Ten Topics For The Weekend

  • Some follow-up to the week of Kansas hoops -

    1. Path to Nowhere: I worry about Brannen Greene. I see a kid that Self proclaimed was an NBA talent, and I see him languishing. Wednesday night he was like a statue. Immobile, slow, and worse, a guy that looked irrelevant. We know he’ll hit his three pointers. But he is in hostile territory. His game is not a Bill Self game. @Jesse-Newell tweeted during the game that Greene would be his starting 3. He would be mine, too. But not in Self’s system. Greene should have transferred, as I have posted before. For his own good. Now he may play and contribute, and he may light it up. But he will always be marginalized. And his extreme talent set – the three ball – will never be accepted as having ultimate value under Bill Self.

    2. Fool’s Gold Redux and Explained: It’s a new season, but, yes, he said it again. In an interview with Bob Davis on the TWC sports channel this week, after the PSU game, Self again stated that making three pointers – making them – was Fool’s Gold. He referenced the team making 27 of 44 in a recent 40 minute scrimmage. His point was that making shots masks deficiencies that get exposed when you’re not making shots. Absolutely no argument there. You have to play a complete game, and in Self’s mind, defense first is his teams’ “m.o” as he said it. I’m fine with that. It’s the next step that is concerning and, to me, is unsubstantiated. Self seemed to have a tone of disgust when the topic was raised – It is quite clear that Self connects making three pointers with resulting bad basketball. In the interview Self said “wow” when talking about the rate of threes made in the scrimmage, but his tone quickly changed. The conclusion I discerned was that making threes leads to poor play because over reliance on the three, and shooting, makes you lazy. It makes you comfortable as a player that shots will go in, thus I don’t have to work. Meaning a cause-effect. He referenced Kansas being a defensive minded team, as the team’s “m.o.”, as if hitting three pointers defeats that underlying, most important purpose. That’s his mind-set. It explains why he seemed disgusted with our blow-out first half vs. Utah last season in the half-time interview. But it is an odd connection in my mind – a wild over generalization, to say the least. But this all needs to play out this season. It’s a new season. And with regard to a guy like Greene, it limits his only real weapon. Greene going 2/3 from three one game, 2/4 the next and 1/4 the next, is a sad waste of resources. If that’s how it will be, Greene shouldn’t play.

    3. Vick – Play or No?: After seeing Lagerald Vick in the WUG, I was sold. I am sold. But does he play this season? Personally, in Self’s system, I’d play him over Brannen Greene. But if Self is going to give him the minutes Svi got from last season, then I’d redshirt him. Vick is a potential four year player, and he has the makings of a terrific, impact guy. The only reason you redshirt a guy is if he would play four seasons. But I think he could help this season. The way Selden, Svi, and Greene looked, options should remain open. Lots of things playing against Vick for this season, though.

    4. Selden (and season) in Peril?: After the WUG, a poster (I"m sorry, I don’t recall who), pointed out that they used a smaller basketball at the WUG, and maybe that’s why Selden was better. Very interesting point. After Selden’s WUG performance, I declared that he’d be Big 12 player of the year. After the PSU game, one of these statements looks silly. Last season, Selden was bad. His player efficiency rating (PER) was worst among regulars, just a touch worse than Traylor. Many of us called for his benching. His performance has not justified his minutes. This is make or break. We need to see the WUG Selden. If we don’t … if Selden doesn’t make “that leap”… our season will look much different come March than we hope. I still remain confident that Selden will make “that leap.” PSU was the off-season outlier. But it is a definite story line.

