by Sherwood Strauss

The Thunder are done, but they leave us with a lesson: Experience is highly overvalued in the Playoffs. Though announcers  want to brainwash you into thinking the Playoffs are some magical world, where defense matters more and character is revealed, that’s not so. The Playoffs are basketball games, contests the better team tends to win. There’s no magic veteran pixie dust that pulls a squad through. In fact, the opposite is true: Coaches kill their chances by giving veterans too much burn.

I’m referencing “Stumbling on Wins” which I’ll be reviewing this week. The authors posit that, while the average NBA player prime occurs at age 24, coaches shell out the most minutes to 28 year olds. This furthers the perception that age 28 is a basketball player’s prime. There’s nothing wrong with playing a great 28 year old, the real folly is keeping the yougin bench-ridden. There’s a whole slew of youth, kept from playoff PT by the league’s illogical fear-ninnies.

Coaches also cling to washed up players, in hopes they can recapture that old magic. These geezers get a forest fire of burn, opportunities that a poorly producing younger player would never get. This is ironic because the young buck has a chance of getting better: Next year, Derek Fisher will just be a fainter facsimile of Derek Fisher. There’s no coming back from suck.

Here’s my All Death Team, a list of vets with deadly overblown reps:

G-Derek Fisher, 33 minutes

My God, Derek Fisher is awful. We all know this, we all knew this. So why didn’t the NBA’s marquee franchise simply fix the issue? Why didn’t the Lakers pry C.J. Watson or Reggie Williams off our D-League scrap heap? What, our dregs aren’t good enough for you? My guess is that personal feelings toward Fish are getting in the way of sane basketball management. The Lakers may have chucked a perfectly good championship chance out the window, so let’s hope they really enjoyed Fisher’s company.

G-Jason Kidd, 40.5 minutes

The overuse of old guards ended the Mavericks. I easily could have put Jason Terry here, he also earned the right to get play for the All Death Team.  Maybe next year, Jet–if you’re sucky.  The way Rick Carlisle handled Beaubois was inexcusable. If Mark Cuban has some fancy stats to show why Beaubois should have lost minutes to Jose Juan Barea, time to show us or plead insanity. For those who don’t know about Roddy B., he put up a plus 18 PER, and has Dhalsim arms. He averaged 12 minutes this year.  The Spurs couldn’t handle Beau as he eviscerated their defense with righteous Frenchy fury. Roddy averaged 7.8 minutes against the Spurs. That’s stupidity I can’t believe in.

SF-Ron Artest, 36.3 minutes

Ron Ron’s the hardest choice on the list because he adds defensive value, and the Lakers have no bench. Still, a 7.78 PER, and .402 True Shooting percentage are harbringers of death. The massive contract mixed with the white hot insanity nudges him onto the A-D squad.

PF-Rasheed Wallace, 13.2 minutes

Any minute is too many for Sheed. I have nothing to add, Bill Simmons broke down the Wallace oddessy. I just wish E40 would diss Sheed again now that he has more material.

C-Shaquille O’Neal, 20.5 minutes

He will be a valuable Dwight Howard foul sponge, but right now he’s just bad. Subjectively, I think he grinds the Cavs to a halt–which would be permissible if this was 2001. Cleveland is revolving their entire offense around a molting O’Neal for stretches, which, well it doesn’t make any damned sense. Mike Brown axed his team when he over-played “Big” Ben in last year’s playoffs. Should we expect another veteran-center to slaughter the Cavs?

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