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Next year: how much better can we be?

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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#81 » by long suffrin' boulez fan » Wed May 20, 2020 3:37 am

We have one big governor on our success. Scott Brooks. We’ll only ever be so good with him as coach.
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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#82 » by Ruzious » Wed May 20, 2020 3:49 pm

Tell ya what - if Wall comes back strong with a 3 point shot (like Tommy said he has), and we have a good draft and maybe steal a prospect through the G League (CCJ mentioned Justin Patton) - it could be a lot of fun watching the Wiz.

This waiting around with no time-table is hard to take, but I trust Silver and understand it's hard. I can't imagine they will continue the regular season, so at least have the draft lottery soon. Wiz get the first pick and trade down - twice! Then I wake up.
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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#83 » by nate33 » Wed May 20, 2020 4:15 pm

long suffrin' boulez fan wrote:We have one big governor on our success. Scott Brooks. We’ll only ever be so good with him as coach.

I don't think Brooks is the problem. He's not a terrible coach. He's not great either, but he's good enough to match up with the other mediocre coaches in this league. In my opinion, there are only 5 or 6 truly good coaches who can significantly boost the win total of a team above it's talent level. Brooks isn't one of them, but that's no crime.

I agree that we are getting close to the time when we should switch coaches. It's not out of some growing hatred of Brooks or anything. It's just that most players tend to tune out their coach after a couple of years once they've learned everything they're going to learn from them. I think we are at that point with Brooks. Swapping him for another mediocre coach would be a benefit because at least it would be a NEW mediocre coach.
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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#84 » by dckingsfan » Wed May 20, 2020 6:19 pm

nate33 wrote:
long suffrin' boulez fan wrote:We have one big governor on our success. Scott Brooks. We’ll only ever be so good with him as coach.

I don't think Brooks is the problem. He's not a terrible coach. He's not great either, but he's good enough to match up with the other mediocre coaches in this league. In my opinion, there are only 5 or 6 truly good coaches who can significantly boost the win total of a team above it's talent level. Brooks isn't one of them, but that's no crime.

I agree that we are getting close to the time when we should switch coaches. It's not out of some growing hatred of Brooks or anything. It's just that most players tend to tune out their coach after a couple of years once they've learned everything they're going to learn from them. I think we are at that point with Brooks. Swapping him for another mediocre coach would be a benefit because at least it would be a NEW mediocre coach.

Here is the "thing" with the new mediocre coach that we need.

He needs to limit Wall/Beal's minutes to 32ish. Doable for a new mediocre coach?
He needs to implement a better defensive schema for this collective crew. Doable for a new mediocre coach?
He needs to keep Wall from pounding the ball and Wall/Beal from playing hero ball at the end of games. Doable for a new mediocre coach?

Or would that make him a good coach?
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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#85 » by nate33 » Wed May 20, 2020 6:47 pm

dckingsfan wrote:
nate33 wrote:
long suffrin' boulez fan wrote:We have one big governor on our success. Scott Brooks. We’ll only ever be so good with him as coach.

I don't think Brooks is the problem. He's not a terrible coach. He's not great either, but he's good enough to match up with the other mediocre coaches in this league. In my opinion, there are only 5 or 6 truly good coaches who can significantly boost the win total of a team above it's talent level. Brooks isn't one of them, but that's no crime.

I agree that we are getting close to the time when we should switch coaches. It's not out of some growing hatred of Brooks or anything. It's just that most players tend to tune out their coach after a couple of years once they've learned everything they're going to learn from them. I think we are at that point with Brooks. Swapping him for another mediocre coach would be a benefit because at least it would be a NEW mediocre coach.

Here is the "thing" with the new mediocre coach that we need.

He needs to limit Wall/Beal's minutes to 32ish. Doable for a new mediocre coach?
He needs to implement a better defensive schema for this collective crew. Doable for a new mediocre coach?
He needs to keep Wall from pounding the ball and Wall/Beal from playing hero ball at the end of games. Doable for a new mediocre coach?

Or would that make him a good coach?