    5. Reality – Ellis at the Three: In Self’s interview with Davis, he said that he felt we were best when we were big. Self also referenced playing Perry at the 3 after the PSU game, saying the following: “Frank (Mason III), Devonté, Perry at the three, Carlton at the 4 and Hunter or Jamari at the 5 … I think that would have been our best team tonight,” KU coach Bill Self said. Now, we’ll discuss the Traylor thing in moment. But really, this is Self’s first real foray into Ellis at the three. He’s never really mentioned it. Ellis is leaner this season, and it was pretty obvious that he was more explosive. I admit that I never thought it would happen. The presence of Bragg gives Self multiple options. Really, Bragg seems to fit the three a bit better … but I won’t argue. This is a huge development, and rewinds to the my prior point about Selden being in peril if he doesn’t pick it up. Getting Bragg on the floor is the priority. But how does this square with Self’s desire for more ball handling? Moving Ellis to the three seems to change that a bit – Selden or Svi with Mason/Graham maximizes that. But again, it’s early. If Ellis, Bragg and Mick are on the floor together vs. MSU in a few weeks, we’ll know it’s real. It could all be motivation for Selden, Greene, and Svi.

    6. I Report, You Decide: Traylor. For Self to even imply that his best lineup would include is shocking, and not shocking. We understand. I rewatched the game vs. PSU. There are some sequences that define Traylor and his struggles on the boards. At the 16:00 mark of the first half, KU on defense, there was a three point shot from the far wing, PSU in front of the KU bench. Traylor was guarding his man, who was in the near corner, Traylor position properly above the near box. As the shot went up, Traylor watches the shot. His man then bolts baseline, goes around Traylor, and ends up tying up the rebound. Not only did Traylor not even look to box out or “hit and get”, but he didn’t even try to improve his position against guys. But this failure to box or “hit and get” is chronic. It happens nearly all the time. At the 15:10 mark, there isa shot from the far block by PSU. Traylor is guarding a guy near the top of the key. Traylor is positioned mid-lane, appx. 12 feet from the basket. Traylor just looks up at the shot, stands there, and his man comes in from the top and pokes the ball away. Traylor bobs his head. At 9:45, Traylor is use wide of the near block on defense, a shot goes up. Instead of turning and blocking out, he hand plays with the offensive player and is left out of position to get the rebound. At 8:45, with KU on offense, Traylor is close to the far block, just above it. He kicks to the wing for a three. Traylor simply stands and watches the flight of the ball. Contrast that to Lucas, who in his limited minutes, turns and blocks out with regularity – see appx. 8:30 of the first half, just before Traylor’s missed dunk on the break. This is the reality. And it translates to 2 rebounds in 16 minutes. It doesn’t matter who you are – if you are a post player and you don’t block out, you don’t hit and get – you compromise your ability to rebound, you lose possessions, and you hurt your team.

    7. Play faster? Look for one thing: It was a beautiful thing. At the 12;15 mark in the first half, off of a PSU made bucket, Svi grabbed the ball and immediately inbounded the ball to Mason, who shot a pass to Bragg at the other end of the court for a dunk. Bragg made this happen, of course, by releasing quickly. But this doesn’t happen if the closest guy to the ball stands around and waits for a designated player to inbound. We’ve seen it for years. Self claims he wants to play fast, and he doesn’t do one of the single most important things to playing fast – letting the closest player to the made basket inbound the ball quickly. We’ve seen us stagnate, waiting for Traylor, or Lucas, or Black, or whomever, to slug over, grab the ball, and flip it in. Well worth watching.

    8. Back-to-the-Basket Scoring: Uh, did we have any? Do we need any? Has Self moved on? While we tried to feed the post from the wing a few times, that seemed eerily missing from the game. First possession of the game we tried. But very few efforts in that regard.

    9. Mickelson/Bragg and a National Championship: I feel it. It worries me. I feel like @stupidmichael. Worrying. But watching the WUG and tuneups, watching the PSU game, I really believe that Carlton Bragg and Hunter Mickelson – their usage and play – is the most important thing right now to KU’s march to a national title. Our perimeter play will level out and be fine. Diallo is irrelevant at the moment. Ellis looks great. It’s right there for coach Self to exploit, for him to utilize. The better players. But I worry. And you know why.

    10. Officiating: I guess we’ll see, but the officiating seemed fine Wednesday. Not like the start of 2013-14 when the refs went crazy. Hopefully this baloney about cleaning up the game will be a milder version. CBB is a great game, a unique game, and it needs very little “fixing” in my opinion. Let it be.

