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comments from an O'brien supporter - warning its lengthy :)
A thinner and quicker McRoberts was the answer against Brad Miller in the game against Chicago that you referred to, with McRoberts being used at that time as more of a roving low post threat who used his quickness and hops to create a mismatch against Miller on both ends of the court. He is no longer being used that way, and his game is suffering mightily as a result. He obviously was no use against Miller, or anybody else, at the arc, and Roy was little to no use against Miller down low because Roy is both too light weight and has very little polish on his footwork in the low post despite his one and only week with Walton this summer.
So, you would think our coach, having seen the Chicago game, would have used McRoberts in the way that mde him successful the previous time against a (literally) pivotal player who happens to be with the Rockets now, but, as usual, he failed to do so, and instead continued with his inflexible game plan where Josh is being played out of position in the high post to try to "stretch the court" when he is ill suited for that purpose.
There is no longer Troy Murphy or Antoine Walker, the closest is James Posey, who predictably is beginning to see an increase in minutes and is soon to be inserted into that slot in the O'Brien system despite his overall hindrance to the team performance due to his slow feet defensively. He sometimes makes a good play, but many more times he simply avoids contact instead of attempting to reach, which reduces his fouling, but also renders him pretty ineffective defensively unless others are funneling driving players into him at the rim for charges.
I was just talking about defense when citing that part (and it's hard for me to fault our adjustment in the 2/27 follow-up vs Chicago since we won that game!) We did have McRoberts matched up with Miller to close out the Houston game, right? We tried Hibbert on Miller again before that, but even with Hibbert's improved agility he still had his problems.
This isn't totally related, but I heard a great interview on the radio last May between Jeff Van Gundy and Michael Reghi during the Boston-Cleveland series. Van Gundy was adamant that it is a mistake for coaches to "cross-match" on defense, and I'm guessing that a lot of coaches probably feel the same way. So that's what I mean by supporting O'Brien's decision to take Hibbert out of the game in the final stretch (as long as Miller was on the floor) and to put McRoberts at the 5. I know a lot of people may disagree with that but chalk it up to an honest disagreement I guess. As for the issue of how McRoberts should have gotten more playing time a year ago, I generally disagree with that as I discussed earlier. I see where you're coming from though. But I think O'Brien has been pretty clear that he doesn't want McRoberts to be Troy Murphy... Shoot the occasional three, sure, but his stated role is to run the floor, hustle, rebound, defend, make smart passes, etc. I personally feel that McRoberts may be better suited to a role off the bench if/when Hansbrough improves. In short, I miss Jeff Foster..