The oddsmakers predicted the Wizards to finish with 27 wins. They finished on pace for 31, so Brooks did something right. And they did it despite giving tank commander Isaiah Thomas a permanent starting position.

Also, Beal "pounding the ball" led the team to the 12th best offense in the league despite having easily the worst 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th starter in the league. How many teams started worse players than Isaiah Thomas and Bonga? Our second best player, Bryant, wouldn't even start on half the teams in the league.

I'm not trying to defend Brooks. I don't think he's awesome or anything. But I think you are deluding yourself if you think that a different coach would have made much difference in our record.
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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#86 » by dckingsfan » Wed May 20, 2020 8:39 pm

nate33 wrote:
dckingsfan wrote:
nate33 wrote:I don't think Brooks is the problem. He's not a terrible coach. He's not great either, but he's good enough to match up with the other mediocre coaches in this league. In my opinion, there are only 5 or 6 truly good coaches who can significantly boost the win total of a team above it's talent level. Brooks isn't one of them, but that's no crime.

I agree that we are getting close to the time when we should switch coaches. It's not out of some growing hatred of Brooks or anything. It's just that most players tend to tune out their coach after a couple of years once they've learned everything they're going to learn from them. I think we are at that point with Brooks. Swapping him for another mediocre coach would be a benefit because at least it would be a NEW mediocre coach.

Here is the "thing" with the new mediocre coach that we need.

He needs to limit Wall/Beal's minutes to 32ish. Doable for a new mediocre coach?
He needs to implement a better defensive schema for this collective crew. Doable for a new mediocre coach?
He needs to keep Wall from pounding the ball and Wall/Beal from playing hero ball at the end of games. Doable for a new mediocre coach?

Or would that make him a good coach?


The oddsmakers predicted the Wizards to finish with 27 wins. They finished on pace for 31, so Brooks did something right. And they did it despite giving tank commander Isaiah Thomas a permanent starting position.

Also, Beal "pounding the ball" led the team to the 12th best offense in the league despite having easily the worst 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th starter in the league. How many teams started worse players than Isaiah Thomas and Bonga? Our second best player, Bryant, wouldn't even start on half the teams in the league.

I'm not trying to defend Brooks. I don't think he's awesome or anything. But I think you are deluding yourself if you think that a different coach would have made much difference in our record.

Well, I am delusional - but that is an entirely different issue :D

But hit those other points I brought up as well. Limiting Wall/Beal minutes? A better defensive schema?

And then you missed the forest for the trees where I was making fun of myself - guess green font is my friend.
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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#87 » by Chocolate City Jordanaire » Wed May 20, 2020 8:42 pm

You're right.

Nate and doc are both wrong.

I'm going for blunt and all the way right or wrong. No in between. Rui is a scorer, a poor man's Carmelo Anthony.
Ruzious wrote:Tbh, I quit on him before his rookie year. I think he can - and will - be a solid offensive player and a poor defender. Granted, if hard work can change that, he'll become a good player. I just don't know if it can overcome his poor defensive instincts.


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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#88 » by Chocolate City Jordanaire » Wed May 20, 2020 8:46 pm

miller31time wrote:
doclinkin wrote:
nate33 wrote:I'm going to buck the trend here. I really like Rui and think he will evolve into an above-average 2-way player.


I'm gonna second this.

Work ethic is a talent. Looking at Rui's progression and listening to those who know him best, I think we will see consistent improvement from this highly talented player. His game has radically adjusted based on his role, whether in international play or with Gonzaga. With Japan and as a youth he was a face-up attacking player who molded his game from highlights of Carmelo Anthony after seeing video of his Olympic play. You can see a lot of that in his game. At Big Man University Mark Few is notable for building highly skilled frontcourt players. Skilled if not physically dominant. As a rookie Coach Few said that for all that Rui was dominant in practice and a workout demon he couldn't play him in games because he didn't speak english. He learned. Damn quickly. His minutes went 130 as a Freshman, 765 sophomore starting only 2 games, to 1117 playing 30 mpg, starting all 37 games as teams scoring focal point as a junior. As his usage increased his TS and EFG% and all advanced metrics improved as well. His role on that team was as their primary scorer, where ~30% of their offense flowed through his hands, and despite teams loading up to stop him he still scored super efficiently.