  • @HighEliteMajor Absolutely GREAT post HEM! More food for thought than I’ve seen here in months…speaking of … Im ready for a little breakfast with my basketball… Call room service!

  • well bottom line is, until Brannen learns to play some defense, his time will be very marginal, his defense is very sad, and we all know if you can’t play defense then your going to get real acquainted with your seat on the bench. Ya true he can drain 3’s but what good is that going to do if you make the shot on one end but then play matador defense on the other. what good is that? there is no good in that. I love greene but there is no other way around it if your not going to play D the it’s not happening., his talent set as you word it is marginal you have to be able to work BOTH ENDS of the court. Now on top of everything else throw Vick into the mix, which I believe he will see more playing time SOONER then later and it looks even bleaker for Brannen. Vick explosive scorer and can flat get after it defensively so not looking good for Brennan I agree ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • @HighEliteMajor

    1. I worry about Greene too but we have to give the kid a break and let him get back into shape. His d is never going to be great and remember we said the same things about Perry’s D and he made a big effort to improve that last year. I don’t consider Perry to be a weak defender, I would love to see him just once shut down Niang for a game. Greene should not transfer, I don’t agree with that notion… Next year he will be a Senior & if he keeps his head down and works hard he will be important to next years roster which is losing a ton of experience after the year.

    2. I really don’t understand the fools gold remarks. I really wish he would cut the crap with those remarks. 3 point shooting is the most important equalizer in games. You don’t see too many teams that win marquee games going 4-19 from 3. We lost to Wichita St in the tournament because they bombed 3’s and made them. They are momentum plays, and they spread the defense to open up lanes. In an offense that wants to blindly chuck the ball inside wouldn’t making 3’s be the biggest impact to our offense being efficient and effective? We Shouldn’t shoot 30 of them just for the heck of it but this team thrives when we make perimeter shots, I see the confidence players get when they are making them. So what’s the answer to that, having your players step up in games and making them. I wouldn’t take Tuesday’s game as the tell-all of where our season is going from the 3pt line.

    3. Vick should play but he won’t unless an injury or circumstance forces him in there. He’s a guy who can play now and score but with Self we all know that’s only a small part of what makes Self trust a freshman. Defensively I’m sure he can outshine Greene, but the trust isn’t there yet. Hopefully in some of our easier games he will get enough minutes to show out to the staff. I think by Jr year he can be our leading scorer I have that much faith in the kid.

    4. I’ll give Selden a pass because of the ankle. But in the first 5 games I do want to see that nasty streak he had this summer. And the offense must run through him just as much as anyone for him to have the impact we need.

    5. Ellis at the 3 sounds scary defensively. Not sure he can keep up with the quick SF’s but Self says he’s leaner and quicker this year. Offensively Ellis is most effective being able to operate in the post.

    6. We don’t have a post who can just go to work with his back to the basket. Mari had 1 nice move but against a small defender which he won’t get when the real games start.

    7. Don’t worry the officiating will be just as bad or worse as in the past. I expect it to be especially puzzling early & any road game we go on. Nothing changes

  • Terrific post. #7 is exactly how I have felt and I couldn’t have written it any better. Ive been saying this for years. If Self gets these guys playing 1000 mph and using their superior athleticism to their advantage I think we have a great shot at another NC. Add Cheick to the mix and we’d be practically unstoppable playing this way. Back in '08 we were beating the opposing team down the court for a layup AFTER they just made a basket on us. Its easy buckets. I believe its the reason we are always in so many close games in recent years, we have made it easier on our opponent by playing slower and not using our superior athletes to our advantage.

