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Not Exactly Born To Run

run run run One of the common refrains that Danny has emphasized every offseason is the need to get more athletic and develop an up tempo style of play. In years past he’s drafted the high flyers Tony Allen and Gerald Green. Last summer he picked up two push-the-pace point guards in Sebastian Telfair and Rajon Rondo. I remember writing sometime this summer that the team will simply have to run if they expect to win any games. Well, neither happened.

It is a joke at this point listening to the team pay lip service to running only to abandon it a week into the season. I’m no longer going to bother wondering why we don’t run. In fact, I am actually starting to wonder if we should even bother.

I wonder if the team Ainge has assembled is really a running team at all. Think about the current 4 best players on this team: Paul Pierce, Al Jefferson, Delonte West, and Ryan Gomes. The bench features players like Perkins, Powe, and Scalabrine. Exactly which one of those players is a fast break player?

The only players well suited to a running attack have fatal flaws: Rondo is the best of the bunch, but still making his share of rookie mistakes. Telfair, in his 3rd year, is also still making rookie mistakes. Gerald Green, also in his 3rd year, is making fewer and fewer rookie mistakes, but he's no vet. And of course Tony Allen is on the shelf.

This is one case where I really can’t blame Doc for failing to get the team to run. He has to work with what he’s got and that means slowing things down.

Of course it is easier to score points in transition and I realize that Jefferson and Perkins (when healthy) can grab rebounds that could start fast breaks with timely outlet passes. Every team should run when they have the opportunities. But why force something that doesn’t enhance your players’ strengths?

Maybe we should just take our time, set up Al Jefferson on the post, and let the offense run from there. Some of the great post players were even able to run the offense through the post. Perhaps Jefferson isn’t quite there yet, but he’s improving his passing every day.

Slowing it down also means fewer points for the other team. It allows our defense to catch a breath and exert less energy due to fewer trips down to that end of the court. Frankly, our defense needs all the help it can get.

Eventually, I do think that Ainge wants a running team. To get that team, he’s going to need to make some more roster changes and hope that players like Green and Rondo develop more. He’s going to need Tony Allen to get healthy again. He has to hope that Pierce will be back in shape next Fall (he was in great shape this year before the injury).

Basically the team needs a lot of things to happen before they can become a running team and depending on what happens in the draft, I am beginning to wonder if they should.