A loss is always painful, but this was worlds better than how we lost the last two. Memphis is a very good team, and while we eventually need to learn how to win on the road, I saw some positive things tonight. Just some subjective thoughts, no stats or anything.
Marc Gasol is really really good (I know, groundbreaking insight).
Mo Williams really has his personal offense going - outside shooting as well as penetration. The team offense is still sputtering around him as everyone seems a bit out of sorts. I doubt his assist/to ratio will be stellar but if he could cut down on some of those passes forced into heavy traffic it would be a big help. He really wants to carry this team but does not have the talent to do so (not a bad effort though), and will need the rest of the team to get their mojo going before this turns around.
I have a bit of a man-crush on Hayward. Really like the mix of outside shooting and penetration so far. He will never be Wade-like but I think he surprises people with his above average finishing. Throw in some above average defense and I am sold. He isn't performing anywhere near All-Star level but I think his ability to make plays among the current offensive confusion is promising (I'm betting it intensifies in a more functional system).
Marvin is struggling a bit. I cringed a couple times when he jacked up long 2 pointers. He missed some close ones, settled for a couple jumpers with open lanes, and I think he even overpassed once right under the rim to Favors who was covered. Not too worried about him to be honest, I think he bounces back.
Big Al is off to a slow start. Maybe he has trouble getting into a groove with reduced touches? If that is the case we should make AL THE CONQUEROR the primary offense for the 2nd unit and start Favors for defense but that is probably wishful thinking. Al seems to be playing hard (and even shot 50% tonight), but if we aren't running the offense through him, his porous D seems to outweigh the contributions he brings.
Millsap has been getting putbacks and swishing 3s, but the rest of his offensive game has been painful. Really think he has the potential to be lethal in the PNR but we don't seem to have a fluid one working at the moment. Seems like some of his touches are coming as isos and turnaround jumpers from posting which I am not crazy about.
Favors had some good plays and some real face-palm moments. Overall I think his impact was positive, but even if it wasn't I am ok with this. He is the main piece we got back for Deron and he needs to make these plays and mistakes if he is going to improve. We need to find out what we have. I really see him as a Tyson Chandler type. I hope his offense can be better, but he first needs to be able to catch those passes to get the easy ones...
The real reason for excitement is Ty Corbin and some crazy lineups. I am really happy he is willing to mix it up and try things (even though his exact choice was a bit odd). It signals he isn't going to settle for 8th seed and a sweep. We may swing and miss, but atleast we are swinging for something better. I think he played all our best players today, just not in the best combinations. I'm not upset because I want them all to get time but I also hope he continues to tweak and finds situations more conducive to success.
That 2nd quarter lineup was bizarre (Burks/Foye/Kanter/Favors/Evans) - just when we thought our favorite pups would never see the light of day he tries to throw them all on the court at the same time...That is a lineup full of unestablished guys. I am a bigger fan of mixing known commodities with the new/developing guys.
To play our best players we will need to have a Burks/Foye backcourt when Mo goes out - but Burks needs to be the one handling the ball. I was a big proponent of getting Foye PG time to help with sharing the minutes, but after seeing it in action it really isn't helping anyone. Burks is best at driving and Foye is best at spotup shooting so give Burks the ball. Maybe Burks can expand his game but he needs to build on what he does know to be successful. I'm not saying Burks will be the best pg ever, but other combo guards make it work and I think its the best chance to get him successful minutes.
Burks didn't get too much burn, but I thought it was an odd game to finally try our "no PG" lineup anyway considering Memphis probably has the best defensive backcourt in the NBA (and a legit Def anchor in gasol).
Kanter needs to learn how to pass before anyone will fear him in the post. Way too easy to double team - Kanter can't react to the defense just runs his go-to moves regardless. Looks like he has a decent mid range jumper and makes good plays on PNR D.