So with the announcement that JB Murray and Rodney Mayes are joining the team it looks like Halifax has a full roster for all intents and purposes. While they’ll likely sign a local 2-guard after December 1st, that player will likely see almost no floor time. Or at least I hope they won’t, because right now this team is super crowded. I’ll break down the roster in excruciating detail when we get closer to the season opener, but for now there are two obvious observations to be made:
- Halifax has one of the most talented rosters in the PBL
- Halifax is completely and totally front heavy
I think that there is a way for Halifax to balance this out. See why after the jump. But be forewarned – I have thought about this way too much. When I first found out about the signings I was initially disappointed, and then just sort of puzzled. Disapointed because I still had visions of Tommy Mitchell dancing in my head, because the earlier signings were all of mindblowing quality, and because rumours had persisted of the Rainmen signing a player with NBA experience. Confused because I had no idea who these players were, because Murray had a checked past and because much of the information in the Rainmen’s press release did not match up with what I’ve been able to find on the internet. For example, as far as I can tell Mayes was never a first team All-American, even though his agent claims he was – he was an NCAA DII First-Team All-East Region in 04/05 and in 03/04 he didn’t make any all-star team while at WVTech. This isn’t to say that he isn’t a gifted player, but it is to say the he isn’t exactly as advertised.
After much thought my reaction is mixed, but over all positive. I understand why these players are here. Murray has bounced around schools but people kept picking him up because he’s supposed to be really, really good. Levingston knew him in Toronto and it seems like he’s helping out someone close to him who is trying to get himself on track. Levingston is incredibly loyal and while it might be putting the personal before the business/basketball, this is the same thing that landed us Anderson. Murray can definitely play, and having Levingston around might help him keep focused.
I actually watched some of Mayes’ videos and Levingston isn’t kidding when he says this kid is athletic. He has freakish jumping ability and takes ball hard to the rim. What is most remarkable to me is just how quick he is on his first three steps, it’s astounding. Be warned, this video is of poor quality since it appears to be a digital camera video of a DVD playing on a television. But you get the idea – if he brings this sort of thing to PBL games then he is the slasher that Halifax have longed for since November 15, 2007. He also is physically imposing and and has the tools to be a great defender. He averaged almost 24 ppg in his senior year while also shooting less than one and half 3s per game, so he likes to go inside. He also averaged 9.1 rpg in his senior year, which brings us to what makes him most worrisome: he was a SF in college.
What really concerns me about this team is something that Levingston said in the Metro article today, “Levingston said the Rainmen now have “two starting fives,” with one more two-guard to sign.” Oh good lord. I get what he’s saying, but after Lewis’ disastrous mini-hoops style five on, five off substitution patterns last year this sentence makes me want to cry. This team is incredibly deep, and despite its size it has a lot athleticism and speed, and I think they should try to run and tire teams out… but if I see five guys walk up to the scorers table even once this year I am going to storm the court. It’s childish and amateur and stupid. Even in a blow out. There is almost too much depth on this team with two former ABA all-stars at both powerforward and small forward. I almost hope that they don’t add a 12th player – the season is really short and most weekdays are game free so injuries aren’t as much of a worry and playing time is going to be impossible to come by. If they do sign a local guy I hope he doesn’t play.
Aside from just playing time, getting enough shots for everyone is going to be a major worry. Every player on this team is used to getting shots, and no matter how fast this team plays someone is getting fewer shots than they did last time. Just how bad of a problem is this? Four players were the leading scorers on their team last year, two were the second leading scorers, and 6 of them scored 17+ ppg. If you take the 11 players currently on the roster right now and add up all their ppg averages from the last year from which you can find stats, they had a combined average of 174 ppg. Obviously the Rainmen are not averaging 174 ppg so someone, or more likely everyone, is going to have to take less shots and play less minutes than they’re used to.
Is Lewis the guy who can make everyone buy into a team concept? Can he manage minutes and shots properly? Is he capable of recognizing mis-matches and momentum swings and can he make subsitituitions and play calls accordingly? I don’t know, but it doesn’t look like we have much choice but to hope he can.
I think this roster can be used in a way which will make it absolutely devastating. This may reveal how much of a nerd I am, but I actually broke it down into what the rotation should look like and how many minutes on average each player should be playing. Obviously the minutes would fluctate per game based on much ups and who is hot, but over a season I think these minutes would work out.
The key here is that keeps the rotation to more or less eight guys getting consistent burn. The team has enough role players on the bench to bring in the right players at the right times, but the normal rotation needs to stay short if the all-star calibre guys are going to get the minutes and touches they deserve.