Offense vs Defense

The age old conundrum.  Defense vs offense.  Celtics Vs Suns.  Dallas Vs San Antonio.  What is the answer?

Now it seems like a simple question.  But one that has produced much debate.  Great regular season records but early playoff exits.  Slow, boring, and grinding games that result in victories.  Track meets disguised as basketball with combined point totals nearing Charles Barkley's weight.  Defense (Popovich, Thibideau, Rivers) Offense (D'antoni, Nellie).  What is the answer?  Balance (Sloan, Jackson, Riley).

Balance is what the Sacramento Kings appear to be lacking at this point.  

Current Starting LIneup - Defense.  Head, Evans, Greene, Landry, Dalembert

Starting Lineup - Offense. Udrih, Evans, Casspi, Landry, Cousins

Starting Lineup -  Win. Udrih, Evans, Casspi, Landry, Cousins. (Raptors 4th quarter comeback group)

Starting LIneup - Win. Udrih, Head, Greene, Landry, Cousins. (Season opener victory)

Starting LIneup- Win. Head, Evans, Casspi, Landry, Dalembert. (The Free Donte Game)

Starting Lineup - Win. Udrih, Evans, Casspi, Landry, Cousins. (Cleveland Win)

A lot of hay is being made about who should start and the "success" of our defense first squad.  And while opponents aren't scoring as much, neither are we.

If we examine the wins and their corresponding starting lineups a few patterns emerge.  First, only one player started in all of our wins, Top Hat himself Carl Landry.  Four other players started in 3 of the 4 wins. Udrih, Evans, Casspi, and Big Cuz.  The defense first theory sounds good.  But the data says otherwise.  Our most successful lineup to date is the Offensive line. 

Although not to say it is fool proof either.  Being as that starting lineup lost a bunch of games too. Faults in the offensive line are pretty easy to find.  Udrih plays what I call Ole defense.  Challenge him and he will just let you by with a flourish of his cape. Ole.  Casspi and Evans, when not focused, fall into token defensive stance and don't provide much disincentive on the perimeter.  Landry is by no means a marvelous defender but is tough and will at least put himself against a player.  Cousins is no Dalembert when it comes to team D or blocks, but he has proven he can at least contain his man into not having a career night.

The Defense lineup has its faults as well, mainly, offense.  Head is inconsistent, unsure, unpredictable, and unreliable as far as an offensive threat.  When it comes to young Donte, he has effort and energy, and what appears to be the attention span of a gypsy moth and the decision making ability of a turnip at times.  Dalembert is just a tremendous hole on offense.  Nobody is happy when he takes a shot outside of 2 ft from the rim.  His post game is rudimentary at best.  So in this configuration you have two guys who you don't have to guard, Head and Dalembert.  Therefore leaving their men to sag into the lane, clogging it against 'Reke and Landry.

My solution is a mix and match lineup if you were.  If you are going to stick Dalembert in at center then you go with the offensive threats around him.  Evans, Udrih, Casspi, and Landry are your other starters.  Udrih and Casspi are both threats from 3pt land.  Landry is dangerous to 18 ft.  Tyreke can hit the occasional jumper to keep his defender from sagging too far off.  Your defensive hole in Udrih is negated by our fabulous Haitian goalie.  Or the other side of that coin is have your starting 5 be Head, Evans, Greene, Landry (or JT), and Cousins.  Head, Evans, and Greene can almost all cover 2 or more positions and stay in front of their man.  If the guards are kept from penetrating regularly than we don't need a goalie to protect the rim from the guards.  Landry and Cousins set up shop on opposite blocks and work from their with Head, Evans, and Greene, cutting, slashing, screening, and setting up for the 3 when the double comes to our bruising scoring bigs.  

My other possible solution is a tad strange.  A lot has been made about consistency of rotations. About how are team is full of good but absent of great.  About how all these changes to the starting lineup are killing chemistry.  About how hard of a time we as well as the Kings coaching staff are having trouble getting down to an 8 or 9 man rotation.  Fine.  Play to our strength in numbers.  Treat it almost like football.  Start with the original defense lineup.  Play 8-10 minutes.  Switch out the entire team for our second unit, which in this scenario would consist of  Udrih, Garcia, Casspi, JT, and Cousins.  Run that unit until about 8 minutes left in the half, then switch back.  Now if either of those units is having a large amount of success then just let that whole unit continue.  Practice becomes these two separate teams learning each other, how they play, how they rotate, where they want the ball passed to them, etc.  Chemistry builds.

Either that or we lock Udrih, Evans, Landry, and Cousins in a room and make them watch old Utah Jazz footage of Stockton and Malone running the pick and roll, for 3 weeks straight and see if they can finally get that right.

But thats just my opinion.  I could be wrong.

(This is a FanPost from a member of the Sactown Royalty community. The views expressed come from the member, and not Sactown Royalty staff.)

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