Originally Posted by LX
There's just way too much looking for greener grass. Demar is still up for constant assesment. I see no problem with that, because he does still need to show that he can continue to grow with the team as a whole. But that doesn't mean he should be disqualified from being given the chance to show that, and frankly it's pretty much the same tank mindset that looks to bring in unproven talent in return for a guy that has proven to be a nice fit so far while not offering a lot of reasons to think he won't become more efficient and have more impact defensively.
deaner brings up a good point about his minutes. But he could have gone further with the point. In a ton of games he did prove to be quite efficient, while also looking to make other guys better. At points in fourth quarters he would take some poorer shots, and miss more than otherwise with fatigue taking some effect and defenses tightening up. He was also looked to as a guy that had to carry a bigger load in spite of his efficiency taking a hit, because there were not a lot of guys with good experience under pressure to help carry that load outside of Lowry, Salmons for a couple months, and Grievis for a couple months. At the same time it was hard not to notice that as his efficiency took a hit he did find other ways to make an impact. His defense was quite good in crunch time. He could be counted on to get to the line, which is invaluable in fourth quarters. And mentally he stayed strong, hitting a lot of timely shots and making more good decisions than bad.
So looking forward it is hard for me to see where this team fails to make a big jump once guys like Ross and Valančiūnas gain that much needed experience, and guys like Vasquez and Patterson are able to develop into their roles that much more reliably. The fact is that this team frayed quite a bit at the edges down the stretch as guys got knicked up and inexperience and lack of practice time showed their full effect. Demar did a hell of a job carrying the team under those circumstances. But i don't think anyone saw that as an ideal situation. Give all the new guys a full training camp, get the sophomores stronger physically, and suddenly you have a DeRozan that could fill a role where he is able to let the game come to him for a much greater percentage of his playing time, and impact the game in more ways. Again, if that fails to materialize, then you probably want to look at making moves. But the way i see it, there is the makings of a team that can really get it done playing as a team. Everyone buying in completely is an essential part of that, and DeMar and Lowry were the two guys that lead the way in getting that done. It was just the beginning. Let that buy in play out year after year and you get something special that can take on the Lebrons. The grass is pretty green here. Making overly critical value judgments at this point is not overly productive. Doing so could easily bite Masai in the ass as much as anything else.
You don't want this team to be on a treadmill right? Moving a guy that has shown he understands the team game, has committed himself to buying in to what is being built here step by step, and has sustained improvement since Casey arrived, for any number of players that might not fit or keep the fabric of the team as tightly knit, and you are likely going to see problems getting to that next level.
A lot of good points LX. The team game of San Antonio seems to be the template to follow, and as much as Casey accomplished this year, there are more pages from the Popovich manual he should follow. We did get ragged around the edges towards the end of the year, and a lot of that has to go to the minutes we played our starters. Casey needs to cut back on the minutes he plays Lowry, Demar and AJ. He needs to utilize the bench even more, force feeding them minutes. It might cost us on our regular season record, but we would be deeper and stronger come playoff time. To do that, Masai has to add to our depth, and Casey has to trust the Fields and Hansbrough's more. And even though, generally the team has bought in, the buy in isn't a 100% commitment of trust between the teammates yet. We still have too much sticking of the ball. I know I'll get howls, but the worst stickers are Demar and Val. Demar because he's prone to relying first on his own skill-set, Val because he's still uncertain about what to do, he's over-anxious to prove that he can be a big-time piece and he's uncertain that if he moves the ball. he'll get it back. And Casey should also start using another Spurs trait- maximum 2 dribbles before you move the ball, and ideally the pass should be made in .5 secs. We've have too many plays that used the majority of the shot clock- that means too much ball-sticking, and often results in a poor shot choice or a late in the shot clock turnover. The Spurs have demonstrated team basket ball to a T. Tapes of those games could be Casey's teachung tool.