Posts Tagged ‘Matt Barnes

08
Oct
09

Magic and Pistons:Who starts and comes off the bench?

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Trying to find playing time for every player on the bench is a sometimes daunting task for even some of the NBA’s best coaches. When teams are in a losing streak, sometimes coaches try and shake things up by alternating which players start and come off of the bench. Even on some rare occasions, management may decide to bring a star player back from injuries a little slow and limit their minutes by also bringing them from the bench. When the latter occurs, their is usually a backlash from the star player which sometimes creates irreparable harm to team chemistry and the player/coach relationship. For an example look no further than last season’s A.I./ Detroit Pistons fiasco.

Coach Stan Van Gundy, of the Eastern Conference Champion Orlando Magic has no such problem. He actually has a few players who prefer to ride the pine and be injected for instant offense or as a late game defensive specialist. I read recently that forward Mickael Pietrus, who was spectacular in the Magic’s postseason run, has told his head coach that he wants to come off the bench in games. Pietrus and newly acquired Matt Barnes were in a battle through training camp to decide who would be the starting small forward. It appears that Pietrus, who averaged 9.4 points in 24+ minutes mostly as a reserve last season, has stepped aside and made Van Gundy’s decision for him. Matt Barnes, who is entering his first season in Orlando, had been mostly a journeyman NBA player having been on 7 teams in his 6 seasons, before having perhaps his best season averaging double figures in scoring with Golden State last season. Known primarily for his defense, Barnes apparently found his offensive stroke by averaging 10.2 points while starting 40 games for the Warriors and seemed to flourish under coach Don Nelson’s system. Both Barnes and Pietrus are known to play excellent defense with Pietrus regularly getting the unenviable assignment of guarding the other team’s best player, like during the postseason when he did his best to contain Lebron and Kobe.

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Of course for the team’s first 10 games, all bets are off since Rashard Lewis who usually plays the PF spot, will not be available because of his steroid suspension and consequently will cause some roster shuffling. One would assume that Brandon Bass would take over the starting PF spot alongside Barnes or Pietrus at the 3 spot. Van Gundy may decide to go with a smaller lineup during those first ten games depending on the opponent and have Vince Carter play at SF with Jameer Nelson at SG, allowing Jason Williams some time at the point. Van Gundy definitely has some options with such deep team.

Rip hamilton

It is just refreshing to actually here a player comply with a coach’s wishes or volunteer to come off of the bench to achieve the team’s goal of winning a championship and not behave badly like Iverson’s multiple tirades(twicehe did it in Philly too when Chris Ford was coach) of taking offense at not starting. Detroit may be in for the same situation all over again with Rip Hamilton and new free agent Ben Gordon. Hamilton made it known that he also wasn’t kosher with a bench role along with A.I. last season. Gordon, I’m sure, came to Motown to start rather than be a reserve. If not, he is being handsomely paid for sitting on the bench. I speculate that Detroit isn’t big enough for the both of them and Hamilton will be traded before the season is up.

New Look Pistons Basketball

 




About the Author:

Allen Moll is an avid NBA and College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Allen also writes for thehoopdoctors.com, Bleacherreport.com, and UpperDeckblog.com.

Favorite teams include everything Philly, like Sixers, Eagles, Phillies, Villanova , St. Joe's , Hoops, LaSalle, and Lehigh University Hoops.

Contact info: mollallen@yahoo.com

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