So far I’m seeing what I expected to see. With a new coach, a new system, half the roster is new and half is young it was not the formula for a fast start. But what I have liked is the 48 minutes of sustained effort.
The young guys have all improved. All the talk was how Randle needed to develop a jumper. Which is still true but he has been so efficient finishing at the rim that like James said in the post game, he hadn’t needed it yet.
The biggest issue is defense. Rarely does a young player come into the league as a good defender. It takes longer to develop that. The kids are all putting in the effort. The on ball defense has improved across the board and the switches have been better but weak side rotations are still as bad as last year. At some point you just have to learn to give up the jump shot and stop the dunk.
As for the vets, Mosgov has been good. He has done a real good job of protecting the paint unfortunately as mentioned no one has had his back. I’ve liked Nicks defensive energy. He has been guarding superstars but he has at least made them work for it. My only concern is his shot isn’t falling. And I wonder if he can expend that kind of energy on defense without it effecting his offense. Some guys can’t, at least at his age. Deng has not been good yet. I know in preseason he was dinged and didn’t get much work in so I hope it’s just matter of shaking off the rust. I’ve liked what I have seen from Lou. I think he has looked to make more plays for other in 3 games then he did all last year. I have liked it when Lou and Clarkson were paired with the 2nd unit. I think with Ingrams ball handling ability it is a nice group.
I think we will stumble a lot the first half of the year. Hopefully by the 2nd half the guys will understand the system better. While we don’t have a closer yet, not many teams have closers as good as Westbrook so we will begin to win a few of these close games.