Next Year–Don’t Break Them Up, Follow the Spurs Model

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OK, last night was frustrating, not because of last night, but because I kept thinking–why didn’t they do this the easy way and play this hard in game 6.  Unlike what everyone on ESPN said, their legs weren’t gone. Yeah, they were/are tired, and they faded in the 4th quarter. But if they played tomorrow, they’d have another few quarters of legs and then get tired; it’s not because of the season, it’s because they are playing hard every game. If they played hard the first half of game 6, they might have willed themselves with the crowd at their back and an uncertain Miami team to the finals.

But, they way over-achieved this year. Add Bradley and Green and even O’Neil, and they beat Miami with Bosh.

So, next year, why not bring them back?  Here’s why they should:

1. Rondo is ready to be the NBA’s best point guard and an elite talent who is in the running to be the league’s MVP (because he’s going to practice jumpers all summer, right?), so start building the team around him. Draft guys who dunk off ‘oops. There are a lot of these guys out there; they are available late in the first round and late in the second round. These guys get better fast when they have a point guard like Rondo passing to them. Green and Bradley already provide two options.

2. There’s no transformation to occur next year, and rebuilding can happen while they play for one more year. (If Howard and Williams say they will take KG and Allen’s spots, or if Hibbert wants to be a Celtic, then of course…but none of that is happening). Stop signing veterans like Peaches, and start getting younger on the bench. Sign someone like Batum or anyone from the Warriors.

2. Green and Bradley would allow Allen to play a reduced role off the bench. (Would Allen do this? Would he take less money to do this? He’s not going to get anything better anywhere else.)

3. KG is still worth the big ticket/money. Elton Brandt made $17 million this year. Antawn Jamison made $15 million. Who’d you rather have at power forward? This one is a no brainer. Sign him to a one year deal and start grooming someone. But I don’t see a replacement for next year, so why not bring him back?

I know I’m not a GM. But GM’s, like managers in a range of professions, feel like they get paid to make changes fast. They need to look like they are doing something. This team isn’t sexy like the Heat or Thunder. But they won’t be the Heat unless they get Howard. And they won’t be the Thunder because they don’t have a succession of lottery picks. But they can be the Spurs, and get younger on the edges, while building around the veterans. Next year, the Bulls are likely out unless Rose comes back earlier than expected. The Heat? Who knows what happens if they lose to the Thunder (likely) or if they beat the Thunder and LeBron spends the off-season drinking. Indiana and Philadelphia aren’t ready yet. The East is still there for the Celtics.

 

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