The O(-Live) Face

I felt like I should bring up the articles in the Oregonian here and  here since they're sure to be the topics of the day.  When news or interesting things like this happen we will post above the daily season preview.  Please don't miss your chance to weigh in on New York and Boston below.

Basically the only semi-revolutionary part of either article was when Nate came out and said we're probably going to be a physical, halfcourt team.  I found this refreshing because Pre-Season Commandment 11 probably should have been something like, "Thou shalt not believe thy coach when he says thy team will pressure the ball and run.  All coaches say that for it pleaseth the fans, but few teams do it."  I remember this was a Mike Dunleavy staple when he was here.  Mo talked about it too.  A lot of coaches around the league toss the line out in September.  But it seldom comes about because it's a hard style to play in large doses.  In fact before Phoenix I'm hard-pressed to think of any serious modern team that relied on that style as their bread and butter. You can still count on a farmer's fingers the teams that make a serious run at it (so to speak) and the ones outside of Phoenix generally aren't very good.

Side note:  Three years on in this great "flash and dash" experiment can we finally start getting over the tendency to compare every team to the Suns and suggest they adopt the style?  Yes, it's a fun system and yes, it's produced some wins, but before you consider becoming the next Phoenix you should probably have the following:

A.  The best pure point guard in the universe who's a huge offensive threat, resistant to injuries, and makes everybody he plays with WAY better than anybody imagined.
B.  A super-elite rebounder who is deadly quick on his feet and also a monstrous offensive threat.
C.  One of the most studly, explosive, and feared centers in the league.

And that's just for starters.  If you're missing one or more of these components, chances are the Phoenix system won't work very well for you.  Likely you'll manage the "giving up 103 points" part of it...that's easy.  But the scoring 108+?  Good luck.

That's why Nate just coming out and saying, "Look, we're going against the grain but this is still a decent style to play and takes best advantage of our personnel" was refreshing.  He's an honest guy, it's a fair assessment of the folks we have (they're big, and that's not a bad thing), and he's right.

Other than that, if you were surprised by anything that was said in either article you didn't read the Ten Commandments of Preseason last week.  Outside of Zach Randolph starting, which is an obvious lock, those assertions about playing time and position could all change at the drop of a fall leaf.  And it's cool that the players--especially the young guys--showed up early, but it doesn't mean much that Przybilla, Miles, and Magloire didn't.  The only shading on that is that if McMillan specifically said to be back by the 5th it would have been nice to see everybody comply, just out of respect.  But either way it's not going to mean a hill of beans once the season starts.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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