First of all, Delta Airlines is amazing. I'm currently flying over the Rockies on my way to Phoenix to celebrate Thanksgiving, and found out that my airplane is WIFI equipped, and feel compelled to pen some thoughts about this season while high in the sky.
After the jump, the major issue I want to address is the controversy surrounding McMillan's handling of Oden's minutes to avoid foul trouble, and then touch on Dante Cunningham vs Travis Outlaw, and maybe some other minor issues if I can think of any.
The obvious complaint with Nate regarding his "Tresselball" handling of Oden (thank you Ben) is that Oden is probably the most efficient offensive option for this team, and not playing him significantly handicaps the rest of the offense. He commands attention in the paint, which gives the guards more space to work with when initiating offense, and he also reduces the burden LMA must carry on offense, allowing LMA to stretch defenses with the pick and pop (which I think is a colossal waste of his talent but that is another issue entirely). And Oden's tremendous skills at defense and rebounding go without saying. Therefore, the complaint is valid that Oden must be given more slack, in the first half especially.
There is a more subtle concern that I have with McMillan's management regarding this issue. When Oden enters the fourth quarter with 3 fouls, officials are more prone to giving him a quick two fouls, putting him at five (which has happened in several games). They are not as quick to give him the sixth unless he commits a blatant foul (usually). In this case Nate appears to have made the correct move with his first half management, as then Oden would end the game with foul trouble but not actually fouling out. The problem is that when Oden picks up two fouls early in the quarter, the blazers are prone to getting into team foul trouble early in that quarter, which gives opponents an easy out to get points at the ft line. The same problem affects Jerryd Bayless, who is prone to getting whistled early and often, but because he plays so few minutes it doesn't hurt his ability to produce, only hampers the team foul total. Nate needs to play Oden more in the first quarter, so that Oden will gain more experience with avoiding those quick touch fouls. His current management of minutes is a double whammy; for Oden because he isn't playing enough, and for the team because he gets the team into the penalty quickly in the most critical quarter (fourth) when he has less fouls going into the fourth. Solution? Play him more, please!
As for the emergence of Inferno, I have to say I love what I've seen so far from him. As many people have already commented on the differing skill sets between Outlaw and DC, I will avoid being overly redundant, and only note that Outlaw produces despite being a focal point of defensive game planning, while DC isn't quite on their radar yet, so it may be premature to promote DC at the expense of Outlaw. As far as his offense goes, I love that DC has a nice set jumper already, and I hope he continues to take that shot from the elbow/foul line, as he is pretty much money. But he doesn't have Outlaw/LMA range yet out to 21/22 ft, so I hope he doesn't stray from that elbow area.
Anyway, just wanted to get a few thoughts out about Oden vs DC, so to avoid being extra wordy I will wrap this up. Thanks for reading!