I've been running through potential rotations for about a month and my main conclusion is that it's a good thing I'm not Terry Stotts.
Having established that I am, in fact, not Terry Stotts (and that this good for me, the Blazers, and Terry Stotts) I've come up with a rotation that I'm interested in the the BEdger's thoughts on. I see it like so:
The big thing that pops out with this probably Harkless and Leonard. As I see it:
- Starting Harkless keeps the success we saw with him in the line up last season in tact, while adding a couple of wrinkles to the team. He can cut to basket off ball, use his athleticism in transition, and help make up for Dame & CJ's defensive troubles (Evans Clinchy laid this out). This also allows for Turner to come off the bench, where I feel he's best suited. Turner brings a solid veteran presence to a young bench, keeps two playmakers on the court at all times, and his mid-range game is tailor made for picking apart second units.
- Starting Leonard, as Evans Clinchy also pointed out, puts him at his best position and makes the line up very, very difficult to guard. Leonard's unique potential to guard the 5 on one end, and pull them out to the 3pt line at the other, coupled with Aminu's ability to hit the three makes match-ups the the Blazer front court extremely difficult to guard. This also puts 4 quality 3pt shooters in the starting line up and allows Harkless to crash the offensive board like crazy.
- This line-up allows for a second unit of CJ, Crabbe, Turner, Davis, and Plumlee/Ezeli (depending on match-up and health). This give a solid balance to playmaking (CJ/Turner), 3pt shooting (CJ/Crabbe), Rebounding (Davis/Plumlee/Turner), and Interior Defense (Davis).
As we've discussed, this line up is an interesting combination of versatility and weaknesses. Part of Stotts' challenges this year is how to balance that. By stepping away from contracts, egos, etc, I think the Harkless and Leonard additions to the starting 5 creates a solid balance and adding wrinkles that make the Blazers a very difficult team to play. I'm not expecting to see this as the starting 5 at the beginning of the season, but I think by January, you could see this used pretty regularly.
Love to hear your thoughts and see your rotations. Thanks for reading.