FanPost

What can be learned from the playoffs?

I don't think the Wolves should necessarily copy what the good teams are doing because there are a lot of ways to win and because having the best players and a balanced roster are the most important things. But it seems like there are some things that could be learned from how the best teams structure their teams and their style of play

  1. Offensively, there need to be at least two guys who are skilled scorers against any opponent. Right now, each team has roughly two, but the #2 on each team varies depending on the game and matchup. Kobe is obviously the Lakers' guy here, but Hedo is also a very difficult guy to cover when he's on. Gasol/Odom and Lewis/Howard also have their share of good/great games offensively. For the Wolves, they might have this player, which is why it's difficult for me to justify trading Al Jefferson unless they have another, better option in this area. Besides Yao, he's the most difficult guy to cover in the low post in the NBA (admittedly Tim Duncan in his prime was tougher).
  2. One of the other main scorers needs to be a guy who can impact the game in other ways. Howard and Odom/Gasol fill these roles for their teams. Not having another guy like this hurt Cleveland in the Orlando series. I don't know who fits this role for the Wolves; the closest guy is Love, but he'll have to become a more productive offensive player in creating shots for teammates and consistently making outside shots while becoming a better one-on-one defender.
  3. 1-2 of the main guys has to be an above-average to great athlete by NBA standards. Kobe and Howard fill these roles, while Gasol, Lewis, and Odom aren't slouches, either. Denver was hurt by this, but Anthony's physical strength and Nene's strength and agility for a big guy helped fill in the gaps, as did the team's very-athletic supporting cast. For the Wolves, this is their biggest deficit, but their guys aren't without athletic ability. If it doesn't come from their best players (though Jefferson is really strong for a PF or C), it would have to come from role players.
  4. Their "average athletes" have to be good team defenders who can contribute offensively. Maybe not all of them can hit a jump shot or 3, but they should at least be able to cut to the hoop at the appropriate time to get offensive rebounds and make layups/dunks while not turning the ball over. The Wolves have guys who could become those types of players with a better system and better teammates.
  5. If all other things are equal, when picking players, pick the strongest/longest/quickest players. One reason the Lakers have been successful over the years is because they go for the role players who give them a physical advantage. It doesn't always work (Caron Butler for Kwame Brown), but it's partially why they're giving Orlando more of a problem than Cleveland did and partially why Orlando's in the finals to begin with.
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