Thursday, November 29, 2007
You've Got Questions - We've Got Answers
Question: What's wrong with the Syracuse Basketball team's defense?
Answer: It's perfect, except for everything. Here are a few thoughts.
When they go man to man, almost everyone is getting beat off the dribble. When they go zone, they are STILL getting beat off the dribble - generally with the other team's point guard splitting the two defenders up top. Once that happens, the zone is toast, because if you get to just below the foul line in the zone, you've got more options than a fat man at an all you can eat buffet.
In terms of personnel, Donte Greene would be considered a terrible defender on those Loyola Marymount teams of the late 80s and early 90s. Devo never played much D, and that hasn't changed so far. Paul Harris is small on the wing, so guys can shoot over him with ease, unless he clobbers them, which he did a few times last night.
However, what's really hurting them is that Arinze has turned out to be a pretty terrible defender so far. He's not much of a shot blocker, he doesn't get back down the floor quickly on defense (team wide problem) and he seems to lose track of his man on regular occasions. He's already a better offensive player than Mookie Watkins will ever be - but guess what, Watkins is pulling down an NBA pay check because he can move and block shots - he erased a lot of defensive problems last year that Arinze or Rick Jackson can not.
I would also like to see Coach Boeheim use the bench a little more - last night UMass got 54 minutes from its bench, SU's reserves played 15 minutes total. In a frenetic game like that, players can get a little tired.
I'm not pushing the panic button yet, all of these guys are oozing with talent and Boeheim didn't forget how to coach, so there's still time to correct the problems. Besides, if all else fails they can always break out the high school defense DVD by Coach Al Sokaitis.