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A Brief Moment In Time (Everything You Need To Know In A Very Small Sample)

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The place: Air Canada Center

The time: 4th quarter of the Wolves/Raptors thrill-a-thon, 41:51 game time. 

The deed:

At 37:49, with a lineup of Sebastian Telfair, Corey Brewer, Martell Webster, Anthony Tolliver, and Kevin Love, the Wolves start a 10-2 run that brings them within 2 points (90-92) of the hated Raptors.  This is nearly the best available lineup (Wes Johnson replacing Webster at the 3 would have made it the best available option) the Wolves have to offer on a night without Luke Ridnour and, at that point in the game, Michael Beasley.  This combination (and a few others like it) have been obvious to anyone with a computer and 5 minutes of free time for the past month or so.  

At 41:51 coach Kurt Rambis substitutes Jonny Flynn for Sebastian Telfair and Darko Milicic for Antony Tolliver. The Raptors sub DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems in for Julian Wright and Trey Johnson.  The Raptors immediately embark on a 6-0 run, later adding a 8-1 run to the mix.  

The moral of the story

I can't figure out who this substitution says more about: the guy who made the substitutions or the guy who tried to build a team around Darko Milicic and Jonny Flynn.  I think there's a moral here but I can't quite figure out what it is.  

Some guesses:

  • Writing incriminating letters to your fan base explaining the importance of bright smiles and the need to hand a guy with a proven track record a role in the offense that is above and beyond his ability to deliver upon is probably not an effective leadership strategy. 
  • Osmosis is not a practical way to learn how to coach.  Phil Jackson actually paid his dues in the CBA and much like you can't draft players simply on the basis of how they physically look, you cannot choose a coach according to the optics of his physical proximity to greatness. 
  • There isn't a lot of talent on this team and eventually the 3 or 4 somewhat competent players not named Kevin Love will get tired.  
  • Darko Milicic and Jonny Flynn are bad at professional basketball, with Flynn being especially (and comically) so.  
  •  Regression to the mean happens and is somewhat predictable for anyone with a computer and 5 minutes of free time. 
  • It is perfectly OK to hand out reasonable contracts to role-playing big men who play 20-30 mpg.  It is not OK to hand out relatively massive usage rates to role-playing big men who play 20-30 mpg while expecting them to be something of an offensive lynch pin.  The difference between these two opinions is an important one and readily discernible for anyone with a computer and 5 minutes of free time. 
  • Donnie Walsh does not like to share tricks of the trade. 
  • Phil Jackson does not like to share tricks of the trade. 
  • Freely-available draft raters are available to anyone with a computer and 5 minutes of free time. 
  • Hastily prepared community draft boards are available to anyone with a computer and 5 minutes of free time. 
  • Learning that things like smiles, length, and athleticism aren't the be-all/end-all of player selection takes a computer and 5 minutes of free time. 
  • Knowing that making 3 out of 10 shots from beyond the arc is worth the same amount as making 4.5 out of 10 shots from inside of it doesn't even require a computer or 5 minutes of free time. 
I think I've figured it out:  David Kahn and Kurt Rambis are working so hard that they have neither 5 minutes of free time nor a computer.

That is the moral of the story.