This started as a comment on Nestor's post in which he shows some video of Drago's D. But, it got long and rather than mess up his post, I thought I'd throw this up, separately.
It is one thing to complain about CBH's decision to allow ND to play a lot of minutes. Fair game. But, what would you do instead?
In the least combative way possible, I have been asking the same question in response to the complaints about how much playing time ND is getting: Who would you put on the floor instead of him? I've also asked the question in a slightly different way: Given that we will start MR, ML and RN, who gets the last two slots? No one is questioning the assertion that ND does not play great D. But, in my eyes, he is not alone in playing weak D. Again, if D were the criteria to start, ML is probably the only sure thing with TH probably being our second best. MR comes in third in my mind. And, therein lies part of the dilemma. It might be easy to argue that TH should start ahead of ND.
But, many of the same people who make that argument also argue that TH should be starting instead of JA, instead. So, if we start MR, TH, and RN who fills in the blanks? Conceding that ND's D is not great, but not conceding that every D lapse on the court is his, here are some other considerations: ND is our best FT shooter at .767 with MR second with .750. Rebounds Avg: RN 5.8, TH 5.6, ND 5.2, JK 3.3 Shooting: RN .620, MR .478, JA .474, ND .354, TH .356 (I put ND ahead of TH because on 3's, ND .294, TH .167). I am not saying ND's numbers are stellar. Other than his ability to make FT's -- nothing stands out.
The problem is that nothing stands out, in most categories, for most of the other players, either.
One of the problems is that it is difficult to quantify a cost/ benefit analysis of what a player does well v. what he doesn't.
So there is no answer to the the debate over whether we would have been better off against Cal with or without Drago.
However, if we are talking about facets of the game that could lose games, RN's FT shooting should be high on the list. It will be difficult for us to win close games down the stretch if other teams adopt a hack-RN strategy.
Howland's dilemma? Who do you replace RN with in those close games? TH is a .643 FT shooter. But, we've already got him playing guard for JA and F for ND.
Obviously, there are no easy answers. CBH is a very astute coach. I reject the idea that "stubbornness" lies behind the decisions he is making. I just think he has very limited options.
Especially, if he wants to win games, this year.
If he wants to throw away this season and play for the future, so be it. I'd play a lot of freshmen and maybe give some time to the soph's, using MR to temper things.
I do have a couple thoughts that may seem odd, but hey, there are no clear choices here. I'd use Hammid to replace JA and TH to replace ND, some.
And, how about putting Bobo at center, in a zone, and RN replacing ND at forward? Doesn't help with FT shooting, and actually makes it worse.
Ok so much for my playing coach.
Now, back to my basic question to all, and especially those who don't want to see ND on the floor as a starter or for long minutes.
Who would you start, today?