Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The New Baron - For Better or For Worse

Baron has learned to play with less recklessness. The earlier, high flying, AK47 dunking Baron is replaced with a crafty finisher that plays below the rim and is very perimeter oriented.

Good: No missed games (anti-Jinx in effect)

Bad: Not able to put away opponents early (leads to wins and more rest time)

You get a 3/4 speed Baron for 40+ min/game ALL season long, but at the expense of allowing the bench to become more of a factor in games. Ball movement suffers late in the game, defensive intensity wanes, shots fall short, drives to the basket become fewer and fewer, and leads disappear. The heavy minutes have forced him to miss practices (his rest time) and thus time for him to gel with teammates, perfect plays at full speed, work on defensive assignments at full speed, and maximize the benefits of practice for the team as a whole. Game time is Baron's only time to really gel with the less established rotation players like Wright, Pietrus, Barnes, Azubuike, and Watson.

I can't argue with the results too much, but I just wish Nellie would trust his bench a little more; let Monta run the point, let CJ spell him for a few minutes, see if Barnes can get back into the flow (also relieve Jackson). When leads start dwindling, it wouldn't hurt to change it up a bit to stop the bleeding, would it? Maybe this will allow Baron to rest during games and be more of an integral part of practice.

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