I have been kind of throwing this wish of mine around to some of my friends and now I am going to attempt to formulate this notion into a logical, persuasive essay.
My central thesis is I believe Nate McMillian should embrace this team's ability to field many unique and often unorthodox line-ups as a competitive advantage.
Looking at this team I see a ton of flexibility in the personnel. Camby and LaMarcus are both players that can easily slide between the 4 and 5 positions and have during their careers. Wallace and Nicolas both can play minutes at the 4 as well as the 3. Wesley and Brandon are able to defend and play defended by 3's as well as 2s. Brandon can also offensively play at the 1 and Matthews can defend 1's as good as most PGs. Raymond can play with the ball or play off of the ball effectively. Elliot Williams and Nolan Smith are both currently unknowns but if only one of them can find early success next season, they could be an effective combo guard. We obviously will sign a big this off season, this can be a priority to pick up another 4-5 shifter.
Now how I see this team flexibility is for many weird and unpredictable line-ups that can:
1.) utilize match-up mismatches
2.) create unique plays that can be simple reads but organically go into many directions or options (think spread/option offenses from College football) and
3.) develop a system that will be very difficult and downright annoying to scout or make a game plan for.
The team can field many different lines ups and playing style against one team and completely 180 that style for a team with a different make-up, or even in the middle of a game. It can even become a head game for Nate as his unpredictable moves and plays can Mind [screw] the opposing coaching staffs and coaches and staffs trying to play the team in the future.
For this to be a successful strategy there will need to be a change in philosophy of practice. Practices will need to be intense. None of these line ups can just be thrown out there, they must be practiced, analyzed and revised by the staff and players. The type of organic offense I think of would need to be hammered into the players muscle memories so it's all about the read and knowing what to do based off those reads. The individual opposing teams will have to be studied and broken down with this new mentality in mind so the advantage can truly be utilized and not exposed or become a hindrance. Wrinkles can be added based on a certain situation or a certain opponent. Nate will need to step out of his confort zone and get a little radical. That can't be half-
assed. If you are going to embrace this, do it all the way, ball to the wall with no looking back.
To help further explain I will go over a few lines ups and how they could be utilized:
Main Starting Line-Up: Felton, Matthews, Wallace, Aldridge, Camby
The main starting line up leads to a bit of flexibility where they team can first attempt to run. Felton, Matthews, Wallace and LaMarcus all can finish in transition great. Wallace and LaMarcus can outrun maybe any other 3-4 line up in the league. They can also be very effective in the half court running mainly through LMA on the block, Pick and Rolls, or Isos with Wallace. Camby on the perimeter and Felton and Matthews in the corners helps spread the floor as all you need to respect. If Oden moves into the starting line up him and LaMarcus can shift around between, the blocks and perimeters depending on what the play is attempting to do, just need to be careful to not clog each other's space, keep the floor open.
Second Unit: Smith/Williams, Roy, Batum, FA sign, Oden
This team probably wont play together much but this shows how the second unit will be more methodical. If we can sign an effective 4/5 and either WIlliams or Smith work out our Bench can become rather deadly! Run a mixture of pick and roll, motion and Roy Isos for the offense.
FAST Paced: Williams, Felton/Matthews, Batum, Wallace, Aldridge
This team will RUN. All the players are athletic and finishers near the rim. I want to see the other teams sucking for air! You are not limited to just running as LaMarcus can take over in the half court and you still have shooters in Felton/Matthews and Batum (Wallace isn't a bad shooter either). I REALLY hope (but am skeptical right now) Elliot can develop a deadly jump shot, he may already have one... or he may never. We will see.
Small Ball: Felton/Smith, WIlliams, Matthews/Roy, Batum, Wallace
Let me say don't take these line ups as set in stone. LMA, Camby or our FA sign can be plugged in and Wallace and Batum share the 4. It's all based on the situation and team at the moment. But this line up can have some spot run where they create mismatches. Everybody on the team can shoot accurately from everywhere and must be respected off the ball so you can have a lot of one on one match ups to exploit. A lot of this is reliable on Smith having a dangerous 3 Point shot
Big Ball: Roy/Matthews, Batum, Wallace/Aldridge, Camby/FA Sign, Oden
Imagine Oden, Camby And LMA on the floor at the same time! I think Roy would be the perfect meistro for this type of spot line up. Or Matthews along with Batum to spread the floor for the big guys.This is either to match a tall line up from an opposing team, or to exploit them, probably at the 3 and have LaMarcus abuse them. The 3 would have to be a bit unathletic so LaMarcus isn't abused on the other end, but could ne a very intimidating lineup for any team to think about.
DE-FENCE: Matthews, Batum, Wallace, Aldridge/Camby, Oden/Camby
This team can be a defensive juggernaut. Matthews, Batum and Wallace is scarey for any team's wings to match up and a combination of Aldridge, Camby and Oden can shut the paint down well. I hope WIlliams and/or Smith could be good defenders as well they have the bodies to be.
Spread the Floor: Smith(?)/Felton/Roy, Roy/Dieber, Matthews, Batum/Babbit, Aldridge
Obviously this is to spread the floor with shooters and let LMA do work down low, knowing he has 4 snipers on the 3 point line. I know I exaggerated a little bit in that sentence, we don't have Kerr, Reggie Miller, Larry Bird, and Robert Horry surrounding LMA. But we have 4 players that must be respected and can't be sagged or rotated off of enough to creat aton of room for LMA and his helpless defender.
SO what do you think of my thoughts for Nate? Feel free to offer opinions, support, criticism, additions, revisions,ect. New Line-Ups, who the FA sing should be, plays, discuss it all!