Monday, September 10, 2012

Winning the position(s)

I have no idea if coaches give any thought to this matter but here goes anyway.

To typically be a successful basketball team, five need to become some degree of one on the court as in the sum of the talents being greater than the parts or the meshing of players individual talents making each more effective. That's well known and really important for any team in the WAC because guys who can carry a team are non-existent in the conference this coming season.

Even as individually talented as they are/were, the Kentucky 2011-12 guys played unselfishly together, not apart, and we all know the result.

However, the centerpiece of this post is the thought that victory also includes winning the position offensively and defensively, meaning your center performing better than his opponent, your four doing the same and so on down the line.

To triumph generally requires winning the overall mano-a-mano battles at the majority of the five positions.

The exception -- and there always seems to be one -- being when a player just goes off for 35 points or some sort of never-to-be-reached again career night while his direct opponent manages say five.

In that scenario, winning at the other positions isn't such a requirement in order to nab a W -- but how many times do such individual efforts occur?

But it's also critical to understand the connection between playing as a unit and succeeding in the battles at the individual positions. They are intertwined.

Making all this somewhat more concrete, let's have some fun and predict/project the starting fives for New Mexico State and Utah State in the upcoming season.

The southern Aggies:

* Tshilidzi Nephawe
* Bandja Sy
* Tyrone Watson
* Daniel Mullings
* K.C. Ross-Miller

The northern Aggies

* Jarred Shaw
* Kyisean Reed
* Spencer Butterfield
* Preston Medlin
* Tenale Roland

Granted, bench production is being ignored in this equation but who wins which of the individual positional struggles between these two opponents, takes a majority and thus a victory?

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