You want to quit on a guy after his rookie season? Yes rebounding and positional defense are not his strengths. He has shown good talent in one on one defense, but the players who are best at these skills are players who have been playing team ball their whole life. It's tough to practice rebounding by watching highlights. It's impossible to practice team defense by yourself in a gym. Is unlikely that a rookie with a strong work ethic will improve?

He scored easily early on then the scouts attacked his game. Then he struggled. He extended his range and started hitting threes, then scouts learned to attack him there and he struggled. Then the season was axed. Could he have adjusted again? Yeah probably. He needed to add a two-man game to spring free for easy buckets when good defenders get into his routine.

But If you look at his player-pair on/off numbers he played best next to Ish Smith and Shabazz Napier. And Isaac Bonga. Guys who pass. And hey we are adding Professor Wall back from a sabbatical of film study and a coaching apprenticeship. Pretty sure he can find a way to feature an active Big who is not intimidated by any situation and wants to work hard to please the collective. Coaches. Teammates. Fans. DC. And all of Japan.

Why are we trying to quit on him right now? Who says he is overrated. As a rookie. Show me how is he even properly 'rated'. I think he shows strong in his 3rd year like most players do. And if not? I'll say: cool, we ink him for a cheaper 2nd contract. Then he takes over. Because looking at the things he has been adjusting on court I have seen him changing and altering and learning and translating coach speak into small adjustments. Even while playing next to a hero-ball me first player who blew a crater in anything team related on either side of the ball. How is any player going to learn good team defense next to the ghost of Isaiah Thomas?

I think he's going to positively surprise the fans who are jumping to be first to bail on the guy. While teams are idle the only things a player can reliably work on with coaches is their body, and their jumper. No chance Rui comes back stronger? With more range? Because the guy who coaches had to force to stop practicing and working out so as not to overwork himself -- because that guy is going to get lazy?


Good post, Doc. I agree with you (and Nate and others) that we have something special in Rui.

And our good friend WizKev, aka Nivek aka TheSecretWeapon aka Mr. Broom agrees.
Historical comps from my historical doppelganger machine seem about right for a player who was an average producer but still has a lot of work to do on his game. They include a collection of “good-not-great” and “not so good” like Aaron Gordon, Jabari Parker, Ryan Gomes, Marvin Williams, Michael Finley and TJ Warren.

Considering Hachimura’s anachronistic penchant for midrange jumpers, it’s appropriate that one of his top comps is former Bullet John Williams.


Like I said above, he's a good scorer.

Rui is as good as John Williams, better at scoring but not as good a handle or passing. Rui is obviously more fit and a little taller.

Good but not and never will be great.



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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#89 » by Chocolate City Jordanaire » Wed May 20, 2020 8:47 pm

You guys are right.
payitforward wrote:
Ruzious wrote:
nate33 wrote:I'm going to buck the trend here. I really like Rui and think he will evolve into an above-average 2-way player.

I'd be happy to lose that argument and eat crow year after year. You all don't know what it's like to be right all the time - it's the cross I bare. :dontknow:

Given that Ruz & I often agree, it can't be denied that he's often right.

More seriously, I imagine we'd all like for Rui to become a tremendous player. We'd all like him to become a really good player. But, his only real job next year is to improve significantly.

You can't ask this kid to live up to some arbitrary set of expectations -- after all, he didn't choose himself in the draft!

Moreover, it's not Rui's fault that his Gonzaga teammate Brandon Clarke dropped to the 21st spot then made every team from 3-20 look like idiots (especially since it was one of top 2 draft picking teams which did take him -- w/ their 2d choice!).


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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#90 » by Chocolate City Jordanaire » Wed May 20, 2020 8:54 pm

McGee starts ahead of Dwight Howard. He's got two rings and has a decent chance at another THIS season.

Just ignore his 33 point, 20 rebound, 6 block game.

Ignore his rebounding percentage and effective rebounding percentage being career best.

Ignore PER and WS/48.

Ignore his minutes for Golden State and the Lakers.

