One of the developing media themes surrounding this club in the young season is that the Triangle Offense is mismatched to the squad's personnel. Without getting too deep into the matter let me just say this: One of my longtime complaints about the TO is that it achieved fame simply by way of its use on teams that were able to trot out either MJ and Pippen or Prime Shaq and Kobe. These teams could have run the Princeton Motion or Dribble Weave offenses and had success. Ultimately, the big secret about the TO is that it's more about on-court ego management than anything else. When you have guys on the wing like MJ, Pippen, and Kobe, it helps to have a system that puts the ball in their hands quite a bit and with a lot of decision making abilities and positional interchangability along the perimeter. When MJ wants to bring the ball up the court and initiate the offense, you damn better well come up with a catchy name for the system that allows him to do so.
On the flip side of this equation is the Wolves. They are so untalented that it really doesn't matter what they choose to run, it will look like poo. I know that the Laker folks like to talk about the TO like it's some sort of magical voodoo but it's really just a triple post motion based offense that you could use in a high school program. The reason why the Wolves look like they do on offense is because they suck. With Al Jefferson at somewhere in the neighborhood of 75% and Kevin Love on the bench, this team has zero stand-alone starting-quality rotation players. Corey Brewer and Ryan Gomes are nice pieces and both could start with the right sort of talent around them but they are not able to carry an offense for more than a lucky quarter or two at a time.
This team was dismantled with a hacksaw over the summer and it's going to take some time to get a decent level of talent on the roster so that the games are consistently competitive. Yes, there are some issues with player development and chemistry but the bottom line here is talent. When you start Ryan Hollins, Corey Brewer, Ryan Gomes, Jonny Flynn, and Nathan Jawai, your problems are not Triangle-based. When your first three guys off the bench are Oleksiy Pecherov, Sasha Pavlovic, and Brian Cardinal, losing is not just a matter of a lack of effort.
I have been a big fan of a large chunk of David Kahn's moves during his short tenure. What I am not a fan of is his quick trigger in regards to playing the lack-of-effort card. Sorry Dave, you put together a thin team with very little talent that has been knee-capped by an injury to its best all-around player and a continuing rehab with its leading scorer. Effort is nice but this team is overmatched by a mile and they could give the cliched 110% until the cows come home and there would still be nights where they get taken out by 25-30.
Last year I wrote that this season was going to be rock bottom. It had to be. Either they would have kept Mike Miller and Randy Foye and paid them too much in order to be a perennial 7th seed in the WC or they would have traded them and cashed out. They cashed out (a little more than I expected) and now they are left with a roster with 2 bonafide NBA starters...both of whom are out of action right now.
Getting around to last night's game, it was unavailable on TV because FSN was broadcasting Friday Night Fights from Grand Casino. That's right Wolves fans, you are now a notch below boxing. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it) for me, League Pass came through with the Mavs' broadcast team's coverage of the tilt. Here is what you missed:
- The Mavs have the best alternate uniforms in the league. They didn't wear them last night but they did show a few shots of a jersey they are giving away in a contest.
- The Mavs' sideline reporter went into the audience and asked the following question of a fan: "Which city is worse: Minnesota or Milwaukee?" Thankfully the fan looked at him like the idiot he was and replied "Minnesota isn't a city." Perhaps George W. Bush's reference to the country of Africa wasn't as isolated of a Texas event as we first thought.
- One more Mavs TV nugget: Dirk and Jason Terry had one of the goofiest promo commercials I have ever seen. Google around for "Dirk" and "road trip" and maybe you will find it.
- The Wolves have a solid chance at setting some club records for futility this season. They have already tied the record for worst loss and most points given up; they have twice come close to setting the record for the fanchise low in field goal percentage (.296). Last night they flirted with this number until midway through the 4th quarter. They also had an eFG of .343. That's awful. With a few more 3 attempts (and misses) they could have probably staked claim to the worst shooting night in franchise history. The lowly game against the Mavs on 2.2.07 (the .296 night) saw an eFG of .327. I remain confident that the Wolves can have a game with a sub-.300 eFG. Since 86/87 there have been 121 games with a fg% below .300. There have been only 95 with a FG% and 3P% below .300. Go Wolves go!!!
The game flow for last night's tilt can be found here. Four Factors are here:
Mavs perspective: Mavs Moneyball
College ball is now in full swing and we will soon roll out our first college draft boards. One of these years I hope to hold off on talking about the draft until...oh, say, March or April. A man can dream, can't he?
That about does it for last night's game. Next up: Memphis, where we could see another Golden State style beat down with Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo leading the way out on the wing.