't have a better 2nd year. It's not like he's so old that physical depreciation should be outpacing the improvements due to learning.

In fact pressure, traps, double teams are situations where defenses are taking a risk at are in danger of getting beat behind those efforts. There is vulnerability there that a good player can exploit.

SarJas certainly has shown a good offensive awareness and court vision, so if you add to this some fundamentals that allow him to cope with these attacks just long enough to advance the ball past the attack, he could spin the negative in his game into a big positive (ie, lots of assists for easy buckets). That would really slow down the pressure.

10-05-2006, 04:31 PM
I think he hit a wall, and he can't handle being played as an NBA 2-guard.

10-05-2006, 04:33 PM
I think it's possible to suck and be tired at the same time. Hopefully this year will be different.

10-06-2006, 01:00 AM
Wall hit, european bandwagon fans everywhere, three injured, not deemed serious.

10-06-2006, 03:15 AM
I wonder, if Carlisle play Saras at SF, will Saras hit sophomore wall this year? :D

10-06-2006, 08:37 AM
I think he'll stay the same person he was last year, but a lot will depend on Carlisle. If he gives Saras what S-Jas needs, Lithuanian will probably be eficient, like he could have been last year under the... right circumstances. And when SarJas will be given what he needs, it'll be clear whether he did hit the wall or he just sucks.