When McGee plays another 5 years and wins another title or two I hope we're still debating this. McGee is skilled and a much better basketball player than he's been given credit.


bsilver wrote:Rui - what Doc said
Brandon Clarke - what PIF said, and said, and said.....
Javale McGee - what qeridiculo said, but I like McGee and happy he's stuck around the league
Mitchell Robinson - I liked him for our 15th pick instead of TBjr, but like Brown now. I think our coaching gets in the way of player development.


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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#91 » by Chocolate City Jordanaire » Wed May 20, 2020 8:56 pm

I think Brooks was good this past season. I like the way the team played once Thomas was out of the lineup.
nate33 wrote:
long suffrin' boulez fan wrote:We have one big governor on our success. Scott Brooks. We’ll only ever be so good with him as coach.

I don't think Brooks is the problem. He's not a terrible coach. He's not great either, but he's good enough to match up with the other mediocre coaches in this league. In my opinion, there are only 5 or 6 truly good coaches who can significantly boost the win total of a team above it's talent level. Brooks isn't one of them, but that's no crime.

I agree that we are getting close to the time when we should switch coaches. It's not out of some growing hatred of Brooks or anything. It's just that most players tend to tune out their coach after a couple of years once they've learned everything they're going to learn from them. I think we are at that point with Brooks. Swapping him for another mediocre coach would be a benefit because at least it would be a NEW mediocre coach.


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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#92 » by Chocolate City Jordanaire » Wed May 20, 2020 8:57 pm

I will agree and defend Brooks.

Last season was his best as Wizards coach.
nate33 wrote:
dckingsfan wrote:
nate33 wrote:I don't think Brooks is the problem. He's not a terrible coach. He's not great either, but he's good enough to match up with the other mediocre coaches in this league. In my opinion, there are only 5 or 6 truly good coaches who can significantly boost the win total of a team above it's talent level. Brooks isn't one of them, but that's no crime.

I agree that we are getting close to the time when we should switch coaches. It's not out of some growing hatred of Brooks or anything. It's just that most players tend to tune out their coach after a couple of years once they've learned everything they're going to learn from them. I think we are at that point with Brooks. Swapping him for another mediocre coach would be a benefit because at least it would be a NEW mediocre coach.

Here is the "thing" with the new mediocre coach that we need.

He needs to limit Wall/Beal's minutes to 32ish. Doable for a new mediocre coach?
He needs to implement a better defensive schema for this collective crew. Doable for a new mediocre coach?
He needs to keep Wall from pounding the ball and Wall/Beal from playing hero ball at the end of games. Doable for a new mediocre coach?

Or would that make him a good coach?


The oddsmakers predicted the Wizards to finish with 27 wins. They finished on pace for 31, so Brooks did something right. And they did it despite giving tank commander Isaiah Thomas a permanent starting position.

Also, Beal "pounding the ball" led the team to the 12th best offense in the league despite having easily the worst 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th starter in the league. How many teams started worse players than Isaiah Thomas and Bonga? Our second best player, Bryant, wouldn't even start on half the teams in the league.

I'm not trying to defend Brooks. I don't think he's awesome or anything. But I think you are deluding yourself if you think that a different coach would have made much difference in our record.


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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#93 » by Chocolate City Jordanaire » Wed May 20, 2020 8:59 pm

Wall coming back from Achilles tendon woes will automatically limit his minutes.

I'm looking forward to John's return. Might be his most effective ball is yet to be played.
dckingsfan wrote:
nate33 wrote:
dckingsfan wrote:Here is the "thing" with the new mediocre coach that we need.

He needs to limit Wall/Beal's minutes to 32ish. Doable for a new mediocre coach?
He needs to implement a better defensive schema for this collective crew. Doable for a new mediocre coach?
He needs to keep Wall from pounding the ball and Wall/Beal from playing hero ball at the end of games. Doable for a new mediocre coach?

Or would that make him a good coach?


The oddsmakers predicted the Wizards to finish with 27 wins. They finished on pace for 31, so Brooks did something right. And they did it despite giving tank commander Isaiah Thomas a permanent starting position.

