Calling the bench

As you hopefully have noticed (although probably not), I've been gone for a couple days.  This isn't just because we're in the dog days of the season and there's nothing to talk about.  I just moved back to school, so things are a little hectic.  Besides running this blog, I'm also a sports editor at my weekly school newspaper (in case you're wondering, here's my article for this week), and production nights are Sunday and Monday, so I probably won't be updating here too much on those days.  Jake's in charge then, and he'll be running the entire site in my stead.  

Anyway, today's Tuesday, so I'm back, and I've been wondering about the so-called upgrades to our bench.  Coming into the offseason, I think we can agree that the two main goals were to improve our defense and to improve our bench depth.  I'm not sure that we've solved the first problem, although we could theoretically still use our low-level exception to go over the luxury tax and snag Ruben Patterson.  But what about bench depth?  We lost Jarvis Hayes and Michael Ruffin (and probably one of Calvin Booth and Roger Mason) and replaced them with Nick Young, Dominic McGuire, and Oleksiy Pecherov.  Ernie also seems to be banking on a healthy return for Darius Songaila and continued improvement from Andray Blatche, which seem reasonable, but hardly are guarantees.  

Truthfully, is our bench really that much better?  I'd say marginally, but not significantly.  If we're going to improve this year, it's because we stay healthy, not because of this sudden bench depth we just acquired.  At least that's how I see it.

I guess this is a roundabout way of suggesting that Ernie sign Patterson.  I'm not sure how well he'd mesh here, both on and off the court, but it's been proven that a good team can survive having one knucklehead (although Blatche may qualify there as well).  Right now, D-Mac is Caron's only backup, and as good as he was in summer league, I'm not sure we can count on him just yet.  Patterson is a tough, physical defender that would immediately upgrade our defense.  He'd also give us a lot of flexibility.  We can play him at the 4, we can use him to back up Caron, or we could use him at the 3 with Caron in the backcourt.  Offensively, he had a career year last year, and while he probably won't get nearly as many touches as he did in Milwaukee, I like that he has a good post-up game.  That's a dimension this team lacked, and if he can provide it in 20 minutes or so per game, it'll make a great offense even better.

But that seems like a bit of a pipe dream at this point.  Patterson probably won't settle for the low-level exception even this late into the process, and Ernie probably won't go over the luxury tax for him.  So I ask you guys, did we do enough to make the bench better this season?   If so, how much better will it be?  If not, then what would have been a better strategy?

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