  • @HighEliteMajor On #7, do you think Self will scheme for games in a similar way to what he did this summer? Or, do you think he will revert back to last years bad habits? Maybe that is a good question for you to ask him directly on Rock Chalk Talk some day soon. I mean, he absolutely has to be swinging towards the fences this season after getting bounced two times in a row during the NCAAs. Historically, since Bill Self has been our coach, KU hasnt gotten bounced early more than twice so i really dont expect it to happen this year. But, he didnt exactly show us he was willing to let our guys play during Pitt State. I mean, they could have hung a century or better on those guys, for real. AND Wayne did not play with as much nastiness as we saw him do this summer either. I just hope he is still recovering from his ankle sprain and not being resistant to whatever.

  • @HighEliteMajor On #9. Bragg and Mickelson are absolutely our best post players. Totally agree, we need both of them to have stellar seasons for us to be a top 4 team all season. With Diallo in there too? Forgettaboutit. Done deal. I think another question could be posed to the coach about the reasoning behind giving Traylor the start or giving him starters minutes when clearly he is a major liability on defense and defensive rebounds. Why? It doesnt make any sense to me. Sure he is a 5th year senior. I get that. But, he does not give us the best chance to win games.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Magnificent post! Thanks for putting in the effort (and it took plenty of that)!

    1. I feel the same as others feel… that Self gave BG a verbal warning about not “getting it.” Brannen has two years to get his act together if he wants a chance at the league or even a chance at serious PT at Kansas. His lack of defense isn’t the only deficiency in his game. He has to learn how to score on the move. How to handle the ball better and penetrate. How to score with a guy glued to his grill. How to free himself up away from the ball and also on one side of a ball screen. I do really think a big part of the “fool’s gold” commentary is directed at Brannen. I think Self is very disappointed in BG and what little progress he has made while at Kansas. Brannen was improperly coached before arriving at Kansas. Maybe it was his dad. But during his pre-Kansas development all the focus was on his spot up shot and NOTHING else. I think the idea was his shot will earn him a spot in the NBA. There are at least a thousand guys out there who can shoot as good as BG, many can shoot while in motion and when guarded. Many play better defense. BG should be working his tail off right now trying to improve on his weaknesses. He could get there, if he focuses enough on it and works his butt off. Otherwise…

    2. Imagine a NBA coach making these comments? You can’t, because it won’t happen. The “fool’s gold” statements are coming from Self (the teacher) instead of Self (the opportunist). But Self’s focus is like most of the other D1 coaches… “teaching first!” I keep repeating this… but there is a difference in philosophy between NBA coaches and D1 coaches.

    3. Vick shouldn’t redshirt. We don’t know how the fouling is going to go this year, or injuries. But this is a year where if the pieces fall right we should be in the hunt in March. In those years, you never want to reduce any current potential for a future possible gain.

    4. Wayne, Wayne, Wayne! Our season rests in his lap, not on the Cheick eligibility… He is going to get his minutes regardless how he performs. Here is a good read on Kansas basketball… especially on Wayne: Kansas hopes to use summer as springboard . Wayne is reading, “The Mindful Athlete.” Good for him to reach out and try to collect his focus in the right direction!

    5. I believe this is smoke screen. Perry might get a few minutes at the 3 in the next week or so… but I feel like that is just part of the Riverboat Gambler pulling a bluff on future opponents. Let’s see this happen in January or February!

    6. Too bad the mentality switching in the movie “Young Frankenstein” isn’t possible. If we could take Landen’s mind and combine it with Jamari’s body… we might have a complete player!

    7. Right on! You just exposed another area of stiff structure that is restricting this team. We want to save the practice time of drilling every player on the team on how to inbounds the basketball, so we leave the responsibilities within a few hands.

    8. Back to the basket takes time, and even more time when your bigs don’t know how to score from it. When our year shifted away from 3s and back to the hi/lo, back to the basket ball, last year, I bet we had been focusing in on it for weeks before he flipped the switch. There is no way it happened over night. Makes me wonder if he had spent those practice sessions working on plays to free up our trey shooters… what would have happened at the end of the season?

    9. I hear what you are saying and feel equally frustrated. Self has always been considered a “players’ coach” and part of that is that he makes sure and rewards PT to seniors, even if they don’t play the best. It’s “old school”… in fact… young players used to be on the JV team first.

