I've never written an anti-Nate fanpost, and I'm not about to start now. McMillan is a very capable coach, and I figure there are reasons for most of the things he does. But I do question one thing: what's the good of having two bonafide NBA centers, with 12 available fouls between them, if you're afraid of using those fouls?
Sunday's loss to the Rockets was no embarrassment: Houston is a tough, talented team with an impressive home record. And it's not like the Blazers got blown out: they were in the game until nearly the end. But the game followed a familiar, disturbing pattern of Blazer losses this season. Namely, one or both Blazer centers gets in early foul trouble, and while they're both on the bench the opponent takes control of the game. At game's end, the good news is that neither center has fouled out. But the bad news is that the Blazers have lost the game.
It's as though Nate were deathly afraid of having both GO & Przy foul out, forcing him to play Frye in the post. So his solution is...to play Frye in the post! It's almost as though, in his gut, Nate fears losing both of his centers to fouls more than he fears losing games. Ridiculous? Well, then consider this: the two centers have yet to both foul out of a game this season, but the Blazers have lost a number of games protecting against that eventuality.
As a child, I was told that a rich aunt of mine had been so emotionally scarred from growing up in the Depression that she hoarded her money and died of malnutrition. (I later learned this was a bit of a family myth, but never mind that.) Nate reminds me of that aunt. Like most NBA coaches, he's seldom had a legit NBA center, so even now that he has TWO of them, he lives in mortal fear of finding himself center-less.
Really, though, Nate's case is worse than that rich aunt's. Because a person who dies without having enjoyed the benefits of their money can at least give it away to their offspring, whereas unused post fouls (and minutes) are simply wasted.
The Blazers possess a rare weapon: two legit centers with energy and fouls to burn. Unless matchups dictate otherwise, it seems to me that one of those guys should be on the floor every single minute of every game. If, once in a blue moon, both of them happen to foul out, at least Nate will have gotten his money's worth. Then and only then should he send in a back-up finesse forward (Frye) to do a center's job.
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