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20 Second Defense

Time to talk DEFENSE.

Hard to defend our team right now. I know they stink. Still I see improvements when I watch them play. Oddly enough it seems to me like the majority of our problems are related to offensive execution, not defensive.

"What?" You're going to ask. "You must have been overseas if you think this team doesn't have soft defense..."

Part of it is just the contrast. As I see us getting progressively better defensively it really makes me realize how wretched we were before. Lets face it, when you go from "Piss Poor" to just "Poor" it is an improvement.

So here is my theory: There is defense, and there is 20 second defense

Defense, taken as a whole is what we see the San Antonio Spurs play. It is stifling and effective. It is also amazingly consistent for the entire 24 second possession. 20 second defense is what we get from the SuperSonics today. For approximately 20 seconds out of every 24 second shot clock their defensive intensity and execution are remarkably improved from past years. They are tenacious, and driven on the defensive end of the court. Unfortunately the 24 second clock has a tendancy to be unforgiving. During the remaining 4 seconds, which does not necessarily occur at the end of the posession we see defensive lapses that allow a cut to the basket, an easy rebound, or a bucket that just looks completely unguarded.

This seems to be a problem that originates largely because at any given time we have no choice but to have 1-3 non-defensive oriented players on the court at any given time. One of them, if not more, are simply bound to make a critical mistake and blow the defensive scheme out of the water. I can see how, as an organization, we just need to stock with guys who are able to be consistent with their defense, not making critical mistakes that undermine everything else the team is doing.

So the questions I have are this. Am I imagining the 20 second improvements? Is the team really looking better? If so does that matter at all? Does 20 seconds of good defense indicate progress when they still make laughable mistakes that are costing them points, games, and wins.

I want to tell you all that good arena/ownership news is right around the corner. I am hearing it and I can feel it. Unfortunately I've heard the false promises too many times and am skeptical. I'll tell you that right now I feel really, really good about our chances. Keep up the good work.

Your thoughts?