I'm hearing a lot of pros & cons about the great 3-guard experiment offensively, but the near-universal sentiment--both in the media and here at BE--is that Miller, Blake, & Roy will get killed at the defensive end as soon as the team encounters an opponent with a big, talented shooting guard and/or small forward.
That makes perfect sense, and is very likely true. Even Nate has said he only decided to stick with this starting line-up for awhile after scanning the upcoming schedule and seeing no unfavorable matchups. But let's think outside the box for a minute. After all, most of us would have assumed that Miller-Blake-Roy (MBR for short) would tank at the offensive end as well, and so far that hasn't been the case, has it?
I believe it was on this Sunday's "Talking Ball" that I heard Dwight Jaynes lay out the obvious argument against MBR at the defensive end. He said something like the following: "Compare the old & new starting line-ups: Blake at the one is a slightly better defender than Miller. Roy at the two is a much better defender than Blake. Martell at the three is a much better defender than Roy. And that old starting line-up was no great shakes defensively itself! Now they're worse at three positions. How in the world is that going to work?"
Strong argument. Only one problem: Jaynes is comparing guys as individual defenders. Memo to Dwight: basketball is a TEAM GAME! There have been numerous successful NBA squads that included multiple guys who were poor to mediocre individual defenders. But as a group they were so smart, unselfish, and organized, and they communicated so well on the court, that they played above average defense as a team.
Despite having had practically zero practice time as a defensive unit, MBR has already shown signs of that kind of synergy. With Miller quarterbacking (loudly!), double teams have come quickly and unpredictably. Rotations have been crisp & aggressive. Penetrators have gotten funneled to shotblockers (LMA & GO or Przy), triggering fast breaks the other way. Really, it's been MBR's DEFENSE that's been the most impressive. The offense, featuring--wonder of wonders--lots of easy baskets, has largely been fueled by stops at the defensive end.
The MBR line-up has yet to face a potent offensive team. (The Spurs don't count because Parker got hurt.) They may well indeed get killed the first time they face that test. But I thought I'd throw out the possibility that they WON'T. Are there any other open minds out there?
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