Shortly after the Christmas break (we hope), the Wolves should be welcoming back two important members of the team. Chase Budinger and Ronny Turiaf have both been sorely missed. It will be very interesting to see how the team adjusts and how Adelman's rotations change with the integration of these important players. I want to throw out one possible scenario and would love to see some others floated here, too.
1. Upon the return of Chase, Shabazz is sent to the D-league. With 15 healthy players, Shabazz will most likely not even be dressing most nights and won't be needed for emergency duty. I see no reason why they would not allow him this opportunity to develop his game with some floor time. The same could possibly be posited about Dieng, but it seems that he could still be useful in some situations and is not as "redundant" on the team as Shabazz will be.
2. I think it would be good to try moving Mbah a Moute into the starting line-up and Corey back to the reserves and see how this works. I argued at the beginning of the season for Corey to start over Chase, because I felt he'd be a better defender, would be great for fast-break opportunities with the rebounders in the first unit and because the second unit simply needed the shooting that Chase provides more than the first unit. Corey has done a fairly decent job in the starting line-up. However, teams have figured out his early leaks and adjusted. With Luc, we now have an even better defender who is also better at playing within his role and who will consistently make better decisions. I think this is at least worth a try.
3. Alexy and Hummel fall out of the regular rotation, with the second unit being made up of JJ, CB1, CB2, DC, and RT. JJ NEEDS another shooter on that second unit to avoid having to play hero-ball, and Chase provides that. Corey, DC and Turiaf will play sufficient D. Also, with this second unit, I think there will be some nights where Turiaf doesn't get a lot of burn, if the other team plays small. I'd bet that all of the starters minutes go down somewhat and that JJ, DC, and both CB's get pretty similar minutes to each other.
4. Dieng, Hummel, AJ and Alexy see mostly spot, clean-up and emergency duty only. Personally, I think they are a pretty decent 3rd unit. It will be interesting to see which of them is most frequently seen in a suitcoat?
5. What is really going to be interesting is wing usage. We know who will play 1st and 2nd string at the 1, 4 &5. What Adelman does at the 2 and 3 is going to be really interesting, because good arguments can be made for a number of different combinations. We have 4 quality, if not spectacular players in KMart, Brewer, Bud and Luc and their skill packages vary quite drastically. It will be fun to see how Adelman uses them.
6. I know that some will suggest that Chase start at the 3 when he returns. Maybe that will work, but a second unit of JJ, Corey, Luc, DC and Turiaf REALLY scares me. They would be formidable defensively against another team's second unit, but offensively . . . ? Corey and JJ would compete with each other on who could take the most crazy, out-of-control shots.
So, that's one take - What are your prophecies for "Upon Return?" I'm getting giddy with anticipation . . .