Saturday, November 20, 2010

As The Basketball World Turns

Stories for the NBA season are now starting to take shape.

Teams have had a good number of games to play together and get used to each other, and you can already see separation taking place between the best teams and the worst teams.

You can also see predictions starting to go up in smoke!

So much for those Clipper predictions. People are jumping off of that bandwagon faster than two Baron Davis three-point attempts.

And that's fast!

The most surprising story to me has been Miami. Who would have ever thought that a team with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on it would not only struggle to win games but also be hard to watch?

It just goes to show you.


After Miami pulverized Orlando a few weeks ago, Stan Van Gundy had some interesting things to say about his team, "We don't have -- and this isn't to put down anybody in our locker room -- but we don't have the great one-on-one players.

"I mean, we don't have [Dwyane] Wade and [LeBron] James and Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant.

"And so for us to play well offensively, we have to get great ball movement. We really have to execute and move the ball.

"And yeah, we struggled to do that against a very good team in Boston and we struggled to do that again tonight."

Great motivator, that Stan Van Gundy.

How would he like it if one of his players said ...

Not to put down anybody in our locker room, but we don't have a great offensive coach like Phil Jackson or Doc Rivers or Nate McMillan.

So in order to play well offensively we have to use our skills and athleticism to make up for the poor play-calling and unimaginative sets. And we didn't do that again tonight ... ?

And how is this going over with Otis Smith, the general manager who gave Van Gundy this team supposedly without any great one-on-one players?

It would work much better for Van Gundy to say that they have very good one-on-one players, but it makes the game much easier and the team better and more efficient when they pass the basketball.


This was touched on in my "Eastern Conference Preview," but that was before any games were played, and I didn't express myself clearly.

Detroit really needs a pass-first point guard to back up Rodney Stuckey.

In his first six games of the season, backup point guard Will Bynum shot the ball 39 times compared to only 12 assists, a 3.25:1 ratio.

The box score against the Clippers is a perfect example of the problem, even though Detroit was able to win the game because they were playing the undermanned Clippers.

The players coming off the pine with Bynum shot .654, compared to his .250; yet he still shot the ball four times for every assist he made.

With the explosive arsenal Detroit has coming off the bench, there is no way Will Bynum should be shooting the ball that much.

Detroit could average 110 points per game with a pass-first point guard who knows how to play the game in his spot.

The No. 4 spot in the East is up for grabs, and Detroit could easily snatch it by upgrading the backup point guard position on their roster.

It is true that Joe Dumars loves Will Bynum (:46), but Bynum's excessive shooting is creating a "chilling effect" on Detroit's offense.

Dumars has to do what is best for the team and make a move here.

Greg Monroe must also get more playing time.

On a team where 36-year-old Ben Wallace is the only semblance of a big man other than Monroe, Monroe should be playing 30+ minutes every night.

Monroe's lack of playing time is an embarrassingly poor coaching decision by John Kuester.

Note: Will Bynum did have his distribution game going in the second half of a blowout loss to the Lakers. And against Golden State he shot only three times with two assists. He deserves credit for sharing the basketball and being very unselfish during that time.


I saw Oklahoma City play San Antonio in the return of Nick Collison and Jeff Green. Even though they lost, it was the first game I saw this season where they looked like the team from last year.

Watching the game, you could see how the team played with more energy because it had more fresh bodies available.

It showed that missing even a seemingly minor rotation player can disrupt a team and throw everything off.

And missing two players can be a disaster.

CBS Sports does the best job of tracking and updating these injuries.

These are the teams who have been most devastated by critical injuries to key rotation players with the number of games each player has missed in parentheses.

Teams have played about 12 games so far this season.

Denver -- Chris Andersen (all); Kenyon Martin (all); Nene (3).

Houston -- Aaron Brooks (7); Kyle Lowry (4); Yao Ming (7).

Los Angeles -- Baron Davis (9); Randy Foye (10); Chris Kaman (5).

Miami -- Mario Chalmers (4), limited in others; Mike Miller (all).

Milwaukee -- Carlos Delfino (5); Chris Douglas-Roberts (all); Michael Redd (all).

Minnesota -- Wayne Ellington (5); Jonny Flynn (all); Nikola Pekovic (4); Luke Ridnour (5); Martell Webster (all).

Oklahoma City -- Nick Collison (8); Jeff Green (6).

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