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The Larry Brown Backlash, In Full Effect

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Facial Hair

Sometimes, you can dance in the club, thinking you're having a good time, but really, everyone's just laughing at you as you make weird faces.

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The finger pointing. The blame game. It's starting. Truth is hard, sometimes, and MJ speaks the truth when he says that Jared Dudley would be a bench player on a good team. But the tenth man? Absolutely not. There are only a few teams where he'd rightly be the tenth man, or worse, which is depressing enough, to begin with.

Those teams where he wouldn't have a rotation spot are:

Celtics
Cavs
Rockets
Lakers
Suns


That's it. Four title contenders, and one team fully committed to the vets at PF/SF. I hesitate to add the Jazz, because even though they have his positions locked up, he's a prototypical Jerry Sloan role player, and I'm sure Sloan would find a way to make use of his talents. And while the Warriors don't seem like a good fit, Dudley's actually perfect, since he's a good passer and ball handler who excels at rebounding despite his smaller frame.


"Fuck you" by wendyness, cc-licensed

Again, Jordan is correct that championship teams tend to relegate guys like Dudley to coming off the bench to hold down the fort while the much more talented starters rest. However, I will not stand idly by as the object of my mancrush is walloped in the press by his own thoroughly incompetent GM.

Whose damn fault is it that Dudley is the best starting option? Huh? You tell me, Mr. Six Rings As A Player, Four Awful Drafts As An Executive? There is no good done by trashing a player in public. Honesty and truthfulness are unequivocally good qualities, but that does not extend to denigrating players, unprompted.

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Let's assume that Larry Brown is, in sum, a good coach. He's installed a recognizable offensive system. The players take a certain approach on defense that, while not without holes, is still an improvement on the "maybe I'll try this possession" attitude of last season. It still remains that the guy has infuriating substitution patterns.

In yesterday's loss to the Nuggets, 89-79, Brown again made the inexcusable, and baffling, decision to play DJ Augustin and Raymond Felton together in crunch time. Yet again, the offense stalled and the defense got killed.

This isn't difficult. Perhaps Brown loves Augustin more than I love Jared Dudley, such that he can't step back and acknowledge the player's very real weaknesses, such as a complete failure to defend taller shooters and guards who can back him down. Guy tries to beat him off the dribble, and Augustin's quick enough to stick with him. But Chauncey Billups pwned him. Jose Calderon figured it out. It won't be long before the scouting report gets around the league. But despite that, I could see Brown playing Augustin in crunch time over Felton, just because. DJ is an interesting offensive talent, and I love how he uses his quickness to get in to the lane.

Playing him next to Felton, though, just doesn't work. It doesn't. The experiment should have never started, because Felton can't play two, and Augustin can't play two. Done. Finished. I can't stress enough that they're point guards because they are better at creating than they are at finishing. They are below average at finishing. So stop asking one of them to play the role of a finisher.


"Google Chrome Installation failed" by carthesian, cc-licensed

At 3:06 left in the fourth quarter, the Bobcats were down 77-73. Melo had started pumping baskets in defenders' faces. Things were looking bleak. So Brown unleashed his double point guard lineup. I turned to the Official GF of Rufus on Fire and our friend, Stephen, both sitting in the upper deck with me, and said, "They've put both point guards in. We're going to lose, now."

For the next two minutes and eleven seconds, here were the possessions:

Billups scores on a driving layup, and one on a foul from Wallace (Billups beat Augustin.)
Augustin misses a three point attempt.
Balkman gets fouled on the break by Augustin and makes 1 of 2.
Richardson creates his own shot and scores on a driving layup.
Billups misses a three point attempt.
Augustin misses a three point attempt.
Melo gets fouled in the act and makes 2 of 2.


In two minutes and eleven seconds, the Nuggets put the game away, going from 77-73 to 83-75. The only basket was scored by Richardson taking matters into his own hands on the wing and driving to the rim without anyone else's help.

What particularly rankles me, though, is that Brown uses this lineup in crunch time even though he doesn't see fit to use it at any other time of the game. Maybe scoring is a priority in most crunch time situations, and Jared Dudley doesn't fit that lineup. Maybe it's best to play offense-defense with Morrison and Dudley, given the tools on hand. Maybe it's best to do the same with Augustin and Felton. However, playing the two point guards together is just inane.

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Until next week, Jason. We'll miss you.

The potential silver lining is that Adam Morrison may get to start in Richardson's absence. It makes more sense to start him at the two than it does to start Carroll or, SHUDDER, Felton alongside Augustin.