“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” Dr. Seuss
We are in a funk, we now have some obvious tension in the locker room and the confidence bordering on arrogance demonstrated by the local fan base has now been shaken, but not necessarily stirred.
In the Roy Hibbert thread I made my disappointment known for how Roy has chosen to handle this so I won’t continue beating that drum here.
I had an Odd Thoughts in the can after the Knicks loss but decided that for my first one back in awhile that it was way to negative and so even though it was a long one (yea even for me) I just deleted it late this evening.
Today with the Bulls coming to town I want to look at what some of the root causes are and see if we can’t alleviate some of our anxiety as we end the season and look to the playoffs.
First though I want to make this statement, I thought N.Y. would beat us prior to the game. In fact I’m somewhat surprised we narrowed the gap as much as we did. Also and I’m not saying this just to be an alarmist, but I believe the likelihood is that the Bulls will pummel us tonight. Their defense is fierce and it will exacerbate every single offensive flaw we have. Now I’m not guaranteeing a loss but I will actually be surprised if we pull this one off. However follow me till the end of this portion of my post and you will see why I am not going to freak out if this occurs.
I’m just going to go ahead and mess with Uncle Bucks mind here and now, I think our defense though lapsing at times and not nearly as potent as it once was is still good enough to win most games.
Even against good teams.
Our offense though is just abysmal. I don’t have fancy graphs or advanced analytics to back me up but I can just tell you that since about the beginning of the New Year our offense has gone in the tank.
We have people, including our center, who place a lot of the blame at the feet of Lance because sometimes when he gets the ball he holds onto it for way to long.
We have others who will blame our lack of point guard and George Hill’s aggressiveness from game to game ranging between Stannis Baratheon to Lord Varys.
Even others will point to our centers inability to hold position against players half his size or the ability to catch anything other than an entry lob pass.
Some will go after our superstar player for his inability to shoot with even the slightest decent % over the past few months and his new found role as floor Barrister in arguing with the referee’s after almost every play.
If you are brave enough you might even cast a mild statement of doubt towards David West. But if his badness doesn’t make you hesitate his biggest fan in the world Quinn Buckner might tackle you. If you’ve ever listened to Quinn you will know that David has never done anything wrong, ever.
Again going back to Dr. Seuss the answers really aren’t that complicated. The solutions to the problems might be, but the simplest answer in the world is how our offense gets slowed to an absolute grinding halt on a nightly basis.
Watch teams defend us to start games. They simply pack the paint and dare us to hit any form of shot outside of 15’. You’ll notice they don’t really blitz our pick and rolls very often because they know our ball handlers are not going to pull up for a mid range shot and stick it. They may try but the likely hood of anyone on our team hitting a shot outside of the paint is tenuous at best.
What does this lead to? Simple this means that we have pretty much three options on a play. We either bring the ball up court swing it from side to side praying that the defense switches and draws out a defender leading to either Lance or Paul sashaying to the basket or someone on our team pulling up and shooting a three pointer that more likely than not will not go in. Or we come up court and try and make an entry pass to Roy or David and pray they catch it without the ball being turned over and then can get up a shot while being double teamed. Or we run a high pick and roll with West hopefully finding a cutter or some miracle occurs and his mid range shot falls.
Sure there are million other variations that can occur here but these are the three most common themes I’ve seen. I dropped mysynergy this year so I’m just going on what I have seen and remember.
Now our highest success generally is when we do move the ball around and that it never stays with one person for any real length of time. However there is not a single starter who isn’t guilty of pounding the rock to much on occasion. Yes Lance is guilty of it as well and he probably is the biggest offender but let me assure you that Paul George can do it and for that matter so can Roy.
However the single biggest culprit in all of this is our inability to stick a jump shot on a consistent basis. Remember in the beginning of the year when Luis Scola took that 12-15’ jumper you were certain that it would drop? Or how about when Paul George just pulled up in the mid range from anywhere, weren’t you positive that this was a money shot? Do you still fill that way today? David West has even been missing wide open bunnies under the basket lately.
It’s so bad that I would give a max contract right now to Kyle Korver and I hate everything about his game.
How do you fix shooting? That is an age old question that I’m not 100% sure how to do.
In some ways we are just going to have to do what I freely admit for me is one of the hardest things in the world to do. Have faith.
Paul hit those shots before so there is no reason why he can’t hit them again. Luis was automatic before, I know of no physical reason why he can’t be again.
We really truly need C.J. Watson back because he was the one guard who could hit a shot on a consistent basis.
So between the dog days of the NBA, a massive shooting slump and some internal finger pointing it would look like we were lottery bound all season and not the # 1 seed in the NBA for most of the year.
But fortunes can change and shift back to the positive as fast as they have fallen by the wayside.
This is why tonight I am not going to go nuclear if we lose. Now don’t get me wrong if we don’t even compete I’ll let them have it and even if we do compete and lose I’ll still point out issues that I see. But my thoughts coming into this week were as follows. We would lose to the Knicks, we would get smashed by the Bulls and we will struggle vs. the Grizzlies.
By then the coaching staff is going to have to step in and light a fire under them. This is where Frank will either earn his money or well this might be the first real chink exposed in his armor. My bet is on Frank.
The team will be up for the Heat and there the season will either turn back to what it once was or well we are looking at a collapse that will shake our fan base to the very core.
The talent is still there. The system needs tweaking but at the end of the day and this is once again the simplest answer in the world but there is no better answer. Our players have got to start hitting their shots on a more consistent basis.
Okay now that I have this portion of the thread done I am now going to move into another topic that is not basketball related however it is Digest related.
This was really not one of my better posts I’ve written and actually I’m okay with that because I did not want my first one back to be filled with my stinging rebukes of another loss to the Knicks or Bulls.
The reason for that is because it is my official announcement that I am back. You will notice my name is once again highlighted in blue. I want to thank everyone who sent me p.m.’s checking on my well being or encouraging me to post more often. Circumstances have changed and I intend on ending the season and hitting the playoffs with the energy of 10 Grinch’s. We will be having some new announcements coming your way in the future but for now it’s safe to say I’m home and in the immortal words of Lt. Comd. Tom Dodge “let’s kick this pig”.
Also there has not been nearly enough Van Halen in your lives since I have been gone.