Also, Beal "pounding the ball" led the team to the 12th best offense in the league despite having easily the worst 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th starter in the league. How many teams started worse players than Isaiah Thomas and Bonga? Our second best player, Bryant, wouldn't even start on half the teams in the league.

I'm not trying to defend Brooks. I don't think he's awesome or anything. But I think you are deluding yourself if you think that a different coach would have made much difference in our record.

Well, I am delusional - but that is an entirely different issue :D

But hit those other points I brought up as well. Limiting Wall/Beal minutes? A better defensive schema?

And then you missed the forest for the trees where I was making fun of myself - guess green font is my friend.


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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#94 » by payitforward » Thu May 21, 2020 2:14 am

nate33 wrote:The oddsmakers predicted the Wizards to finish with 27 wins. They finished on pace for 31, so Brooks did something right. And they did it despite giving tank commander Isaiah Thomas a permanent starting position....

This is an extremely solid point nate is making. I don't see how it can be denied -- or even doubted.

I've already documented it at the beginning of this thread, but IT alone seems to have cost us @4 wins vs. an average player in the league.

Conclusion: in one off season & at essentially no cost, Tommy made us a better team! Quite a bit better, really -- except for IT.

nate33 wrote:...Also, Beal "pounding the ball" led the team to the 12th best offense in the league despite having easily the worst 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th starter in the league. How many teams started worse players than Isaiah Thomas and Bonga? Our second best player, Bryant, wouldn't even start on half the teams in the league.

These statements, OTOH, I question. For starters, Brad's a terrific player, but all by himself he couldn't have done what you seem to claim he did.

Bonga wasn't a bad player or even a bad starter this season. In fact, he was quite good. His numbers on offense were far from bad -- they were terrific, though to be sure on low usage: 2 point % of 57.4%. 3 point % of 40%. FT% 81.2% -- those numbers can't be ignored! Especially when you take into account that he got almost as many offensive boards as he had missed shots! & got almost as many steals as he had turnovers. Plus, he was quite a good defender as far as I was able to tell watching the games.

Ditto Bryant: you can criticize him defensively, but on offense? No. He was almost as good on offense as he was the previous year.

Even IT, bad as he was on defense, was about NBA average as an offensive PG.

nate33 wrote:I'm not trying to defend Brooks. I don't think he's awesome or anything. But I think you are deluding yourself if you think that a different coach would have made much difference in our record.

Agree 100%. There were no rabbits in any of the hats.
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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#95 » by doclinkin » Thu May 21, 2020 4:24 am

nate33 wrote:
long suffrin' boulez fan wrote:We have one big governor on our success. Scott Brooks. We’ll only ever be so good with him as coach.

I don't think Brooks is the problem. He's not a terrible coach. He's not great either, but he's good enough to match up with the other mediocre coaches in this league. In my opinion, there are only 5 or 6 truly good coaches who can significantly boost the win total of a team above it's talent level. Brooks isn't one of them, but that's no crime.

I agree that we are getting close to the time when we should switch coaches. It's not out of some growing hatred of Brooks or anything. It's just that most players tend to tune out their coach after a couple of years once they've learned everything they're going to learn from them. I think we are at that point with Brooks. Swapping him for another mediocre coach would be a benefit because at least it would be a NEW mediocre coach.


I think this team could do significantly better with good coaching. Specifically on defense, but also on some offensive concepts. The team is young, and Scotty is known as a developmental coach. What that seems to mean in his case is that he motivates young players and keeps them focused and positive even through struggles. His teams tend not to have toxic chemistry issues.

But what he does not do is teach advanced and thoughtful schemes. His teams tend to win on enthusiasm and whatever skills they already have, rather than developing solid winning technique and understanding concepts.

Thing is, AS a young team we need leadership and teaching. It is not enough to get out of the way and let the young cats play. We need correction and instruction. And we need lessons that will stick. Now that the league has eliminated back-to-backs, coaches don't have the regular gaps in the schedule where coaches used to ink a coaching day to reaffirm concepts and work on problems. That means we need a culture that teaches players swiftly, and corrects mistakes as soon as they happen, in words the player can retain and implement. The trips down to the G-League can help that, for players in their first couple years, if we have uniformity of coaching concepts, but we have young veterans who are a couple years into the league playing like they just met their teammates.

