Much hay was made, here and elsewhere, on Hollinger's piece on whether or not isolation offenses, such as run by the Hawks and the Trail Blazers, are good in the playoffs. Hollinger's thesis is no--they're too easy to prepare for in the playoff context, when a team's coaching staff can tailor its defensive schemes to the opponent. As evidence, he points to the difficulties the Blazers have had this year and last, and the Hawks have had over the years (despite defeating the Bucks in the first round this year).
Others have criticized Hollinger's analysis, mainly on the grounds of insufficient data--noting that last years' Blazers lacked playoff experience, and this years' edition was devastated by injuries. Whether Hollinger is right or not, I don't know.
The subject has brought many opinions to the table--and quite a few Nate critics have embraced the topic (the comments at Dwight's blog are a chorus of "Fire Nate"). But it's an interesting question. One of my beliefs about NBA coaching is that a coach should select a system (on offense and defense) which is tailored to his players. With that in mind, considering the players we have, the question is proposed:
What offense should the Blazers run?
I don't want this thread to turned into a referendum on McMillan--or on past personnel decisions for that matter.
More after the jump.
A couple possibilities come to mind:
* Dwight, whatever you think of his basketball knowledge, seems enamored with the "flex" system that Utah runs, which involves a lot of pick-and-rolls and a lot of motion. The Jazz have good success with it, and it's difficult to defend. Alvin Gentry seems to be using some similar ideas in Phoenix--and both teams (ignoring injuries) have got an all-world PG who is a deadly outside shot, and big men who are scoring threats when they set picks--either by driving to the hole for a layup (Boozer, Stoudemire) or by shooting from outside (Okur, Frye). Surrounding these pieces are complementary players who excel off the ball.
* The triangle is another offense which seems designed to maximize the talents of a quadruple-threat shooting guard (or a larger, slower PG, I suppose). PJ has won ten titles with it, with either Kobe or MJ running the show--and while Brandon is not in this elite company (not yet, at least), he probably has the requisite skills to be effective in this offense--and he has more discipline than Kobe does. At this point, the team doesn't have a second All-Star talent, either along the perimeter (Pippen) or in the middle (Shaq, Caveman)--but if Oden can stay healthy and Batum continues to blassum, then watch out.
Other thoughts? Or is the big issue not the system, but the quality of the players running it? (Many teams have tried the Triangle and failed; but most of those teams don't have a Kobe or an MJ at their disposal).