Lebron James has a bit of a problem right now. Well, he has a few problems in the big three of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett. Add a streaky Rajon Rondo, and all of the sudden the best, most dominant player in the NBA in James is now up against three all NBA players with a point guard who can slice a defense outside as well as drive the lane for layups. The best player in the NBA can’t do it all alone. Or can he? Scoring leads defense. The best, most effective scoring, as the Lakers have found out in the playoffs is in the inside. The Paint. Think of the Paint as the Red Zone in the NFL. Kenny "The Jet" Smith pointed this out while looking at the matchup between the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers on TNT. He explained on how the Suns would have an advantage if they were able to play "open" basketball between the Free Throw lines. Fast Break Basketball is all about exploiting the transition defense. It’s about speed. The basketball court has a lot of angles, and how you cut and pass will help predicate what looks you have, going baseline, or outside.
That being said, you still have to block. Picks, screens, etc. As awesome and creative as Jerry Sloan is coaching offense, it still came down to a half court game. The Western Conference Finals between the Suns and the Lakers should be more fun to watch then than half court slug fest of the Big Men of the East. Yet, half court offense is still the most effective. When you can dominate the paint on both sides of the court, the streaky shooters can and will hit big shots, and the passing will open up to beat the transition defense of the opposition.
OK, you can see where I have been spending my time watching Pro Sports - sorry Silver Screen and Roll, you still are the worst Fan blog on SB Nation - and I am still gripping on the San Jose Sharks.
After the jump, well, it’s all about Frank Gore.
The San Francisco 49ers have three potential Players of the Year. One of them is on defense in Patrick Willis. The other two are on offense. Guess what? That offensive player will definitely not be the Quarterback. The best offensive player should and will be one of the best offensive players in the NFL, and that is Frank Gore. Now, Vernon Davis has been an absolute stud no matter if he is in whatever offense - well, either being a receiver or blocker, he really has the better grasp of a Coryell based offense - it still leads to your most effective weapon in scoring. Between the "20’s" is basically between the Free Throw lines, as "The Jet" explained a few days ago. What predicates lanes opening up is the passing or driving leading the execution.
In reality, offense, no matter the incarnation, is pretty simple. Every play is designed to score. Boise State beat Oklahoma on two simple plays in an epic Bowl game. The running back who basically won the game for them got a wife out of it. Yet, the plays that mattered were in the "paint", the Red Zone.
So, how is this the "Season of Gore"? As much as we love to see Gore score a TD, he really has great balance and footwork that moves the chains between the "20’s". Gore has tremendous balance. He might not have true breakaway speed, but he gets big chunks of yardage despite that. I will go as far to predict, outside of injury, that Frank Gore will have a definitive season, one that will surpass every other 49er running back since Roger Craig. Maybe an MVP season to boot.
Hey, Garrison Hearst had bad knees too.