And the problem is not going to improve when we are suddenly letting in the high school hypertalents.

Popovich succeeds by creating a culture from the ground up, and teaching those fundamentals at every level. He succeeds by consistency over time. He will flex his offense with the personnel he has, but defense remains the same. If a player can't play within his concepts you swiftly see the team move them off the roster.

We need a change not because we need a new mediocre. We need a change to set the foundation of a winning mindset and habits. Scotty's teams always flamed out in the playoffs, nomatter how supernova the talent. It is simply not enough to roll the ball out there and say 'you got this'. You have to find the synergy in what your players can and cannot do.

You can suggest that Brooks was hamstrung by having IT on the team, but it was Scotty who played him a ridiculous number of minutes. Even through bone headed hero play. Even if Brooks and his staff were actually teaching solid defense, he would be undermining his own lessons by letting a player like this get away with ignoring the fundamentals. What lesson would a young cat learn from this? That the rules are different for you than they are for an oldhead who plays selfish me-first ball trying to recapture former glory?

No. This team needs help. They need cohesion. They need direction. They need to understand each other's strengths and weaknesses and find their roles. That all comes from coaching.

If we had a Larry Brown, a Thibodeaux, a Carlisle, I think you wouldn't see the same doubt about the defensive limitations of a guy like Hachimura. If we had Dave Joerger even, I think you would see sudden improvement in defense and team play on that end. Coaching matters. it matters most for young players who have not yet learned bad habits and still have the capacity to improve. Ted won't make any switch quickly and Tommy is a nice guy who likes everyone he ever meets, but from my viewpoint sooner is better than later if you can find a real upgrade. You saw how the Bucks found swift improvement after a coaching change. The Raptors as well, even while they were already experiencing some success. Mediocre is the lazy friend who discourages you from getting your ass off the couch to go make something of your life. Because he just wants company down here in teh suck. I don't want another mediocre coach. I want a damn good one. I wish Scotty were scouting coaching ranks as intensely as he does on-court talent.
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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#96 » by doclinkin » Thu May 21, 2020 5:33 am

Ruzious wrote:Tbh, I quit on him before his rookie year. I think he can - and will - be a solid offensive player and a poor defender. Granted, if hard work can change that, he'll become a good player. I just don't know if it can overcome his poor defensive instincts.


I will say this. Then and now I don't think you're seeing what you think you're seeing. You say poor defensive instincts. I say language barrier and learning curve.

Just three years ago Coach Mark Few said he was unplayable because he simply did not understand the language. In his freshman year he played what like 100 something minutes. As a soph: 700 some odd starting only a handful of games. As a Junior he played 1100 minutes, started every game, and accounted for like 30% of team usage while scoring a remarkably high TS% and eFG%.

Note that in FIBA play, with the Japanese team, he is lauded as a tough 2 way player. And if you watch the games he is communicating with teammates and all are helping each other out and moving well as a unit.

It's language more than instinct.

Granted he is still relatively new to the game, and as I said you can't learn team defense from highlights. But you can learn defense. Kevin Broome formerly of this board has his story about interviewing Carlisle, asking how Rip Hamilton went from a mediocre defender with the Bull/zards to a solid defender with the championship Pistons. Carlisle said with the right rules you can teach anyone to defend, as long as they have some basic tools of athleticism.

Rui has those basic tools. Huge suction cup hands, soccer quick lateral movement. Long wingspan. Natural strength that will only continue to improve with professional training staff. The rest is just proper instruction. And team chemistry.


payitforward wrote:I think we would all love to see this kid succeed -- for the team, of course, but also b/c he seems to be such an outstanding young guy! Not just his work ethic but his demeanor... just a really high quality young man.

I'm not sure confident predictions of what he is going to do, based on your personal crystal ball, does him all that much of a favor.


Okay a two-fer here. Might as well consolidate before I decide whether to go in on my good friend Ken from Hawaii /PG.