    10. It is too soon to judge the officiating. The PSU game didn’t offer up much defense on either side. There was still 47 fouls called… not exactly a touch-free game. Wait until we play ISU, UT, OU and WVU. I can see the possibility of 60+ fouls called in any of those games. If Cheick gets legal… he is going to have a heck of a time staying out of foul trouble. Same with Landen. Landen has probably been coached up more than any other player on our team. The second he guards in the post, you will see him want to put his hand on the back of the guy with the ball. This is all part of his early coaching, when that was the right thing to do. Now… they don’t even want post players to touch! So no coming up from behind and planting your feet and making contact with the offensive player’s back side with some force to either push him out or keep him from going backwards. This is going to create some downright awkward post play this year. I think post guys are all going to have foul trouble because the NCAA wants to make the game so friggin’ unnatural…

  • @drgnslayr I read your entire response not knowing who had said it until the part about “right in his grille” then I instantly knew it was someone who’d played at.a high level, & the IP lights flashed bright red, slayr-slayr… Great analysis from another with shop floor experience. This is “zackly” why I like reading a thread so important, to keep learning more. Thanks for the effort it takes to teach us knumbskulls what the meat & taters of what BB really is all about. Keep it up men & again, another great job.

  • Superior post and replies! Thank you!

  • @HighEliteMajor “His game is not a Bill Self game.” His game isn’t too many great Coache’s game, if he can’t play defense.

  • @HighEliteMajor #6 Interesting that you zeroed in on one part of traylor’s game- yes his rebounding skills are not good, im pretty sure (sans looking up his stats) he has never been a good rebounder - (low BB IQ has been the consensus here) Your “report” may have been more elucidating if you had included his whole stat line. 9 points, 2 rb, 2 assists, 1 TO, 2 steals (3 for 3 from the line)

    If Self wanted traylor in the game as a major rebounder, he wouldn’t play him very much, would he?

    Again, i find it hard to believe that Self, who knows more about basketball and his players than certainly me and most KU fans, is only playing Traylor because he likes him and that he works hard in practice. If Hunter and Bragg are going to be the more productive bigs, then Self will play them more, because he is in the business of winning. Self clearly thinks Traylor is productive and adding to the teams’ winning chances.

  • Way too many conclusions being drawn from the first (and pretty much meaningless) exhibition game of the season where the coaching staff was likely trying new combinations to see how they worked during actual game conditions. If we use this game as a predictor, then might as well ship Svi back to the Ukraine for starters since he showed pretty much nothing at the game. I personally think this will not be the norm.

    Let’s watch a few more games before drawing any conclusions and start second guessing Coach Self this early…he might actually surprise us.

  • @wrwlumpy you are so right! Would Jessie’s team beat coach self’s team?

  • @JayHawkFanToo agreed fully. He’s not going to show all his cards to opposing teams this early.

  • @HighEliteMajor @HighEliteMajor

    I think we can safely call that a PHOF!

    Part of me wanted to say nothing and just savor it.

    But my hope for this board always is that it creates synergy and there can be no synergy without back and forth, and so I will make a game effort at responding.

    Its hard to add much to your ten points, because you’ve hit frozen ropes with all of them. All one can do is introduce complementary analysis that may not add much, but might enrich the combustible fuel-air mixture of some Selfian-ambiguites underling the debate that will ensue on these subjects in coming months.

