Los Angeles Reshuffles Lineup to Address "Unfortunate" Positional Hole
- By Jron Magcale, Day 11, 2021
LOS ANGELES - The Fireballs coaching staff have abandoned the Travon Fortune experiment and will move the veteran SG to a bench role. The Fireballs started the season with a 3-1 card but no thanks to the former #3 pick's (2011) dismal shooting. In the 3 games that he started his number isn't encouraging:
vs Lumberjacks - 15 mins., 0 pts (0/4 FG, 0/1 3pt FG), 3 asts, 1 re and 1 steal, 1 TO, 2 Fouls
vs Scorpions - 30 mins., 7 pts (3/15 FG, 1/8 3pt FG, 3 rebs, 3 asts, 1 stl, 2 TO 1 Foul
vs Blizzards - 30 mins., 4 pts (1/10 FG, 1/9 3pt FG, 1/2 FT) 6 asts, 1 blk, 1 TO
So far Fortune has been shooting 0.12% from the floor and .10% from the outside. So, before LA faced Nashville Stars, the coaching staff decided to work on what they have and recalibrate the lineup to at least match the Stars strengths. A big lineup that unconventionally runs with the Fireballs signature pace. The decision came after the last practice when the team experimented on putting iMac at SG and moving Staff at the wing position inserting defensive minded Norwood at 4 and have Dvoracek at 5, while rookie Garret Cue getting some burns at the wing position as a 6th man.
This gives Los Angeles some defense up front to try and slow Hartford and Craig and keep up with Peeler and Shakur in the perimeter. The plan worked as Fireballs won 122-113 mounting a big 2nd quarter where the Fireballs scored 42 points and followed by 30 and 32 3rd and 4th quarter respectively. The move gave the sharpshooting wing Isaiah McCarty some more touches as he finishes with game high 32 pts (11/25 FG, 7/16 3pt FG, 3/3 FT) also finished with 7 rebounds and 7 assists.
It was an unfamiliar look for Los Angeles but the coaching staff has been known to experiment on the lineup and see what works and what doesn't. Colin Stafford is another story in which he hasn't performed on his usual manner. Staff is averaging career low 10.1 ppg while still grabbing a decent 11.5 rpg, dishing 4 apg, his defensive numbers are fine 1.75 spg and 2 bpg. But the team is expecting Staff's decline but his leadership and defense will still be of value for the team. The team is showing some improvement in defense but still need to show they can do it in consistently.
The bright spot for LA is Chris LaCruz is still playing at a high caliber, averaging 30 ppg, 11 apg, 3.8 rpg, 2.25 spg and 1 bpg while shooting 62% FG and 33% 3ptFG. But if LA aims to go deep in the playoffs the team needs to address their obvious hole at the SG position and their depth needs to produce game in and game out. For now, LA has been patching holes with temporary solutions with match up by match up changes. It will be a long season in Los Angeles and with a longer season comes longer commitment on consistency and game planning.
"We have been in talks with a few GMs here and there as we always are but nothing concrete yet just discussions. Too early to conclude anything at this point but we'll see, so far, so good 3-1 start is better than how we started last season." GM Jron said when asked if a move is on the horizon.