My belief is based not on any oracular mumblings and thrown chicken bones. But on a few factors. Observation, quick-slicing assessment of micro gestures and physical signature, and squinty eyed confirmation bias of a few suggestive stats.

I'll diagram these in reverse order.

Stats. One ineffable quality that makes players succeed in the league is will-to-work. But that is tricky to measure. How do you know if a living Blue Angel fighter jet like James Flight White, or a human jackhammer like Darvin Ham are going to succeed or flame out? How do you know if a Wilt Chamberlainesque physical marvel like I-can-dunk-basketballs-in-side-by-side-hoops-simultaneously JaVale and-also-palm-two-basketballs-in-one-hand-so-I-can-dunk-three-in-one-leap McGee -- {exhale}-- how do you know if he will live up to the example of his gritty ass kicking mama, or if he will perpetually be a late bloomer always just about to break out?

Tough to tell. But it is why I like to look at the stats of players who stay in school a few years. Are they improving in certain key stats? Or do they have stubborn bad habits that show up in the record and don't budge.

In the case of Rui, his stats showed stunning improvement from year to year. Okay, you can say they did in every stat but rebounding. Even then, as a freshman he was a solid rebounder in the (statistically insignificant) minutes he played. Rebounding was pretty much the thing he could do. But Gonzaga had solid rebounders. They are Big Man boot camp at this point. And in that 3 year stretch pulled in older transfers who assumed prominent front court roles. That was not the role detailed for Rui. Brandon Clarke had the Crash Forward role all sewn up.

Still, while Rui's usage increased, so did his efficiency. That does not tend to happen. And as he became a focal point of the offense, his TO% even decreased a tiny bit. That does not happen. His personal fouls per 100 plummeted, what you hope to see as a player learns. And here is a key for defensive skill. Oddly enough the skill that seems to translate as predictive on defense for front court players is not blocks but actually assists. It makes sense if you think about it. A player who can pass well is usually one who can read both teams at once. If a player is sufficiently big and athletic enough to play in an NBA front court, then what they need most is simply that read/recognize software more than anything.

Now we can doubt if Rui has that. Or wonder if he has capacity to learn it. But the stats suggest he is still learning. His Assist % went from 3 to 5 to 9. Keeping that progression why this year he'd have a 16% assist rate if he had only stayed in school :clown:

But he is here now. So. Should we discount him on an up and down rookie season? where he showed the testicular fortitude to return after getting kicked in the testicular fortitudes. He did show flashes of skill at both ends. Seemed verbally willing to call himself out on his shortfalls and determination to listen to coaches and improve. So at least that carried over.

The only question then to me is, does he have the talent to match his will to work and ability to improve.

You tell me. Here he is matched up with MVP Greek freak late in the season after recovery from getting kicked in the Bongas. Giannis is a player that he said he has been studying, along with Kawhi, because he would like to pattern his defensive game on theirs. Let's see if his film study paid off in game effect:



There are a number of good signs in this of showing and recovering and muscling up on the MVP. But to me the key sequence is at 3:18 where he challenges Giannis then stays with him to prevent him from earning the paint. His lateral here is impressive. Giannis has a Eurostep that will carry him to central Asia then back to the Mediterranean. But here Rui matches him step for step. In post game interviews Bucks coaches said Rui impressed them as playing Giannis as well as anybody in the league. Brooks said he told Rui to challenge him and Rui stepped up and did.

As with many talented rooks, he is better in one-on-one match ups than in team concepts. But that is all on coaching. And to some extent on personnel. If we had a defensive captain to direct him where to be and teach him on court then we would see him learning on the fly. If we had coaches who did not allow veteran players to get away with terrible effort and bad habits we would have young players who were rewarded for their effort on D and not have 23 seconds of hard work blown up by a lazy player who allowed the defense to collapse on their side of the court.

What I'm saying on Rui is, as far as I'm concerned I've seen flashes of things I do like. And given the team around him,and given his steeper than most learning curve, I am willing to suspend instincts to judge quickly and harshly, because I think this kid has the one intangible that is needed for any player to maximize their outlier potential: desire to improve. Will to work. So far I think this kid has shown it.
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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#97 » by doclinkin » Thu May 21, 2020 5:49 am

Chocolate City Jordanaire wrote:You're right.

