Summer Quandaries #18
Aug 18—43 Days to camp
Greens and Whites
With sixteen under contract and Perkins unavailable, the three-deep camp rotation seems set, at least on paper. Starters Rondo, Allen, Pierce, Garnett, and J. O’Neal; second unit of Robinson, Wafer, Daniels, Davis, and S. O’Neal; and a third unit consisting of Lafayette, Bradley, Gaffney, Harangody, and Erden. Perkins in the training room bruising barbells and toiling in the lonesome obscurity of physical therapy. All the spaces are filled and there is nothing wild like a power forward playing the point. There are, however, a number of pertinent questions that this arrangement does not address.
For instance, can Harangody play effectively at the three? Certainly you could swap his role with Gaffney who is both taller and has a longer wingspan. The problem is that Harangody is 35 lbs. heavier, considerably more muscled, and doesn’t appear to have the agility and mobility that makes Tony so effective containing swingmen. On the other hand there might be some match-ups with a finesse four and a power three that would favor such a switch—perhaps Barnes and Odem for L.A. or perhaps Troy Murphy and Damion James for N.J. Point is, however, that typically you play the brute at PF and the Spiderman at SF.
Perhaps more troubling is the fact that playing Oliver at the point pushes Avery to shooting guard. Now it is not that Bradley can’t play at the two, but rather that he needs experience at PG and Lafayette is totally out of position at off guard. Strange, as I wrote that it occurred to me that while I still believe it to be true, both
players are 6’2”, Oliver is heavier, and the rap on him as a point is that he is more of a shoot first rather than pass first PG. Maybe I have countered my own argument. Wonder who won?
How well can Shaquille mesh with the starters? Quite well, you would think but how do you work both new centers in with the Big Three when all five players need to be on a minutes-conservation schedule? In fact the more dicey question might be how each new center might play alongside Big Baby since he doesn’t stretch the floor quite as well as Kevin whose passing is superior and whose jumper has an additional couple of feet of range.
If the Celtics are going to take the veteran-conservation course that has been in evidence in San Antonio the last couple of years, then we should expect to see members of our Ancient Cagers Club taking the odd game off. For instance, one or the other of back-to-backs, or one of the games in a 4-in-5 stretch. If this indeed is the strategy, then we will see much more variation in lineups and rotations than is typical for Doc. It may be that Semih’s progress will be a key constraint as to whether this is feasible. For at least half the season we will have only six big men available, three of those, antiquarians. I think of these players as 30-minute guys so if one of the sits then there are 36 “big” minutes that have to covered by a combination of Davis, Erden, and Harangody. As options at Center Davis is under-heighted while the 6’6” Luke is downright Lilliputian. No, if either of the O’Neals is sitting out a game either Garnett is sliding over to Center or we better be getting some serviceable minutes from the Turkish Tower. And just when is it that Semih melds his game with the second team? If Erden spends the season in the D-league, it is going to be very difficult to keep our aging big men rested.
Hmmm, notice a trend here? The questions keep piling up while the answers are unfathomable, unknowable, or not yet available.
Summer Quandaries #18