Eddy Curry’s season ended due to knee surgery today, which means that Knicks fans can officially start breaking down tape and trying to figure out how — or “how” beyond the surname-based answers of “Dolan” and “Thomas” — things got so bad at the Garden. But while the Knicks are a sort of special, newfangled concept car among the NBA’s fleet of lemons, ClipperBlog’s Kevin Arnovitz does those of us who cheer for regular ol’ bad teams — I’m a Nets fan, but someone who cares about the Bucks or Bobcats is probably reading this — a valuable service by breaking down a few of the things bad teams have in common. The link is from TrueHoop, naturally.
While every bad basketball team is bad in its own way, there are some general features you™ll find on many a lousy roster. While no single one — or even two or three — of these red flags guarantees outright futility, if you examine the rosters of the league’s worst teams, you’re likely to spot some patterns:
- œJourneyman Point Guards: Look at the starting lineup of a bad basketball team and you™ll find the likes of Rick Brunson (above), Brevin Knight, Jeff McInnis, Tyronn Lue, Speedy Claxton penciled in at the PG slot. Dan Dickau is another good illustration. And Smush Parker is destined to become the archetypal bounce-around PG, if he isn™t already. More times than not [Jeff McInnis would qualify as a ˜not™], these are good guys. I mean, who — besides Isiah Thomas — wants an ineffectual player who is also an asshole on the roster? Take Dickau: He exerts himself every night, but he™s being asked to do something he just can™t: Be an NBA point guard.
- Guys Who Are Missing Key Attributes That Their Positions Demand: Power forwards who can™t post. Point guards who can™t defend the pick-and-roll. Shooting guards who can™t shoot. Centers who can™t challenge shots at the rim and get pushed around on the block. Wing players with low basketball IQs.
- Lots of Undersized Players: The other day I alluded to the Clippers™ starting post tandem of Al Thornton and Josh Powell against Miami. Both guys could fairly be classified as small forwards, though Powell has done a decent job defending manageable PFs. When you field an excessively small lineup, too many bad things can happen on the boards and in the post “ and also on the perimeter where a big opposing shooting guard with a quick release can sink shots all night over your 5™ 10 defender.
- No One Who Can Pass the Ball: This is patently obvious. But watch closely and you™ll see just how much less an opposing defense has to work against a team that can™t pass. When the Clippers are static in the halfcourt, it™s not because Minnesota™s zone or Miami™s slugs are blanketing the floor. It™s because every entry pass is an adventure, and any basic motion set that features a cutter is wishful thinking. The result? Possession after possession of isolations which, after a while, even the worst NBA teams can sniff out.