Nate and doc are both wrong.

I'm going for blunt and all the way right or wrong. No in between.



My man the Hawaiian polar bear. Always as willing to be loud wrong as loud right. And loudly admitting it when proven wrong. And occasionally loudly lewd, then swiftly covered up with a bit of God and Grace :)

I will say, lets not mistake certitude for accuracy here. We are seeing a surge in players in the league who came late to the game but are developing quickly. Especially as guys like Luke Mba a Moute and Masaii Ujiri begin to unearth powerful talents in the mother continent. Players like Paskal Siakham came to the game late at age 16. He was raw coming into the league. His development has been the key to his success. The same can be said about Giannis though he started early, still it is his effort that took him over the top.

I would say don't count out a young cat too quickly. Late bloomers happen in basketball. The same way I would caution you not to fall in love with yet another fat man low post player from Georgetown. (Michael Sweetney. Jahidi White...). We all have our areas where we are quick to judge, one way or the other. In your case you like the ground bound big guys, and throw out players who are just a little too pretty :clown:
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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#98 » by payitforward » Thu May 21, 2020 1:40 pm

Chocolate City Jordanaire wrote:McGee starts ahead of Dwight Howard. He's got two rings and has a decent chance at another THIS season.

Just ignore his 33 point, 20 rebound, 6 block game.

Ignore his rebounding percentage and effective rebounding percentage being career best.

Ignore PER and WS/48.

Ignore his minutes for Golden State and the Lakers.

When McGee plays another 5 years and wins another title or two I hope we're still debating this. McGee is skilled and a much better basketball player than he's been given credit.
bsilver wrote:Rui - what Doc said
Brandon Clarke - what PIF said, and said, and said.....
Javale McGee - what qeridiculo said, but I like McGee and happy he's stuck around the league
Mitchell Robinson - I liked him for our 15th pick instead of TBjr, but like Brown now. I think our coaching gets in the way of player development.

I agree with CCJ -- I didn't like the pick of McGee in 2008, but by his 4th year (last with us) it was obvious that he was an extremely effective NBA player, & that's how his career has turned out.

For a Center, Javale is a slightly above average defensive rebounder & an above average scorer as well. OTOH, he doesn't pass well, & he fouls too much. But where he sets himself apart is offensive boards & blocked shots.

Overall, he's had a terrific career. Above all, kudos to him for the way he's played the last few years for GS & LAL.

He just might play another 5 years! :)
Remember -- if you don't like the post above: blame Doc not me.
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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#99 » by payitforward » Thu May 21, 2020 2:06 pm

Doc at length.... Awesome!

Most of what we all write about Rui is closest to accurate when it says: "Rui Hachimura has the potential to be an outstanding NBA player."

How would anybody know what that means exactly? Does it mean "scorer off the bench," as CCJ has it? Does it mean, "hmmm, this kid could really be a star... maybe," which is more or less how I read Doc?

Now, come on; how would we know? &, of course, the possibilities also include "solid journeyman," & whatever else anyone wants to plug in.

As to the narrative script woven around Rui's college career, the fact remains --& jumps out at you! -- that Rui's numbers his last year in college weren't as good as Jalen Smith's numbers as a Sophomore. They weren't all that close to being as good. & Jalen Smith ain't going to be picked #9 in the draft.

Which is the real point. Was he worth our #9 pick?

That can only depend on how the players did/do who were picked after him. If we leave Brandon Clarke out of the picture, it's fair to say that nobody picked after Rui in R1 has made the pick look bad. As I wrote in the Rui thread. Where all this belongs.
Remember -- if you don't like the post above: blame Doc not me.
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Re: Next year: how much better can we be? 

Post#100 » by DCZards » Thu May 21, 2020 2:50 pm

The Milwaukee game that Doc cites was one of the instances I was talking about when I wrote a few days ago that I thought Rui played with more toughness and physicality after returning from his injury.

There was a real buzz in Cap One Arena as Zards fans watched their young pup go mano e mano with the NBA MVP and not back down for a nanosecond.

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