    (1) Greene IS up against the biases of Self Ball for sure, and he is definitely competing outside his comfort zone in Self Ball, exactly as you say, but at the same time, it is conspicuous that BG is the first guy of the season to go in Self’s TOUGHENING BOX. Self doesn’t usually put guys he is not counting on in the toughening box and never as the first guy. BG appears so demoralized presently that he may even have been in Le Box Toughening, since he started going through rehab. Self appears determined not to let him wallow in self pity. What we are witnessing is Self incarcerating and then sticking the needle into a quasi cripple, who sacrificed his body (read played operable) for Self last season. Now one thing we know about Self: anyone that plays operable for him doesn’t necessarily get the world served to him on a silver platter the next season, but most definitely is included henceforth and into posterity as an inner circle guy—a guy to be counted on. On one extreme we have Mario Little who played operable and who just didn’t quite have enough left to be a serious rotation guy, but who Self nonetheless went to in many crunches Little’s last season. On the other extreme, we have a guy like Selden, who arguably plays operable all the time, and who has enough talent left to be better than Self’s other options and so contributes a lot. But either way, once you are in with the Post-Operable In-Crowd you are considered one of the knights of Sir Bill’s Round Jump Circle Table.

    Without putting too fine of a point on it, Self is beating the steaming shizz out BG with psychological warfare. This is an intensity of PSY-OPS that Self usually reserves for guys he intends to count on, but this goes even beyond that. This is standing around kicking and clubbing and torquing and paradoxing a guy, when he is in rehab. Self didn’t even do that to Brandon Rush. If this won’t make the rest of the team rally 'round BG and around all their teammates, Self may have to resort to a Deer Hunter kind of scenario in a hut on stilts out on the Kansas River by a sand bar. He may have to stand their screaming and spinning the drum on a Smith with one bullet and makie BG play Russian flipping roulette to find out which teammate is man enough to come forward and play with him!

    I mean Brannen is in Christopher Walken kind of pain right now. And I don’t know who is going to DeNiro him out of this, but some teammate HAS to step forward and sacrifice himself (i.e., be the next into the toughening box) to save this post-operable, quasi-crippled trifectate extraordinaire. The man from red clay country, the man who went to the wall for Self last season playing operable, the man who kept draining fools gold for the Coach that disingenuously claims treys are Fool’s gold, this man deserves better than this, even if his hip never regains its pop and flex. This man is a new , sub basement evel of The Toughening Box. This is like Self saying, “Alright you bunch of spoiled, Fool’s gold loving, trinitary wannabe pussies playing X-boxes in the Taj Mahal we built for you, I’m going to take your three-ball ring leader, the best gunner of the bunch of you, maybe the best shootist I have ever coached, and the guy we all know played operable for us last season, and I’m going to grind my jack boot adidas into his hip scar and screw with his southern Randolph Scott kinda mind until one of you cowards comes to save him and turns this band of babies into a team of men.” Self’s eyes are flashing. “You thought last season was tough? You thought @aybate 1.0 was right about calling you basketball’s Merrill’s Marauder’s? You thought you had been to Myitkyina? Well, now hear this: you didn’t take Myitkyina last year. You hear me? You got your asses punked by Division III Wichita State and that chicken vent of a coach they have! You may think you are a highly ranked team with a bunch of experience and great three ballers that just won the WUGs. But I say you are all worthless gutter trash, lower than the stuff Bruce Weber scrapes off his Nikes in the Xperimental Barns in Dung Hollow a couple hours west of here!!!” Self reddens and veins ripple on his forehead and neck. “Mr. Best Three Point Shooter KU ever had over there is in the Toughening Box and he’s going to stay in it tell hell freezes over, or till one of you guys figure out how to play real basketball, while he sinks girlie man treys at 40%., and then goes into The Toughening Box for him.” Self kicks a puke bucket placed their for him by the director of basketball operations. “Fool’s gold is making 40% of your treys on legs that haven’t played hard defense. I want 40% on treys from exhausted legs, injured legs, operable legs.” Self looks around. “Or let no man come back alive!!! You may think this looks like Horejsi, but its not. Because you failed to take Myitkyina last season and I had to eat shizz shaking the hand of Mr. IMax Forehead, this is the flipping gorge of the River Kwai, where a team of failures last season must learn to cooperate under the worst conditions imaginable to build A Bridge Over, what shall I call it, the River Hard Wood that will be blown up in March, so that you can then build another Bridge Over the River Madness in March and April, if that Micron Brain Bob Bowlsby doesn’t move March Madness to the next fricking year!" Self struts around maniacally hyperventilating. "Watch your three point shooting friend there, Brannen Greene. He isn’t in a hurt locker of pain. He is in a hurt terminal warehouse of pain. And he is there, because of you conceited, self-satisfied numb nuts, and its going to get worse for him until you start to get it and save his ass!” Whistle blows. Now start running and don’t stop, while Mr. Georgia here hops in place on his bad hip!”

