I have vacillated a few times on the topic of our rotations, but now that the roster is all-but finalized, I've arrived at some new conclusions. Without Beasley (after already being down Durant, Jordan, Chandler and Prince), I think we need to shift to a full-time small-ball look. Opposing teams will punish us on the boards, but since we don't have great size anyway, we might as well lean in and attempt to make them pay on the other end. Also, we're never going to get our 10 best active players the minutes they merit on this roster unless we play some 4-guard sets.
There is no point in tanking; the hope would have been to hang onto our lotto-protected pick, but we'll never drop to within 4 games of WAS and force a postseason play-in scenario. The Wizards are just too awful to close our 6-game lead over them, and they look poised to lose every single Bubble game. Like it or not, our best bet is just to roll out our best lineups, and let the chips fall where they may.
Assuming everyone who is fully healthy now stays that way, here's how I would like it:
STARTERS (mpg in parentheses)
PG: Chiozza (28) - he is the only player on the roster who actually looks like a prototypical 1, but he starts primarily because he and Caris have such a strong impact on winning when they are on the court together. Chris seems to know where to spot up for LeVert as a pressure-release valve when CLV is cookin', and also finds open looks for him on the perimeter.
SG: Johnson (26) - presuming health and system fit, I see his utilitarian, low-usage, high-efficiency game fitting in well with the starters. He's a versatile defender and a competent rebounder, to boot.
SF: LeVert (34) - our star / de facto PG, we'll go as far in this bubble tourney as KRS-One takes us. We may want to see him on the court all 48 minutes, but with games every 72 hours we just can't risk burning him out before the playoffs.
PF: Harris (30) - he too would normally get more PT with a roster this bereft of talent, but he's going to be giving max effort on both ends, and the schedule allows very little rest. He'll take a bruising from most 4's, but he could be a handful for them to check when he's running through screens on offense.
C: Allen (32) - the lynchpin to our 4-out, 1-in approach. He will need to stay home defensively and become a feared rim protector, because our guards will funnel all dribble-drive action to him. He'll also need to attack the glass like a man possessed. Since he's extension-eligible this offseason, he should remember Kawhi's words: BOARDMAN GETS PAID!
PG: Crawford (22) - as the primary ball-handler of the 2nd unit, it will be his show to run. We surround him with two solid 3&D wings, and hope the layoff puts a spring in his step. It's not Spencer, and it certainly isn't Kyrie, but at his best with the right supports, his presence could turn a game in our favor.
SG: Temple (18) - the grizzled vet jack-of-all-trades can be a secondary ball-handler and perfunctory playmaker. However his main role will be to be the captain, calling out assignments and keeping the reserves cohesive.
SF: Cabarrot (20) - he has shown versatility, and we'll need him to moonlight as our emergency PF. His main jobs will be hitting the short corner and disrupting the opposition's hot hand.
PF: Kurucs (16) - a confident Rodi would solve our size issues in the starting lineup. I don't know that that version of him is available right now. Still, he's a willing defender and a lithe, long body, perfect for 3rd-string C duties.
C: Hall (14) - unproven at this level and without a strong relationship within the organization, his minutes will come, but not DJ's share. Energy and aggression will need to be his calling card, and his style of play could add the right boost of adrenaline to a very laid-back team.
Some people really have a way with words. Other people... not... have... way.
-- Steve Martin