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I doubted your prediction that Gafford could start today. You were spot on with that.
I thought Cook played well again. His jump shot will fall soon. Does it look like he has gotten taller and bigger? He seems sure handed on those rebounds.
Thomas had a huge impact on the game by setting the tone in the first few minutes. His minutes were limited, I believe, because he just could not matchup with Murphy on the defensive end, and we didn’t need any extra offense tonight. Bailey and Cook were more suited on defense.
Not many teams will have a player in Murphy’s mold. Thomas and Gafford should be a very efficient offensive combo. Most opponents will have to provide help on Gafford. Using Thomas’ man to double doesn’t look like a desirable option either. Thomas is going to have a good year. Cook and Bailey performed their roles with acumen tonight. Though none of them are complete players at present, CMA can use the three as a Swiss-army knife to matchup and fix what needs fixing at the PF on a situational basis.
Mike seems to want Thomas on the court when Gafford is in. When Thompson comes in he puts in Adrio or Cook, the reasons are obvious. Cook and Adrio are better rebounders than Thomas, and Gafford way better than Trey.
I mentioned this last week. Thomas and Thompson just aren’t a great pair at either end. Thomas actually rebounds as well as Adrio or Cook. However, he is an inferior perimeter defender. Thomas and Thompson are our two least quick baseline players. That’s a problem on D if we are in man. Likewise, they both do their best work on O on the perimeter. By contrast, Bailey or Cook can take advantage of the middle being open on O with Thompson at the high post, and they add another good all-court defender to offset Thompson’s lack of foot speed. Moreover, Thomas provides spacing for Gafford with his ability to knock down jumpers. Bailey or Cook with Gafford can, however, produce strong pressure defense.
I don’t object to either pair starting, but I would keep Gafford-Thomas and Thompson-Bailey/Cook as box sets. In general I think we’ll see more of Bailey if stops are a problem and more of Thomas if the O is sputtering.