Creek started the year as a back up at shooting guard and small forward until the chance to start came with the injury to Nathan Crosswell. He didn't set the world on fire in his first start following his move and 2 games later logged only 9 minutes in a win over Sydney. In Febuary he lost his starting role to Everard Bartlett and while this hurt Creek's development, the 36ers hit their best patch of the season (albeit against some of the weaker teams). So why didn't Creek flourish?
1) Rotations. Creek found it hard to find a role. He's probably well suited to small forward but was up against the team's minutes leader in Steve Weigh. At SG he had to battle against Ng (offense) and Herbie (defense). Creek and Weigh were often both on the court at the same time which i don't think best suited the team. I would have liked to see him in a Bartlett/Creek/Herbert/Simpson /Johnson lineup for defensive purposes and a Bartlett/Ng/Creek/Simpson/Johnson lineup for offensive purposes. These lineups were rarely seen though.
2) Confidence. Mitch seemingly struggled to find a clear role and was often only on for bursts of several minutes and would sometimes sit stretches of 20+ minutes.
3) Outside shot. Teams left Creek open often from 20 feet out and he hesitated at times which made him a liability. His shooting percentages back this up.
Interestingly, in his rookie season he averaged nearly 1.5 extra minutes but this year his steal and block numbers dropped, along with his FG and FT%. That indicates perhaps he was trying to play much more controlled and he stifled his own game. Creek is best when he's up in his opponents face on D and slashing to the hoop at the other end.
Hypothetical. These 2 players are up for grabs but you can only take 1. Stats per 40min. Who do you take?
Player A- 14.6pts, 6.3reb, 2.3ast, 3.3to, 0.6stl, 40% FG, 35% 3PT, 78% FT
Player B- 13.9pts, 7.7reb, 3.1ast, 2.1to, 1stl, 44% FG, 33% 3PT, 55% FT
On the numbers player b has a slight edge right? If you picked player b, you took Mitch Creek and left Stephen Weigh.
Creek has got game and in his 3rd year must be let off the leash. With the way the 36ers are shaping up I'd imagine if they keep him he'll be coming off the bench again. If that's the case these things would help him flourish.
1) Being given the 6th/7th man role. 20min a game minimum. Coming in to lift the tempo.
2) Being used on D. Should be part of a trapping D or pressuring point guards.
3) Playing some SF. Has quickness to burn and needs to be matched up against guys he can blow past on offense.
4) Patience. Marty must persist with him and leave him out there even when he makes mistakes or gets tentative. The team leaders need to build him up. Often I saw Creek out there trying to rev up his team mates while he was rarely given much oncourt direction by the veterans.
Adelaides must keep Creek and give him a license to play his natural game.