Buddy gone?

#91
I love basketball, and now retired, I spend a ridiculous amount of time watching basketball. Mostly college, but a lot of NBA basketball. I like to feel as though I'm fairly well educated about the game. After over 50 years of watching everyone one from Oscar Robertson, Bob Pettit (my idol, and someone I knew) Wilt Chamberlain, etc. to Lebron and Michael, I think at worse, I've picked up a few tricks of the trade. In general, there are players with impact stats, and players with worthless stats.

There was a Kings game a week or so ago where Giles ended up (don't quote me) with like 3 pts, 3 or 4 boards and a blocked shot. If you were only looking at those stats, you wouldn't be impressed. But if you watched that game, you would know that we wouldn't have won that game without Giles. Basketball is a game of runs, and who has the momentum last. Points and rebounds are important, but what's more important is what you do in a crucial moment of the game, when your team has momentum and is on a run.

We tend to remember that blocked shot with 5 seconds left in the game and we were up by two, because it saved the game. That's when a stat is meaningful. Scoring 12 pt's in the 4th quarter when your down by 25 pts and your on the floor with our 3rd stringers isn't meaningful. So where am I going with this? This thread for the most part has been about Buddy, and so is this post. Let me start by saying I really like Buddy, but probably not as much as he likes himself.

I say that because there are times when Buddy only cares about Buddy, and frankly, oddly enough, some of his best games are when he has that attitude. Buddy plays his worse basketball when he tries to be something he's not. He's a scorer! He's not a play maker! To be a play maker you have to see the game in an entirely different way, and Buddy isn't capable of that, at least not right now. I hate saying that he doesn't have good BBIQ because it implies that perhaps he's stupid, and he's not. Say it anyway you want, feel for the game, BBIQ, whatever? He's just lacking in that area.

Example: Two games ago, Buddy was bringing the ball up the court. The Kings were on a bit of a run. Barnes had run to the left corner, and Buddy dribbled the ball to the left side of the court toward Barnes direction. As he neared the sideline, and the edge of the 3pt circle, the other team doubled on him and tried to trap him there. Wisely, Buddy saw the trap coming and did a spin move back to his left to escape the trap. OK, so far so good. But then, he immediately did a reverse spin back to his right, and right back into the trap. Why?

Now this possession didn't end up in a turnover. Buddy managed to throw the ball over the top to Fox. It got tipped by a defender, but Fox beat everyone to the loose ball, and managed to get a contested shot off which he missed. So, OK, no turnover, but Buddy wasted around 15 seconds of the shot clock, and killed any momentum we had. We still won the game, so no harm, no foul, right? However, this is why Buddy didn't play one second of the 4th quarter in the Toronto game. It was a game, where just one mistake at the wrong time could be the difference between winning and losing. And Buddy is prone to making mistakes.

Unfortunately, we still lost the game, and I tend to agree with those that say Buddy should have been on the floor for that last play. He has a record of hitting crazy shots at the end of the game, and at worse, he would have been someone they had to guard. Maybe Walton decided to simply dance with the one he brought. That they deserved to finish the game. If we had won, no one would have complained. Well, mostly no one!

I think Buddy wants to be a team player, but doesn't know how. He has a scorers mentality that overrides everything, and when he tries to be unselfish, that's when he makes mistakes. He'll get the ball in the corner, and he'll be wide open. Perfect right? But instead of shooting, he puts the ball on the floor and drives the baseline toward the basket. (passing up the wide open corner shot) As he nears the basket he tries to make a bounce pass to Bjelica on the other side of the basket. Of course the ball never reaches Beli.

This is Buddy really trying to be a team player, but not understanding exactly what that means. Being a team player doesn't mean being unselfish to the point of passing up the very shot your being paid the big bucks to make. It means taking that shot!!!! Your teammates worked to get you that shot, a shot that if it goes in, helps the team win. And winning is what it's all about. Buddy needs to watch how Lou Williams plays. Williams almost disappears when he enters the game, until he doesn't.

You tend not to notice him, until suddenly there he is, wide open in the corner with the ball, and your brain is silently screaming, NO!! Where Buddy needs to improve is not on becoming a better play maker, but a better defender. I watch him closely every game, and without a doubt, he's the worse defender on the team. Not because he's incapable, he's not, but because he simply doesn't try. Everyone points to his defense on Beal, and rightly so, because it exposed Buddy as someone who can be an excellent defender when he wants to be. He did a terrific job on Beal in that game.

Can anyone tell me another game where he defended someone like Beal that well? Doesn't leap out at you does it? Normally, if you focus only on Buddy on the defensive side of the ball, this is what you'll see. He'll pick up his man on the floor. He'll then start ball watching and slowly start drifting away from his man toward the basket and toward whomever has the ball. He'll drift as far as 20 feet at times. In the meantime, his man, realizing Buddy is no longer paying attention to him, leaves his current position and moves to an empty spot on the floor, usually a corner.

Sometimes Buddy gets burn't and sometimes he dodges the bullet and doesn't. But far too often, it's his man left wide open that's hitting the open three. Please don't take my word for this. Next game, if there is a next game, take some time to watch Buddy on the defensive side of the ball. Someone said that on most nights that Buddy is the 2nd best player on the floor. I guess it's how you define 2nd best.

Example: Buddy in his last 10 games. 16.6 ppg - 41.6% fgp - 45.6% 3pp - 3.6 rpg - 2.2 apg. Barnes in his last 10 game. 15.8 ppg - 49.5% fgp - 46.8% 3pp - 4.2 rpg - 3.2 apg. I think I can safely say that Barnes is the far superior defender, so you tell me, who is the better player in the last 10 games?

A couple of final questions. Why does Buddy like to dribble the ball into the corner, and then break the golden rule of picking up his dribble, which leaves him prone to being trapped. Why when Buddy gets the ball does he immediately establish his pivot foot, making himself easier to guard. Why when he gets the ball does he almost immediately put the ball on the floor establishing a dribble, when it appears to be without purpose. Most of the time it doesn't bite him in the butt, but, when it does, it seems to happen at the most inopportune times

I'm not posting this to pick on Buddy. I really like Buddy, and think he can be a very important player on the team, if he wants to be. If Buddy honestly wants to be a team player, then he has to start caring more about the team, than he does starting, or how many minutes he he gets. If Buddy is only interested in being a star and putting up big numbers, then I think he would fit right in on the T Wolves team.
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