I reckon if the 3 year plan we could have had a great roster and stability which helps the team perform and the fans get behind the team.
This is one way they could have done it, without any mid-season import changes, which would have saved the club some money im sure.
Im confident its reasonably realistic, and hey we can 2nd last and last so wouldnt have done any worse on the court, and imo they would have been better, if nothing else they would have grown together as a team.
The on thing that is an issue, doing it this way would have meant Marty would have had to be less stubborn and more adaptable and coach to his players strengths not just have a system that suits no one, this reason alone does not make him the ideal coach, and could make my plan impossible, so lets say either he adapts or gets the sack say after the 1st season.
Ok herese my 3 year plan, what could have been, using the players we have had, just a few different ideas/roster moves.
SF Hill/Herbert (replaced by Creek due to injury)
SG DeVries/Ng (replaced by Bruce due to injury)
(in the ideal world with 20/20 hindsight we sign Madgen who went to the kings as 11th man instead of Ng or Herbert, but ah well.)
Firstly start and play Johnson at C, split the minutes with Dowdell, we were bottom 2 anyway so may aswell put some development into Johnson and it leaves Ballinger in his natural position, which may have helped him with his back injuries not having to bang with the C's so could have got more out of him.
Holmes off the bench, play 15-20 mins per game, he doesnt seem to be a guy that likes to come off the bench, so may not have been overly happy, but thats his role. Or he could start and play some SF, as he cant start PF alongside Ballinger, just too small of a big man rotation.
Play Winder in his natural position sg/sf, with maybe just some minor back up minutes at PG, dont force him to play PG when it was pretty clear it wasnt natural to him, i saw him play pre-season when DeVries was out and Carter started PG alongside Winder, he looked great and put up around 20pts a game in pre-season starting along side Carter without DeVries, which leads me to
Start Carter, play him 25 mins a game at PG, he is basically the only true pg on the roster, and he is pretty good imo, not a star but could be a Rhys Martin style starting PG imo, and when Bruce comes in later in the season he gives a good back up.
DeVries - keep through the injury and bring him off the bench atleast until fully fit, maybe the trade-off is he signs for the next season at a slightly reduced rate to repay the 36ers sticking with him and rehabbing him, he is doing great in Spain right now and is a decent import imo,
Hill, Creek, split the minutes between them, sure Creek was young, but again this is year 1 of a 3 year plan, let the kid loose, and we came 2nd last anyways so what do we have to lose. Atleast until DeVries is fully fit and takes some sf minutes.
Bruce - be realistic he came in mid season, as a fill in, after not plying pro ball for 2 years, dont expect rookie of the year form, just 15 min a game back up, which he did fine imo, then retain him the following year for a larger role.
So by the end of the season, with everyone fully fit bar Herbert and Ng, who were replaced by Creek and Bruce, my rotations would have been
C Johnson (25)/Dowdell (15)
PF Ballinger (25)/Holmes (15)
SF DeVries (10)/Hill (15)/Creek (15)
SG Winder (25)/DeVries (15)
PG Carter (25)/Bruce (15)
To me that would have been better than what we finished with and a good genuine core to build on and realistic to keep the bulk of the team together.
No need to go through import after import trying to find the exact guy who Marty has never found, just be adaptable, if Winder and DeVries arent PG's play them at SG/SF and use your Australian PG's.
Thats what COACHING is, its too easy to blame the player and replace them, and it gets bloody expensive im sure, that is why i am a fan of locking in your roster for a whole season and no mid season changes unless forced by injury. Make coaches select carefully and coach players to their Strengths, and it in most cases could work out i reckon.
Ok Year 2
Offer Carter and Bruce 100k each at the start of the offseason and hopefully retain them both, to share the PG and play some SG at times, both get 20-25 mins a game, should keep them happy, sort of realistic they would say.
Retain DeVries, let Winder go, cant have 2 import SG's, nothing against Winder, just reckon DeVries could have been our Lisch type guy, so chose him, but ultimately chose 1 import sg.
Bring in Weigh for Hill as happened.
Bring in a import PF/C, Williamson for Holmes as happened,
Nothing against Holmes and Hill, Weigh is better than Hill so its an upgrade, Holmes to me seems to always want to start so bring an import who is happy to come off the bench and there is a fair chance you could find someone better the Holmes for possibly cheaper.
Not fussed if you bother replacing Dowdell with Helliwell, lets just say they do it, and use him properly in a Reesy type role.