    I can’t explain it. I just have a hunch that BG is being groomed for important work, even though I have been telling everyone all off season that he needs a red shirt and that hip ain’t coming around anytime soon without a year’s rehab…whilst no one, least of all Bill Self, hath been listening to the erstwhile ’bate.

    (2) I believe Self wished he were a great long ball shooter, so he has three point envy, and I believe his college injuries awakened him to the fact that almost no player makes it through any season, often any game, with the things required to shoot a high long ball percentage: two good knees, two good ankles, untorn muscles, untorn/unstretched ligaments and tendons, working fingers on the shooting hand, working rotator cuffs, un-hyperextended elbows, unsprained wrists, working hamstrings, working achilles heels, and so forth. The human body is a complex and vulnerable system in Self’s mind. Self learned from his D1 time that operable players that are great athletes can often guard on sheer force of will, and that even healthy shootists have slumps and utterly unpredictable moments. I believe Self believes trifectation really is Fool’s Gold. Its a gift that about 35-40 percent of the time makes winning easier, the rest of the time life is about will, defense, and 50/50 balls, and explosive plays. And I believe Self is putting both his team and his fans in The Toughening Box about three point shooting by his Fool’s Gold Redux. Remember, as alluded to above, he likely believes overconfidence is this teams biggest enemy after winning the WUGs.

    (3) Vick is a potentially great player playing somewhat beyond his years in Self-protected roles, but not yet experienced and mature enough to both become the an unprotected target of Blue Meanies that a young starter invariably is, or to beat out a healthy, mature Greene. But Greene is not healthy. So: Vick is getting some minutes and being productive and if he can translate his length into guarding over picks he is going to play quite a bit, because he appears, like Greene, to have no conscience about squeezing live rounds. Thus Self will have the same kind of problem with Vick that he has with Greene, despite liking Vick’s defense better, and despite trusting Greene’s ability to play through more. When he looks into Vick’s eyes, he sees the same thing he sees in Greene’s eyes. Cold indifference to Self’s warnings about shooting. Trey ballers are assassins on wood.They are the French Connection to the assassination of President Kennedy wearing silks instead of suits and ties. They warm up in the basketball equivalent of Dealy Plaza—the arc beyond the three point stripe. They don’t think twice about a long shot from the Grassy Knoll. And though their coaches hate to resort to them, when the situation calls for it, the order for their services comes down from on high in code, and they do the job their way. Self is like all Allen Dulleses. He would like to find a way not to have to order the shooters into action. Its messy. It requires the involvement of persons one has little control over, once the green light is given. But in the final analysis, all coaches, like all Allen Dulleses, keep the option of shooters in their tool set. If nothing else, there presence is a serious deterrent to an opponent getting too reckless in what he thinks he can get away with. Shootists may be loners, or not, but they most often work in teams of three. Triangulation ensures success. Triangulation compensates for glitches. The high low offense is set up for the assassination deterrent. It has three perimeter slots for the shooters. Every time down the floor is Dealy Plaza for an opponent, if you have three assassins to put on the floor. But the opponent never knows whether this trip is a dry run, or for real, whether the shootists are going to be ordered to do their jobs, or whether the ball is going inside to the plumbers. How Vick shakes out this season depends a lot on Greene’s hip, and Svi’s nerves. Shootists either have nerves of steel, or they are sociopaths lacking all emotions. Svi’s disastrous shooting season last year proves he has nerves that were not yet steel. If Svi’s nerves have been grown tempered this off season, Vick will play 10 mpg. If Svi’s nerves were irreversibly frayed, then Vick is a 15-20 minute man, maybe even if Perry swings 3/4.

