FanPost

The Front Line Dynamic


Everyone across the league has taken note of the tremendous stats that Kevin Love has put up and the big time turnaround in Darko Milicic's game.  Love is free-flowing offensively, showing some nice post moves and nailing open jumpers.  And of course he's a wrecking ball on the boards.  Darko's confidence is growing by the day, displaying a nice array of drop steps and jump hook finishes.  He has even attempted some pinch post face ups offensively, a sign of (over)confidence.  Wolves fans are giddy about these recent developments.  But maybe they should look at things from an outsider's point of view.  There are two main points to consider.  One, what do playoff contending teams' front lines look like?  And two, do those playoff contending teams run their offense through the post?  Let's consider point number one.  What do contending teams front lines look like.  If you look at 4's and 5's of some of the better teams that are out there right now and have done well in the playoffs in the recent past, what you'll likely see is a combination of length, athleticism, skill, and power.  Having all four of those assets seems to be almost paramount for a successfull playoff run.  If your 4 and 5 man cannot combine to give you those 4 assets, or are severly deficient in 1 or 2, you have a problem.  Kevin Love offers tremendous skill and power.  Large deficiencies in athleticism and length, and this cannot be debated.  Darko Milicic offers length, above average (although inconsistent) skill, and adequate power.  Compare this tandem against other successful teams (Lakers, Celtics, Magic, and others) and you'll get the point.  So to conclude point one, I am saying that to be a successful playoff team, we will have to thrive DESPITE our front line, even though they are performing very well at this point in time.  Point number two.  How do playoff contending teams use their bigs in the flow of their offense?  On this point I will talk specifically about Darko Milicic.  Noone can deny his improved play on the offensive end (love what he is doing on the defensive end).  But take a look at HOW is getting his points - in isolation situations.  He is a much better passer than Al Jefferson but at times I feel I'm watching him all over again this year when Darko gets the ball.  The ball gets entered.  Darko holds it, surveys, crab dribbles, and puts up the shot.  Lately that shot has been falling.  I believe that is beside the point.  It seems the wolves are very heavily dependent on that type of style.  Throw it down low, let the big guy do his thing.  I believe it leads to stagnation and it looks very similar to last year.  Again, think of the teams I mentioned above.  Do they use their bigs in this fashion?  I don't believe nearly as much as the Wolves do.  So to conclude on point number two, Darko is looking good offensively, but I believe he is opening up a slight black whole that I hope the whole team doesn't get sucked into.  I hope I can look back at this post 2 or 3 years down the line when the wolves are in the western conference finals and say what an idiot I was.  Heck, some of you may say that right now and I wouldn't blame you.  But I am saying that I don't think we'll ever get out of the first round with this front line, assuming we get there period.  Not unless we end up getting an all-star guard or wing or a big with 3 of the 4 assets mentioned above.  And those types of players don't exactly grow on the draft tree, but they MIGHT be able to be acquired in some sort of trade.  Hmmmm.....  Just sayin.....

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