I'm watching this Memphis game and starting to hope... no, pray, that Paul Westphal is let go by the Kings. Sooner, rather than later, please. I'm going to outline my bitchings in an unclever list of bullet points. I don't have the time to do a lot of statistical analysis here, but I desperately need to vent. If you're into that, have fun, join me, and post your thoughts below. If you aren't, then by all means, just check out now. These are qualitative, not quantitative, so I'm curious if you guys agree or disagree with my ocular evaluation.
As I'm watching:
-What the hell is this offense? Every time down court, the ball is brought up left or right, then fed to a big man above the key (where they are largely useless), then swung to the other side of the court. Every effing time! What exactly does this accomplish? Are we freaking the defense out by swinging the ball before initiating each play, or are we just wasting 5 seconds of every shot clock? Is something useful materializing with cutters while the big guy holds the ball up top? Did we just sign Webber and Vlade in their primes and I didn't get the memo? That high-post passer worked great in 2002, but that offense actually had a step 2 and step 3 after getting the ball there. This offense doesn't seem to have anything but a high pick-and-roll and a contested shot at the basket. To his credit, he seems to have gotten guys to cut back on jab-step-jumper-with-a-guy-in-your-face. But the shots at the rim aren't falling because there is no spacing or ball movement.
-I think J.J. Hickson is decent, but have you guys been comparing him to Jason Thompson so far this year? It's not even close, IMO. Jason has elevated his game. He's making good decisions around the basket and rebounding reasonably well, and most importantly, seems to keep his cool and keep hitting his shots when the team is falling into a chasm (which is often). JJ takes too many long shots, and isn't very good at hitting them, and I prefer Jason's defense.
-Similar issue at the SF position. How on earth is Travis Outlaw a better option off the bench than Francisco??? It seems like this team has just given up on Francisco, even though he's like, the most popular guy on the team (specifically for DMC and Tyreke, our troubled stars), is a better defender than Outlaw (again, IMO), and is a pretty good shooter. We've been frustrated with his decision making over the years, but has anybody been pleased with Outlaw's decision making, or for that matter, his shooting? Hasn't he shot like 4 for 374 on the year (all numbers approximated). Oh yeah, and Outlaw had like, 30 minutes of practice time with the team before the season opener. This makes sense because?...
-This offense does not utilize its shooters well. It seems like we do not have a play for a good shooter to curl around a screen or two for a catch and shoot at the elbow, or from three. Any time Jimmer is in the game he's either at the 3-point line hoping for a pass out of a double-team, or initiating the offense for himself. Remember how we used Peja? For YEARS? And then we did it in small doses with Kevin Martin and Francisco? This team seems to look for cutters (usually fails), then does a pick and roll. And that's IT. I like pick and rolls, really, I do. But there is no variety to this offense. Jimmer, Francisco, Outlaw, Salmons, these guys should be flying back and forth on the baseline, trying to pop out for jumpers. Either there is no provision in Westphal's shitty offense for this novel idea, or the players feel no confidence in our "point guards" to pass them the ball for their efforts.
-And DeMarcus. Dear lord. He's in better shape, he's got a much better (on-court) demeanor, and yet he's played awful. Many would argue that that is just on DeMarcus. I disagree. I rarely see him put into a position where he can succeed. Watching the offense function, I do not believe that it really encourages getting DeMarcus down deep on the block where he can draw double-teams. He's either on the high-post (with no cutters), or about 9 feet from the basket where's he's got to back somebody down a heck of a long ways to get himself a decent look at the basket. JJ Hickson is NOT better than DMC. Offense aside, DMC has drawn like, two charges per game and has been blocking guys at the rim. JJ's offense is perfect off the bench, too. For him to pretend that his benching of DMC tonight was about basketball decisions is ridiculous. It's punishment. JJ played OK, but let's not get carried away. Pulling DMC from the starting lineup is a mistake.
-Isaiah needs to play more. And I'm not just saying that because of what he was doing at the end of the Memphis game. He should have been playing more all along. And it should come at the expense of Jimmer. I know that Jimmer needs minutes to develop. But he's getting a TON of minutes. He looks shaky on offense and his defense is awful (tries hard, but still awful). Isaiah is battle-tested and obviously ready for the limelight. He looks confident and aggressive at all times. His shooting has been solid and his defense is stellar (despite his size). Jimmer could be at 15 minutes a night instead of 25 and I'd be plenty happy with his chances to develop. Jimmer looked great in garbage time tonight as well, bu overall he's been getting big minutes in tough situations that he doesn't necessarily need at this point.
I understand that players stop listening to their coach sometimes. Maybe Westphal is saying all the right things at practice and the guys just aren't buying in. Or maybe it's as I've suggested, the guy just can't coach (at least not at this level). But regardless of whether it's A or B, isn't it time to try something new? Gotta start somewhere. Even if the solution is jettisoning Tyreke and DMC, can't we implement a better offense, light a fire under them, and try to raise their all-time-low trade value? Am I excited about Keith Smart? Ugh, no. But at this point I'd rather Grant Napear coach the team than Westphal, and that guy eats KITTENS!
Okay, rant over. Go ahead and rip it apart. It's what you animals do best.