We are about one quarter through the season and the Sactown Kings are, as we say, strugg-a-ling. There are plenty of potential reasons for the drama of this "rebuilding" season: Coaching, Player Rotation, Injuries. I'd like to focus our energy on the two controls if you will(coaching & roation) as opposed to the the one variable(injuries), mainly because we have no control over injuries. That said, we can debate the decisions of coaching and we can debate the effectiveness of player rotation because they're both visible and they have consequences.
Two years ago we had a team falling from playoff potential and looking to establish a new identity in the western conference. To facilitate this we parted ways with Adelman and an offensive system that created fireworks when it functioned properly and let ineffective offensive teams look like the D'Antoni SSOL Suns when it fell apart. But no matter what, the games were entertaining and we had a chance to win. With the move away from Adelman to Musselman (A-man to M-man), that hope quickly faded despite our desires for it and we realized quickly with the DUI that things we're not going to be the same in Sactown for a few years. The Maloofs brought in Reggie Theus in an effort to create some solidarity on the coaching front and bring some effort back into the team, and last year, I think we'd prolly agree, Theus accomplished this. Yet here we are in early 2008-09 questioning the Theus effectiveness.
We all knew Theus had a harder situation this year than last year. Last year he was fresh, new and energetic. He had a new system and asked his players for different things than Musselman did and from what I gather the players were happy for the change. That said we never really figgured out what Theus' system was last year and in his sophmore year it seems we're still wondering what that system will be. During the summer we were gonna run a "hybrid-triangle", currently its a "high-post-elbow-turnover", and we all know that when it gets him points reggie love the "on-the-block-single-pass-take-the-shot-run-back-on-defense" (or as I like to think of it Rember-Ron), although I'm not sure that's how he would initially diagram it. On top of that he wants his players to run both zone and man on man defense, which isn't a real big deal in and of itself, but if we add up all these things we've got five systems tallied, and I'm sure other individual plays Theus likes to call out as well. What we need to note is that if nothing else his system is complicated and it relies a lot on someone calling out the system to use or in other words it relies a lot, drum-roll please, on HIM.
It is because of his weight in these various incarnations of offense defense that I have to hold Reggie accountable. And this was brought to my attention mainly last night in the 4th quarter of the Dallas blowout where Reggie was calling plays to our rookie line up in a game that didn't matter, with a line up that will rarely play together this season in a competitive game, and most importantly slowing down the offensive effectiveness of our arguably effective players by making them run half court sets. What we should take away from this is if your first team can't run the sets you want them to run, shouldn't you have what you'd consider the first team at least practicing the sets you want them to run in a blowout? This is like an extra practice at this point right?
To add to this Theus is not holding his players accountable when they fail him defensively, see BM52(yes, BM=Bowel Movement), and then leaving them in the game to essentially do nothing while effort guys, though raw, ride the pine. When a BM happens you wipe it up with a rookie until that BM can become the B-Rad we've come to know and love again. But we should not have to keep watching the BM take place over(Utah) and over(Dallas) when it's obvious where the defensive liability is. (Yes I'm mixing metaphors, just roll with it.) And this is where Coaching officially breaks down. If you can't yell at your players when they need to be yelled at and maintain their respect, see Tim Duncan-Greg Poppovich, then is the answer not to yell at them at all? Or has Reggie yelled at BM too much already this young season? Or is it too little?
This then ties into rotation, and here I'll be quick. The season is not going anywhere soon. We've got a lot of ground to make up if we're even hoping for the playoffs(and we should really be thinking draft picks by now), but that said we still need to remain entertaining for the Maloofs to sell tix (and for us to care about each other I guess). So from here on out the call should be starting Thompson with BM-hoping he is B-Rad, and subbing in Shawes asap if anything starts going badly. Then MM can run the starting sets with BROWN at the point, not BJax, when you want to play with the second unit. And to add to that I'd advise not playing a second unit. I'd try to keep a member, or TWO, of the starting line up on the floor at every moment to help ease in the rotations. Stop forcing things, pass the ball, make the drawn cuts, and take the open shots. It's almost like this team needs a three or five touch rule right now, don't dribble the ball yourself, waste the clock, and take a contested 18 footer with five seconds left.
And finally I'd make the point that part of this entire issue is that WE DO NOT HAVE A BACKUP TWO GUARD behind K-Mart. Salmons or a healthy Garcia can move over and we can go big, but for this team that appears to be a defensive liability, and presently an offensive liabilty as well.