It seems we fans are starting to fall into two camps, Half-Full and Half-Empty. I share KyWineman’s optimism and decidedly fall in the former. Here is why:
1. Talent- Yes, I know both camps actually agree on this point but us optimists maybe better understand (or overestimate) how deep this talent pull is.
· 5 legit NBA players in Wall, Patterson, Cousins, Orton, and Bledsoe.
· Being the optimist I would also add the possibility that Stephenson, Miller, Dodson, and even Harrelson (Bigs who can shoot end up playing somewhere professionally) have a very good chance of getting paid to play ball on some level.
· Players like Dodson who were supposed to be shooters only or like Bledsoe, Wall, or Pat who are not known for shooting are all showing versatility.
2. Team Chemistry- I will argue that this team does seem to really like each other and root each other on. In the stretches that they are hitting on all cylinders, they do have good team chemistry. When they struggle it is because they strayed from the team game---defensively and offensively. It is not because they do not jell.
3. Ability to close—All championship teams have at least one person willing and able to take over a game in crunch time. This team has three so far. Patterson, Bledsoe, and Wall. Cousins is on the cusp as well if he can get out of his own head.
4. Good reason why they sputter now at times- This system is difficult. It requires a great deal of knowledge of when to run and when to pound the post. How to rotate and where your teammate will be. When to play the DDM and when to play it straight post. This is not After -school special, this is Shakespeare. More Mozart than Mraz—(Though I like both). Not to mention the Maestro has a whole new orchestra. Calipari has said more than once that he must learn the players and rotation too. He must understand when to play Harrelson or Harris and when Josh is just too slow for the match up and when he will need more offense than Harris can muster and when the Alaskan guard- Assassin is needed to come in and shut down an opponent’s point guard. He will need to learn to rely more heavily on the post. Coach Cal admits as much.
5. The team is coachable- Both personality-wise and ability-wise. You cannot teach desire, speed or leaping ability but you can coach execution and defense. Execution and defense is all they are missing.
6. It is apparent that Calipari knows he has a good team that is why he is so demanding. Would you really want to hype how much better your team can get if they cannot get any better? Of course not. But all of us, Half-full or half-empty fans alike know they can be better. Which is to say we believe than can be better than 9-0!
Are you Cautious or optimistic?
On another tangent, Indiana has no chance of beating us Saturday. Only one of two things will happen. We beat Indiana or we beat ourselves. GO CATS!