The Showdown: 2007-08 compared to 2010-11. I think the general consensus is that we have more talent now, yes? At least the optimism 2 weeks ago would make me think so. Even if it's not by a huge margin, I think it's true. Now on one hand, the league also probably has more talent, but I don't know how to control for that, so just keep it in mind while reading.
The rosters (by minutes per game):
In parentheses: Games played, usage rate
Al Jefferson (82, 27.5%) Wes Johnson (6, 20.5%)
Randy Foye (39, 20.4%) Mike Beasley (5, 26.3%)
Bassy (60 (started 51), 16.6%) Kevin Love (6, 29.2%)
Ryan Gomes (82, 19.5%) Luke Ridnour (6, 16.8%)
Marko Jaric (75, 15%) Wayne Ellington (6, 18.6%)
Rashad McCants (75, 26.4%) Corey Brewer (6, 19.6%)
Kirk Snyder (27, 16.1%) Anthony Tolliver (6, 12.9%)
Corey Brewer (79, 15.6%) Bassy (6, 19.5%)
Craig Smith (77, 20.6%) Darko Milicic (6, 16.6%)
Antoine Walker (46, 22.8%) Nikola Pekovic (6, 20.4%)
So I ask you, which roster is better?
I think it's pretty heavily in favor of Rambis right now.
- Bassy was our starting PG, and as much as I like Bassy, he is not a good starting PG
- Brewer is getting one minute per game fewer now than he was then. I think it's pretty safe to say Brewer should have improved since then? Not that he is doing well in either year. But this year his usage has been 4% higher
- Al Jefferson is, for argument's sake, a wash with Love
- Wes Johnson and Mike Beasley are clearly better than anyone on Wittman's roster
- Luke Ridnour is probably better than anyone on the roster, but an argument could probably be made
- Witt's roster did not even have a true C whereas Rambis has 3
- Witt had to work with ballhogs such as Jefferson, McCants, and Walker. Craig could be considered among that group as scoring was his best characteristic, otherwise he was a liability on the floor... Ok so he probably still was even if he was scoring
- Foye and McCants both shot well from range, but Foye was only there for half the season and McCants was a
cancer patientteam cancer. This year we have plenty of guys who can shoot, but the guys who are taking the most 3s per game are 3 of the 4 lowest in 3P% (Love, Wes, and Wayne)
- We have better defenders this year, but not by much... though in a more important role (Jefferson compared to Darko)
Now consider this, Wittman had the top five guys all getting 29mpg or higher. For Rambis, the tops in mpg (Wes) is only getting 26.7 after six games. Wittman at least had our scorers with reasonable usage (I mean, what are you really going to do with Walker and McCants?). Rambis has Love with a 29.2% usage rate, which would be fine if he wasn't trying to post up or take step back jumpers every time! Beasley has a 26.3% usage rate, which would, again, be fine if he was taking mid range jumpers the whole game. Killer Beas, ya know?
As much as I don't like Flynn, we really need him right now. He pounds the ball into the floor and Jonny Stops all over the place, but he is a necessary evil on a team without a star. Beasley could take care of this, but he settles for jumpers too much. We need someone to be a high usage, moderate efficiency player just to make it so our other guys can go back to their roles. Love and Beas both have to slow down and stop trying to force offense. As good as they both are, they are playing beyond themselves. Once again, Beasley can get there, but he needs to put the ball on the floor and take it at the hoop a la Corey Maggette (as much as I dislike the style, it's Beasley's ticket to the allstar game).
So the only conclusion that I can come to out of this? Well, Kurt has a much much much better roster and he is doing worse so far. We have a much faster pace (101 to 91.9), and we're barely scoring any more per game. Our opponents on the other hand? 11ppg higher than Wittman's full year.
Coach Rambis, the blame lies with you. Not because we are not a 50 win team, but because we are not even a 20 win team right now. Make your strategy fit your personnel. Don't make your personnel fit your offense that has only been successful on this level with Kobe and Jordan. And if we're going to get blown out every game, slow the pace down. Otherwise the law of averages says we will lose more often and by more (10% more possessions, 10% more point differential) because we have more possessions to fall back to our mean. And the defense? The defense is horrendous. Stop doubling down and leaving shooters wide open. Or at least make sure your players know how to rotate first. It's a lot easier for a team to rotate back when the pass is going across the court than it is for one guy to run from the hoop to the arc to stop a shooter from shooting.
Kurt Rambis, fix it!
How you ask?