When was the last time the Raps had a starting Small Forward we could be proud of? Do we even want to go there? Yes, let’s, because looking at who’s in the spot now produces hails of derisive laughter, Bruce. I’m sure Dominic McGuire is a fine fellow, but we’ve seen all he’s got to offer, & it isn’t much. Landry Fields is in street clothes, suffering from an injured hand [yeah...sure]. Linas Kleiza shows up every 5 games. Alan Anderson’s foot injury will keep him out for weeks, or months.
What I’m going to propose violates one of the key tenets in the yet-to-be-published NBA Coach’s Job Survival Guide, to wit: Don’t start 2 rookies. Coach Casey no doubt feels that way too, but the 2-6 Raps need a spark (the win in Indy was less a spark than a fluke). Rejig the starters, Coach, starting in today’s practice & carrying over to the Boston game. Jose at Point Guard, Terrence Ross becomes the Shooting Guard, DeMar DeRozan is our new Small Forward, Andrea continues at Power Forward, & Jonas Valanciunas tips at Centre.
Is it “too soon” to try this lineup? Phrased another way, are both kids, particularly Terrence, ready for the spotlight? My crystal ball is in the shop for repair, so I have no idea. But what have we got to lose, besides more games? DeMar is turning into a dandy player, & is more effective closer to the hoop, so I doubt he’ll have any trouble. Terrence is greener than a putting surface at Augusta, but he has superb shooting form, & we’ve seen him hit some deep 3s already. Can he establish his outside shot, then put the ball on the deck & drive when his defender gets in his face? I’d like to find out, just as I’d like to see him step up to his expanded defensive responsibilities.
Jonas is already our starting C, but he’s on a short leash. I confess I don’t know why; he’s scoring & rebounding when he’s in there. Yes, he’s had foul trouble, like every rookie centre since George Mikan, but he won’t get better stapled to the bench. Coach Casey shouldn’t feel like he’s on thin ice if this scheme doesn’t pan out. He’s Colangelo’s man, unlike Sam Mitchell.
I think every player on the Raps, even those whose time is being cut, would back this move. If Coach lets the kids play through the inevitable mistakes, we might have a glimpse of our future. Who knows? Maybe the future will arrive sooner than anticipated, & we’ll all have cause for celebration.