Test 1 (Preview: 36ers v Crocs 4/1/13)

We've done three preview write-ups this year on Crocs v Sixers matchups so there's not a whole heap of new info to share. Stop Ervin. Go early and often to the Twin Towers. Get some scoring from the bench. Yada yada yada.

In a way the result means little tomorrow. There's two main things I'll be focusing on as a spectator that will tell me a lot about this team and it's immediate future.

1/ Effort
A few players have publicly spoken highly of Marty Clarke. Some have publicly said little. Some have said about what you'd expect from a guy looking for playing time and a chance to secure their immediate future. Their real feelings will be on show tomorrow night. Watch for players who show emotion. Look for the guys who are diving for loose balls and jumping at rebounds like their life depends on it. That will tell you who cares about their coach. Jai Bednall (who has done a great job filling in for Boti Nagy this past week) has indicated in his articles this week that the torch is well and truly on Marty and that a bad weekend will likely see him sent packing. If the players put in one or two listless performances it will be fair to assume that they, like the majority of 36ers fans, are seeking a change.

2/ Christopherson
I'd imagine by late Saturday night we'll know whether he's a keeper or another import bust. He should get plenty of time and shots to give us a fair idea. If he puts in a good enough showing, he may save Marty's job until at least the end of the season. If he fails to make an immediate impact he'll likely be playing for a new coach next week. His weekend performances are that important.

Unless Marty makes any other major changes this weekend he's essentially putting all his eggs in Christopherson's basket. If he shook up the starting lineup or made noticeable changes to the offense or defense and it worked it would ideally make an immediate difference, resulting in wins which might buy him some time. As he stated in today's "Adelaide Now" piece , it's not all about him but if some changes aren't made I don't see it ending well for Clarke. It's not about him shaking things up to save his job, it's about the clear need for some changes to be made to salvage the team's season and restoring confidence some guys are clearly lacking. It's fine to have faith in your system but he needs to stare at the cold hard facts and be realistic that we've all been waiting for this three year plan or big turnaround a long time and it still appears a long way off. Some clever guy once said that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things and expecting a different result.  There's too many problems with the way the team is playing and how players are being used for most to have any confidence this season can be salvaged. On paper we all thought this was a contender. It's not playing anywhere near that level. We either....

1/ Overvalued the players
2/ Or put the wrong pieces together

I think the roster would have been better with a slightly different balance but in the end I think the pieces are there. They just aren't being put together right. Cadee is at his best in a free-flowing offense with the ball in his hands. Stephen Weigh would be more valuable with some plays run for him to utilise his improved long-range game. Schensch works best with the offense being run through him with cutters and outside shooters all around him. Cadee and Crosswell should rarely be on the court at the same time. I've no doubt many of the mentioned potential replacement coaches would play a very different style with this roster and use the players very differently.

Can Clarke get enough of a rise from his team to get two wins this weekend and restore some hope?
Will Christopherson turn out to be Rimas Kutinaitis 2.0?

Roll on Friday

Oops forgot my tip. I'm predicting that the players don't respond as required or that Christopherson doesn't have a KB-type debut. Hopefully not both.

My Tip: Crocs by 4

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