SUBTITLE: Is winning NOW what's most important?
I'm sure I've never been so upset over an early season loss as last Wednesday's Phoenix game. It gave me vivid flashbacks of last year's team, as well as a few personal high school upsets that I'd rather forget. I walked around the city for over an hour afterwards, just trying to cool off.
I've read most of the comments in SP's follow-up posts, and I agree with most of what's being said. The refs missed a few calls, we missed a lot of free throws, we had trouble executing at the end, there was one glaring defensive breakdown, and most of all Steve Nash killed us with precision shooting. I should say, I don't place much blame on coach Dun. True, some of the sets could look sharper, but the more basic problem is that many teams (like the Suns) have a great go-to guy, and we don't. I spent most of my post-game walk thinking about it.
It looks like EJ is being groomed for the roll, but we should agree that it's going to take him some time. Griffin will also eventually take charge at crunch time, but not in the near future. In the interim, then, my question becomes, "Should we keep calling the youngsters' numbers at game's end, win or lose?" In other words, when push comes to shove, should our priority be TO WIN RIGHT NOW OR TO WORK TOWARDS THE FUTURE?
These don't have to be mutually exclusive (EJ is going to make some clutch shots, for instance), but there will be times when it means a real difference to our lineups and play calling. At the end of the game, for instance, perhaps AT should be in there rather than Butler. During the 4th quarter, maybe EJ should get more shots. When Griffin comes back, should he or one of the vets be sitting at crunch time? Should Novak get more or less playing time? Should Baron's role be constrained (or the Baron-Kaman tandem, for instance) for the sake of giving our young guys more crunch time responsibility?
Some of this may be beside the point, because really, if EJ doesn't take the big shot, then who does? BD? Butler? Kaman? Gordon may simply be our best option. But over the last 24 hours, I've been thinking that Gordon is out best option this year EVEN IF WE LOSE MORE OFTEN THAT WAY. In the future, to be a real contender, we'll certainly need him to grow into a much better option. I won't mind his near-misses this year- I'd even encourage them- as long as they're part of a bigger game plan.