Can Patterson rescue Cavs?
In this week’s On The Ball, NATION basketball writer Justin Marville continues his weekly review of the Premier League.
So Station?Hill?have gone back to the “Business Man” to get out of their recession but forgive me if I can’t quite see the profits coming from this particularly big stimulus package.
Yes, I was the same person who said these Cavs are just a collection of good complementary pieces that are in need of a star player, and no one player has been more dominant over the past decade than Kelvin Patterson.
But I also remember suggesting that the team’s cohesion is better served without having an over-inflated ego – something that Mr Business has in abundance.
Let’s not forget dear old Kelvin’s last go-around in Station Hill – you know the one that didn’t quite end so well in 2011 following his sketchy practice habits, a penchant for dominating the ball, general laissez-faire approach towards playing defence and the power struggle with the head coach that nearly ripped the team in half.
And that was on a veteran-laden squad that had just won a title, so imagine what his return could do to a unit that features no less than five players under the age of 25.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the dire straits that an 0-4 start to a shortened season represents, but this winless streak isn’t as bleak as it might appear as all but one of those losses have come against the league’s big three (Lakers, Cougars, Sonics).
Also, what does it say about the confidence Adrian Craigwell has in young big men Jamai Puckerin, Lamar Grazette and Jamario Clarke when the head coach accommodates Patterson at the first sign of trouble?
To be fair though, everyone on the bench seemed to be just fine with Patterson’s return, and the Business Man did play the part of a good soldier while giving effort on defence and trying to get everyone involved.
He also took 21 shots – nine more than the next closest Cavalier – without registering a single assist in another loss so this business plan might well be incurring more debt without providing relief.
• Speaking about that loss to St John’s, I’m now starting to see why people aren’t sold on the remodelled Sonics. But my cause of concern isn’t necessarily at the end that everyone is probably looking at.
That’s the third time in four games the supposed title contenders have surrendered 75 points or more, yet two of those teams (Warrens, Cavs) are seriously devoid of firepower.
But against St John’s sieve-like man-to-man defence everyone seems to be wielding weapons of mass destruction as Sonics have struggled in trying to recover while routinely failing to account for free cutters to the rim.
Still, they’ve been able to overcome those defensive deficiencies to the tune of a 3-1 record behind an elite offence (82.5 points per game), but just how long can they expect Ramon Simmons and Rahiim Gibbons to be hitting shots at their current clip?
And while they can get away with outgunning the league’s bottom feeders, that strategy probably won’t bode well in the playoffs against Lakers (89 ppg) and Cougars (84.5) – teams that score even better than they do.
• As is the case every year, there appears to be some rumblings over the selections for the Premier League awards, and as a member of that selection committee I feel it’s high time that I come out and defend these choices.
The Most Offensive Player of the Year is a straight forward award for the person who holds the highest point per game average so there should be no argument over Adrian Stewart copping the honour.
Choosing the Most Improved Player award wasn’t so easy, but I felt that Dwayne Kellman was a more than justified choice considering he was transformed from a mere high-flyer to become the league’s third best rebounder (10.8 rpg) while coming off the bench behind national forwards Akeem Marsh and George Haynes. Averaging 9.9 points in a reserve role was also nothing to sneeze at.
The Defensive Player of the Year was a two-horse race between Charles Vanderpool and Pearson Griffith, and the former was chosen because he not only had more blocks (3.8 to 3.3) and rebounds (8.3 to 8.1), but was the unquestioned vocal leader of Pinelands’ defence.
For the Most Valuable Player, I only ever consider players from play-off teams as the production of a prolific scorer on an also-ran couldn’t really be that “valuable” if it wasn’t enough to put his team in contention.
And of those four postseason clubs, Station Hill didn’t have a single standout performer while the numbers for Warrens’ best player, Peter Alleyne (11.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 5.3 apg) were somewhat pedestrian compared to the league’s elite.
So that left Lakers’ Andre Lockhart (14.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 5.4 apg) and Akeem Marsh (21.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.8 apg, 2.4 bpg) of Sonics in another two-horse race. Not only were Marsh’s overall numbers better but the forward’s impact was greater considering that key players George Haynes, Jeff Trotman and Stefan Clarke missed significant time during the season due to either absence or injury.