Make a choice between Herbert and Ng, im 50/50, ill keep Ng, just as he is a SA local
So here is my roster, with a wopping 4 changes, Clarke made 7.
So that gives me a team of
7 returning players, so there is an established core.
Big guys, doesnt overly matter who starts, I just like the Johnson/Williamson combo and the Helliwell/Ballinger combo, so basically split the minutes between the combos.
If as happened Williamson gets injured, if as is believed he was a great guy, potential MVP level and keen to stick around, do as did last season with DeVries, keep him rehab and retain him for next season, and allow him to get fully fit and flourish, maybe bring in a short term import as an injury replacement or just give the spot to a Mottram type who would have been available to fill in until Williamson returns and play Ballinger more (around 30-35) minutes to cover, assuming he stays injury free, which he also didnt, so that makes this hard and would have been unpopular, but given this was year 2 of a 3 year plan and the team came last, what have we got to lose by taking this punt.
SFs- play them both around 20 mins each, do not over play Weigh and give Creek a chance to improve.
DeVries to me could have easily averaged 15-20 points at a high clip, as he is doing in spain, so worth keeping, and would have done well injury free.
PG's - as a rule split the mintues evenly, Carter brings Defense and solid offense, Bruce brings more offensive flair and still pretty solid defensively imo, just use them both to their strengths, let Bruce play with a little flair, and weight the minutes game to game based on form, momentum, etc. If Bruce does his knee as he did, then bring in Bartlett as happened.
So gives rotate like this, put injury replacements in brackets
C Johnson (25)/Helliwell (15)
PF Ballinger (or replacement Simpson) (20)/Williamson (or replacement ie Mottram) (20)
SF Weigh (20)/Creek (20)
SG DeVries (25)/Ng (15)
PG Carter (20)/Bruce (or replacement Bartlett)(20)
I almost guarantee that team does better than what we ended up with, and playing Ballinger less and at PF in the 1st season and this season reduces injury risk imo.
Also has plenty of players the crowd is familiar with, and no one is going to blame the coach for injuries.
Lets assume, for this the Blaze stay alive and we dont get Gibson and Petrie as that cant be in a 3 year plan, but if they do, they just replace my imports, so what ever you prefer.
My only changes are:
Helliwell and Ng our retired
Cadee and Schenscher in - would fit points wise, salary could be a stretch, if its an issue go with 1 import and go with Vasiljevic/Mottram type as the 4th big.
A wopping 2 (or 3) changes, increasing continuity.
This gives me a line up of
C Schenscher/Williamson (or Vasiljevic/Mottram if salary cap an issue)
7 players returning from season 1 as apposed to 2 that Clarke has brought back, 6 if as happened the gold coast collapsed and you bring in say Gibson and Petrie for DeVries and Williamson, but im going to stick with the imports.
To me that team is the equal of our current roster, if not better, without Gold Coast collapsing,
Bringing 7 guys back from season 1 means the team can really hit the ground running, and also the fans can get behind them and i reckon guys like Carter and Devries could have been cult heros.
Not that our current roster is bad, i reckon this roster has the edge, just due to the continuity.
Schenscher v Schenscher - same
Williamson (or Vasiljevic) v Vasiljevic - upgrade if can fit Williamson or import in, same if its Vasiljevic
Johnson v Johnson - same
Ballinger v Petrie - debatable, for the role needed Petrie is probably better, but im saying was unavailable, so we will call it a very small down grade.
Weigh v Weigh - same, im playing him around 20 mins instead of 30, so ill call it an upgrade
Creek v Creek - same, im playing 20 mins, instead of 10-15 so potential upgrade
DeVries v Gibson, im saying Gibson is unavailable, but if available probably fairly even, DeVries a better shooter/scorer, Gibson a better defender. I'll give it to DeVries as he has been there since day 1.
Bruce v Massingale/replacement import - Bruce is the better as he is a better player than CJ, not a gamble and been with the team since the 1st season.
Carter v Crosswell - upgrade, Carter is younger and gives the team the defensive grunt needed not having Gibson.
Cadee v Cadee - same
Ive ended up with 5 guys the same as the current roster, with most other changes being pretty even overall imo, the big advantage though is 7 guys back from 1st season to allow the team to hit the ground running.
That to me is how a 3 year plan should look, obviously retaining guys you want isnt always that simple, but i got the impression guys like Bruce, Carter, DeVries would stick around if given decent offers so its not totally unrealistic either imo.