Granted we are in preseason, and Pierce not playing threw a monkey wrench into Doc's plans, but this small ball obsession worries me somewhat. Don't get me wrong, I am not against small ball totally, but there has to be some guidelines for playing small ball.
Last night Doc had some very bizarre lineups. In spite of NJ still having their big lineup in at the time, Doc had a unit in with Gerald Green at center. That wasn't near as bad as the lineup with Tony Allen as the tallest player. This small ball lineup did play catch up and closed a 13 point deficit to tie the game with 7 seconds left, but they were playing against New Jersey's scrubs at the time.
Small ball is great to disrupt the other team's defenses and change the pace of the game, but to play small ball for most of the game does seem a bit excessive. Also, when you field a team that has a 6'4 player at center, you are asking to be out rebounded. It may work in the preseason because the other team is experimenting as well, but in the regular season, most coaches will exploit the mismatches sooner or later.
I like small ball in spurts and it does seem to work. But, in a small ball lineup, we need a rebounder on the floor who will challenge for every rebound on both ends of the floor. It doesn't have to be a 7 footer but an Al Jefferson or a Leon Powe or a Perk (when he is having a better game than he did last night) should be on the floor at all times with the small ball lineup. Powe only saw 6 minutes playing time last night (in which he did grab 2 rebounds and had a steal) and very well could have anchored that small ball lineup.
Like I said, it is preseason so I am not as concerned as if Doc was putting a lineup with Tony Allen at center on the floor during the regular season. All that being said, I like the lineup that Doc put out with West, Rondo, Al, Powe, and Tony. This is a small ball lineup kind of but gives us plenty of defense and two strong rebounders on the court. I don't know about you, but I am ready for the regular season to begin. Hopefully then Doc won't be putting the muchkins on the floor to battle the Wizards...
Our small ball game is having success on the defensive end right now. Our last 2 games have shown an extraordinary amount of steals, and that is just as good as getting a blocked shot. But Doc cannot fall in love with the small ball game too much, and needs to know when to use it and when not to use it. In the highlights that I saw from the game, at one point, Wally had to guard Krystic and he gave up a good 5 inches or so. Krystic only had to turn around and face the basket to get a clean look and the bucket. With the small ball, if we don't get a steal, we give up a basket.