actually, i guess i have seen this argument before. and while I appreciate the sincerity of it, i just don't buy it...at all. this team lost lots of games last year for a reason, and it wasn't just being young. this team needs an engine and leader on the floor. they were ranked last or near last in the league in offense and assists last year. that is pretty indicative of the fact they were both having trouble scoring and having trouble with the way they were doing it, despite solid scoring avgs for gay and mayo. i think there is a big difference between being able to create a shot for yourself and being able to fundamentally break down a defense (and that's not a knock on isolation offense). without ai on the floor, you just have finishers or guys that can do just enough to create space to score themselves, but not the wide open shots you get with a player that is getting into the lane every time down the floor. ai has been double and triple teamed his entire career not merely for his scoring prowess, but for his ability to fundamentally break down a defense, force fouls, score, and create wide-open shots for teammates.
apologies for belaboring the point, and i do appreciate you putting yourself out there.
however, in my view, it's not about shrill reactions after one game. most people are objecting to the ai off the bench theory when referencing conley. whether conley can be a productive player is not in question. he certainly is a talented youngster. it just seems obvious to most people that at this point he is not ready to be starting over a hall of famer, if indeed the debate is really about conley/ai at all. you point to a 36-game sample after his main competitor for minutes (kyle lowry) was traded. how does this 36-game sample compare to a hall-of-fame career? it just doesn't. in ai's worst season in an awful situation, his numbers are still better than conley's small 36 game sample where conley was at his best. further, it's one thing if you're suggesting that one game where a guy scores a lot of points where he is not game planned for is not that meaningful. it's an entirely different thing when said player is not game planned for, plays 32 minutes with the ball in his hands and puts up an ineffectual 3 and 3, and is still being promoted by writers as a better option to start than a hall of famer, who was signed to bring wins and to convince people to buy tix. maybe pairing ai with a true point makes sense, but i have not seen that argument presented. regardless, you must realize that the pairing of combo guards in ai and mayo is what excites most people.
the grizz bomb in their opener, particularly their guards. and yet your still advocating that the only all-star on the roster come off the bench?
has ai ever put up just 3 pts and 3 assists in over 30 minutes in a game? in the season opener at home no less? actually, at any level of basketball, ever? stop the madness! the only way this team competes is if ai is on the floor. PERIOD.
despite curry putting the ball in the hands of an unproven stuckey last year and creating an unnecessary conflict with rip and ai, ai was still the best piston guard, albeit underutilized, which was obvious to anyone with legitimate basketball sense. and these guards still on the pistons roster just embarrassed ours. i don't understand the logic. and i don't understand why any person in their right mind would advocate for a situation that went totally awry on an even better team last year. what don't you get? is this just obstinancy and local bias based on what/who you know from last year and resistance to change? because i fail to see anything of substance beyond hyberbole. yes, ai is 34. so what? he gives us the best chance to win and the fans want to see him play. how is this even a conversation?
absolutely ridiculous. you DO NOT bring the best player on your team off the bench in the nba and win. it's not about building around him. it's about putting your best player on the floor. and ai clearly is. the hope is obviously that rudy and oj grow into great players. and the best way to do that is by playing with one. and not watching him sit behind inferior players. nevermind that the fans have clearly shown that they are buying tix to see him play. people came in droves to celebrate his signing and have bought up tix since. it would be foolish at best and idiotic at worst for ai to come of the bench for this team.
thanks, chris. i do agree that a blend of offensive and defensive talent is a good idea regardless. however, there are rarely wholesale substitutions in the nba. you will hardly ever see the whole "second team" on the floor at once.
secondly, i think the national and local media are generally selling ai a bit short. i guess we will see when the regular season starts. but i think the notion that ai needs to play with as you say "offensive deferential players" to be effective is more myth than reality. i think that as long as he trusts that his teammates can finish, he is more than willing to give up the rock. and these young guys can finish. the more threats on the floor the better.
the author says, "Randolph has shown in the preseason that he can get several shots a game off his own offensive rebounds. Mayo can flourish in catch-and-shoot situations. Gay is a catch-and-shoot threat, but is even better as a catch-and-dunk threat." but then the author says ai's ball-dominating style is better with the others. to me i think the author has it backwards. personally, i think ai fits quite well with those guys considering his strengths. I think ai will help the offense immensely. his primary skill set is breaking down defenses. he can attack the basket and score. he can attack and hit mayo for the above mentioned catch and shoot. he can attack and hit gay for that catch and dunk. and randolph can finish too and clean up the offensive boards. i think ai is exactly what this team has been missing. someone that can create: attack a defense, break it down and feed these other finishers or finish himself.
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By MIcaela Watts, Josh Cannon, & Toby Sells
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