    (4.) Selden is a black box with broad shoulders, a long first step, some touch outside, and the muscle and length to guard long 2s and short 3s. Self knows Selden is a walking injury. But Selden has proved he can guard injured and that is the bottom line for Self, when Selden was a 2. But now Selden is a 3 and Self knows Selden will have trouble with the best 3s that are 6-6 to 6-8, even during Wayne’s healthier moments. Hence, Perry has to be ready to play some 3 situationally, and some 3, if Wayne pays one of his frequent visits to the MASH unit. Self is NOT going to rely on Branden, or Svi, or Vick, at crunch times. If Selden can’t go at crunch times, Perry swings 3. Of course, this depends on Bragg being able to getter done and talented as Bragg is, Self’s palms sweat even thinking about having to rely on Bragg at crunch time.

    (5) It is both motivation and reality. With Self, always remember BOTH. He is squeezing the committee of Selden, Greene, Svi, and even Vick, who despite being able to hide behind a cross section of mylar, could wind up their at certain times because he can guard, whereas the others, excepting Selden, are works in progress that way. At the same time, however, none of these guys appear ready for a 40 minute dose of that rare guy at the 3; that near Michael Kidd-Gilchrist kind of freak that one usually runs into once or twice a season. So: for those times, and if none of the committee of the 3 stay healthy, or progress enough, Perry has to be prepared for what he should have been playing all along. Perry could be our Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at the 3, instead of a stretch 4 forced outside by blue meanies. But I am being a whiner here. Self knows his shizzle. If he says Perry can play 4 in the crunch, then I will ride along. What’s one more year, after my having to go along for the last three?

    (6) Traylor will play despite the lack of rebounding, when Self can scheme rebounding out of the other four guys. Remember, Self has this weird rebounding ace in the hole at the point guard. Self has Bill Bridges Lite handling the ball out front. If Bragg and Perry were in the game, both of whom can ding it from outside, then Self could pull them out, along with both wings, let one of those four shoot it, and actually rely on Frank Mason to beast the carom. It is feasible. Mason is a great rebounder locked up inside a point guard’s body.

    (7) We will never play faster, or slower, because the other team dictates our tempo, and as long as Self has a bunch of L&As most opponents will choose to play slow. But we will, at Self’s discretion, shoot sooner, or later, after crossing half court. Good Ball played in the WUGs is the quick trigger offense.

    (8) Nope. We never solved that problem with recruiting. We will only be able to score b2b, when Bragg is playing someone short and weak, or Perry is playing a non-blue meanie with slow feet that he can spin on.

    (9) I am as excited about the prospect of Bragg and Mickelson as Bragg and Perry. Both tandems pose big problems for the opponent. Bragg and Mick bring us “length” we haven’t seen for awhile, and a nice mixture of shot blocking and mobility that we haven’t had since TRob and Jeff in the run to the Finals. But as I said, Bragg and Perry bring two guys that can step out and pop, which was what made Marcus and Kieff such a potent duo. With good health among all our bigs, and reasonable progress with both Bragg and Mick, we are blessed. If either of Lucas, or Traylor, finding a steady journeyman game, we are sitting pretty every way but in scoring depth inside.

    (10) I like to think of cleaning up the game as real Mortadella from Italy, and recent attempts to clean it up as processed American baloney. Really cleaning the game up so that it became more about releasing the athleticism and speed of the remarkable athletes of today, along with forcing them back into benefitting from developing their fundamentals more than their muscles, this I would welcome as I would a visit from James Naismith. I believe there is some reason to worry about the game turning into a foul fest in regular season, but the widening of the lane could save us all. Why? Because the wider lane, coupled with calling touch fouls, is going to make coaches rely much more on sliding for defense, than on muscling. Thus the coaches will mostly have already anticipated this by working way more on sliding and way less on bodying. It could be a renaissance season. But I have learned to wait and see about such enthusiasms.

    Again, a great job of setting out the major issues as the season starts.

  • @Bosthawk or its a blind spot for him

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