While we're prosecuting the demise of Howland in other threads, for a diversion, let's talk about this messy, unbalanced, but relatively talented roster as if we could actually do something about it--like Howland was gone, and it was worth fighting for.
I can have at least five bullet points about what's wrong with this roster, but let me some it up by saying that going down to the ninth man, there is one two-way player, Josh Smith, and he has his own problems. You can makke a case a mild case for Powell, perhaps, and certainly Parker in the future. And of course this problem exists even into the NBA: they are called role players. But our Bruins are an extreme case-you almost HAVE to put 4 or 5 players out there who individually play in their very narrrow boxes.
Which brings me to:
Kyle Anderson. As soon as I saw he wasn't starting Monday, I thought: this is huge, Hurricane Sandy huge. There would be no coming back from this move (and to make room for David Wear). Not to mention what his dad thinks. I think CBH's characterization of his own team that he recruited as "unathletic' is CBH code for Kyle Sucks. That might be strong, "I got a team that play no D" is closer. But unathletic? What about Shabazz, Powell and Drew, 60% of his starting lineup. CBH downgraded him from his Magic Johnson to Lamar Odom.
That said, I think Kyle is overrated. Not just for being #5, since numbers #1 to #4 might not be living up to the hype in the early going, but for all the stories during the summer about how he was the key to the season.
I do think he is our best floor manager, and makes Smith and Shabazz better with his passing, and I do have him in every starting lineup I would recommend, but it is a waste to have him be co-manager with Drew. That would be at lease two players the defense can ignore.
Kyle will never be an NBA point guard. I'm not sure he has an NBA future. He really can't stay within four feet of an NBA #!, 2 or 3. IMO, his best shot, if he is really 6'9", is to fill out, work out hard with the right trainers, both skills and athleticism, and shoot for #4-a very versatile one. It can happen, he has 3 or 4 years, really (if he and his father are not delusional).
Josh Smith. I wish I could avoid prosecuting this again. Even today, there are comments to suggest we permanently bench him. I don't want to throw the season away. Give me your alternative. T. Wear, small ball, Parker? Yep, that's really worked thus far.
Josh has emotional problems, eating disorders, low self-esteem, lack of motivation amongst them. Our brilliant coach brought him in anyway, and then he proceeded to start Stover over him. That really is the moment Howland lost me.
Unfortunately, Josh is not the type of kid who can take the negative motivation. Howland is not the right coach for him between ignoring his issues and putting him in his doghouse.
Anyway, we all know how talented Josh is, and (help, looking for the recent comment in BN), has the highest PER on the team. On a team that can't rebound a lick, and gets backed down so easily without him, I just don't know how you don't have him out there for 25 minutes (he is running better and fouling less).
Shabazz. Best player on the team. Only one with energy and the will to win (although the body language during the last timeout Monday and the benching of his friend Anderson makes me wonder if Howland lost him). Is he the best in the country? Probably not, he doesn't play even a lick of defense and only rebounds in a zone. But #1 is a high bar. He probably came to us to learn D (another poor judge of character), and might truly be great once he learns what high school moves don't work anymore. But I will be a bit skeptical until I see the shots actually go in the hole.
Jordan Adams. What is there to say? We'd be dead without him. Not a horrible defender or rebounder, but not good enough yet. He has to be in the starting lineup. This isn't the NBA, there are no best 6th man awards.
Larry Drew II. I have to say, my opinion has improved a bit. I've seen flashes, but only flashes. He can beat his man off the dribble (not that Westbrook has been covering him) and take it to the hole. I don't understand why he doesn't. I don't think its Howlsnd, because this is why he got chased out of UNC. He's a competent manager, good defender and doesn't make mistakes. How many years have we not had that for? And yet, he doesn't make the tough pass, doesn't have a huge amount of assists for his minutes, and is a major offensive liability. Think Rondo, except moreso, five years ago.
Tony Parker. I like how he backs his man down in the post...and sadly does not get the entry pass. He's going to be good, he is good, and I'd even give him more minutes at 4.
The Wears. Don't really need them. None of us will cry if CBH goes, and they never see the floor again during a game. Adams makes them obsolete since they don't rebound or play D adequately. All that said, if they still have a good attitude, then role player at 4--never 3 or 5 or at the same time.
Norman Powell. During the summer, I thought he would be the biggest roster casualty. Now he even starts over Anderson. Even before Monday's debacle, I thought he looked confused (I know some of you attributed that to Howland's quick hook last year). Definitley a role for him, even starting in some lineups-Kyle certainly isn't gong to cover the #1, but then on tne other hand, in a zone, he's less important. And again, Adams makes him less important.
Its a messy roster. I think all you can do is try to put the five best players on the floor, in a zone, and let them play, which mainly means Shabazz shoots alot, hopefully slashing and running, Jordan shooting from anywhere when the defense collapes (and it will be a zone against us for him to shoot over), and getting it deep down to Josh. So my lineup always includes Shabazz, Anderson, Adams and Smith. After that, the question is do you plug in Drew, TWear or Powell, and for how many minutes. I lean toward Drew 1, Adams 2, Shabazz 3, Anderson 4, and Smith 5. If you are go with-Anderson at the PG, then plug in TWear at 4. Need more perimeter defense in that lineup, then Powell at 2, Adams and Shabazz low with Smith in the middle.
All zone. Forget playing D on this team. Just try to score 85 points a game-at least.