Two years ago
Marty Clarke Observations & Looking Ahead to 13/14
Clearly Marty Clarke has does many things right behind the scenes to earn the respect of his players. They seem to genuinely believe that they can (will?) win every time they step out onto the court, despite previous results.
I also admire Marty's demeanor both during and outside of games. Whatever the reason for his lack of emotiveness, it sets the example for his players not to get too high, or too low during the course of a play, game, or season.
This level of trust in his players and general demeanor has produced some frustrating moments for 36er fans as he generally reacts to in-game issues, rather than taking a proactive approach.
e.g. 6 points up vs. Perth (Cattalini Cup) late in the 4th and allowing play to continue following a Greg Hire trey -> broken offence -> Lische trey -> timeout called by Clarke AFTER blowing the lead...
The more I watch 36er games, the more I believe I see Marty's method to the madness that is often produced on-court.
While I see a system that is -- to the basketball purist in myself -- elegant in theory, and very technically sound, I don't see a system that is designed to exploit the strengths and minimize the weaknesses of our team as well as it should.
Prior to the 2012 Olympics, Australia played in a tournament with an exclusive youth-orientated squad, consisting of Greenwood, Cadee, Norton, Blanchfield, Steindl etc. Every other country that participated in the tournament played close to their full squad, as evidenced by an Australia-China grand final where our hopeful future Boomers went up against the likes of Yi Jianlian...
Australia was absolutely dismantled in that game. After watching the opening rounds of the tournament and seeing Australia get away with a glaring weakness through sheer talent, it became too obvious for me to bare against China: these kids were playing in a system which was fundamentally sound, but so rigidly enforced it didn't allow them to exploit their strengths.
Every offensive possession was run through like it was a 5v0 training drill; getting through plenty of passes, cuts and screens until 5 seconds remained on the shot clock and someone was forced to throw up a prayer. They were playing to get through the offence, rather than playing to score.
Sound vaguely familiar?
Marty is clearly a man who understands basketball, but is coaching like he's still at the AIS.
Regarding 'how' and 'why' the current system is flawed is too exhaustive to even begin ranting.
What I propose for NEXT SEASON (it's too late to implement now) is a system similar in concept to that of the Perth Wildcats. Not in the sense that we would run the same offensive sets, defenses or recruit similar personnel, but in the sense that they play a physical, unorthodox style of basketball that -- to the basketball purist in myself -- is ugly to watch at times, but very, VERY effective.
Would this work with the current personnel?
- Weigh is as versatile as NBL players come
- Gibbo and Petrie were built for a physical style of basketball
- DJ and Schenscher (and to some extent, Creek) CANNOT play honest defence, nor as traditional 5's on offence
- Creek would excel in an offence that provides scoring opportunities in transition and off broken plays
- Personally, I think a system that doesn't allow much margin between thinking and acting would accelerate Cadee's growth as a player
Again, going into further detail is just too exhaustive and I'm not getting payed to submit my opinion (which some of you will no doubt be thankful for). I've also cut myself short because it's late and I will keep going if I don't stop myself soooooo this is my (heavily milked) two cents.
In closing: my view has been to give Marty this season to work it out the kinks, and hopefully produce some better results. He has the player's vote of confidence, whether he deserves it or not, so he has mine for now. If he fails to produce for the remainder of this season, we can say that we gave Marty three full seasons to prove his worth, and move on from this era.