Paul Westphal, reeling from an awful season, woke up to something that's going to ruin his day. Take it away, Bee columnist Ailene Voisin:
Then, as he often does during conversations, [Carl] Landry revisits his two-plus seasons with the Rockets and lavishly praises Rick Adelman's offensive system.
"We ran and everybody shared the ball," he said, "and when we didn't have anything on the break, we'd run pick and rolls. We won 22 straight games (in 2007-08) without Yao (Ming) and mostly without Tracy McGrady. We could do that here, but that's not what we do, and you have to play the system the coach (Paul Westphal) wants."
That's a cannonball, man. Right across the bow.
On the surface, running, sharing and picking-and-rolling is pretty much Paul Westphal's system. On paper. But Westphal has never done anything to enforce it. While that essentially comes down to Tyreke Evans, who works primarily out of isolation, it's on Westphal to enforce the plan and reinforce his goals. Obviously, that hasn't happened. Instead of picks-and-rolls, we get isolation stutter-steps to fading jumpers. We get post clear-outs. Isolation drives to the bucket and missed lay-ups. 'Round-the-horn threes. Pull-up threes. Twenty-footers. Little consistent sharing.
It's Tyreke's fault, but it's also Westphal's fault. It's Tyreke's fault, but it's also Geoff Petrie's fault. I hope that's what Landry means when talks about the system, because Lord knows Evans has enough to work on without teammates blasting him in the paper. It reads as if Landry is taking aim at Westphal and the failed offensive system that doesn't force Evans to run the right plays. That could be due to presentation by the writer, or it could be how Landry meant it.
There's no mistaking how Landry meant this:
"The basketball IQ on this team is not very good," Landry said, "and that (knowledge) takes time. If you look at J.T. (Thompson), he's had three or four coaches in his four years, coaches that probably weren't that good. Everybody in this league can play. But it's about spacing, having the right guys on the floor, running the right play. Move the ball. Set back screens, down screens, and play together. Our shooting percentage is so low because everything is one-on-one."
Direct criticism. And not just at Eric Musselman and Reggie Theus (be still, my beating heart), but at Westphal. Direct criticism of Westphal.
It'll be interesting to see how this shakes out. I'm not confident it will result in the team magically becoming better on offense, because I'm not confident that at this point Westphal can really affect change in Tyreke's game.