Raise your hand if you're as frustrated as I am with this Texas basketball team. Thought so. My good friend James and I talked for a half hour last night about what's wrong with the team and what might be done to fix it. A few of the points we hit:
*P.J. Tucker is out of place on the wing. You can't teach an old dog new tricks, and I don't care if Tucker took 10 or 10,000 jump shots in the offseason to improve his stroke. He's out of place on the wing, and, more importantly, for every foot away from the basket Tucker is, your taking that much more of his strengths away. Barnes needs to bite the bullet and rotate Tucker-Aldridge-Buckman down low.
*J.D. Lewis shouldn't be getting minutes. I believe we decided he was "Brandy Perriman, without a jump shot." (That belies the obvious point that Perriman didn't actually jump when he shot, but you get the idea.) Lewis's defense is atrocious, and he's not hitting his shots. Why is he in the rotation?
*The offense needs to run through Lamarcus Aldridge. This is just getting silly. Aldridge had five field goal attempts with five minutes remaining in the game. Beyond being inexcusably stupid, it's just confusing. Why? Seriously. Part of the problem is the guards can't 1) handle the ball or 2) pass the ball. The assist to turnover ratio now sits at 142 - 160. For comparison, our last two opponents stand at 111 - 83 (Tennessee) and 147 - 123 (Duke). Sad, really.
*The knock on Rick Barnes has always been his dormant half court offenses, but he's always at least had competitive defenses. This year's team isn't even doing that. This is the most confusing aspect of the recent tailspin. Fortunately, it's much easier to correct than the offense.
*Part of the problem for this team may just be the "getting to know you" phase of the early season. It's clear as day to everyone that the pieces are all there; right now they just aren't fitting together. I think (hope) we can see some improvement as the season progresses. For now, though, we're an unremarkable team.
I hope you'll join James and I in sending in a question to Rick Barnes for his weekly radio show. You can submit your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. We urge you to ask him what we're going to ask him: "When are you going to move PJ Tucker back to the power forward spot?"