OG making a leap as a help defender is HUGE. I know, I'm repeating myself. But I did sleep on it and it is still HUGE! Can't wait for small ball line-up experiment with him at C. Hitting his shots was great but those cuts are even better. Loved that one drive when he took Thad with first step from the right corner, went up strong and finished smoothly.
Matt Thomas - I'm just super comfortable with him. A deadly shooter but everything he does on offense looks tight, under control and fundamentally sound. He is more than a shooter but probably won't have much opportunity to show that on this roster. Doesn't mean he can't be super valuable.
I'm done with Stanley Johnson. You might say it is only three games but this is his 5th season in the NBA and he is still making basic, inexplicable mistakes on offense that are difficult to absorb even for a rookie. As far as I'm concerned we should give his minutes to Malcolm Miller and look to move Stanley ASAP. Him and RHJ + 2nd rounders could bring back Jae Crowder who'd fit nicely off the bench and is also expiring. We need more big wing depth after losing Kawhi and Green but Stanley and RHJ are not that. They are making Demarre Carroll look like LeBron.
One of the things Siakam has to learn how to do is manage his energy. Now that he has a huge load on offense, his defense is suffering as you can see him just lacking breath. The good thing is, he has teammates that can help him and he has the skills to be super useful on both ends without wasting energy. Nurse also has to help him by not playing him for super long stretches. Give him a break every 7-8 minutes of game time, never play him for entire quarter. Take him out after 7-8 minutes in first and depending on how things go, put him back in to finish the quarter or wait until 8-9 minute mark of second quarter. Repeat the same for second half and it adds up to 32-37 minutes of play, never in too long stretches but with enough flexibility to use him more if necessary. There are also timeouts and quarter breaks that happen at those times and give him a ton of rest.
Lowry, surprisingly so, looks quicker, faster and better than last year. Love that part. He also looks a bit fatter, I don't know how all of that can be true but it is. KLOE
Gasol seems to be coming back slowly and surely, playing him in back to back must be helping him sweat out the parades.
Ibaka is really good. He made a few mistakes out of short roll, overthinking and complicating but he found his way and kept it simple and great the rest of the way. Playmaking was never his strength, to put it mildly, but he is a complete player in his role
. And that role is well defined by Nurse so kudos to coach.
Can't wait for Norm to establish himself fully and join the crazy ass show as part of our next gen core of FVV, OG and Siakam.
There's a lot to be excited about with this team and yet there's just a presence of serenity, allowing everyone to enjoy the show and celebrate the championship while playing great, fast, team basketball. Just the perfect set of circumstances, especially when you get to see our young guys growing.
Rebounding will be fine as time goes by. Had similar issues at start of last year, ended up being one of our strengths, especially in key moments of 4th quarters and pivotal playoff games. Yes, Kawhi was huge there but it was always a team effort given our defensive scheme whose flexibility makes it super effective but requires extra focus and physicality to finish possessions.