I started to comment on Frank8's post about AR getting Mozgov's minutes, and it turned out to be longer than I expected. Jump to learn more about our favorite Russian.
I think pulling Mozzie for AR is a mistake. Please keep in mind that I love them both, and believe that both will be a part of our team's future going forward.
Mozgov has been very disappointing. That's true. Still, I think it is especially important for Mozgov to stay on the floor and play through his mistakes.
It has been well documented that big men develop slowly. Every single big man struggles with fouls when they enter the league. However, in spite of his inability to stay on the floor, I am convinced that Mozgov is going to be something. Think about it:
The MOZGOV LIST: He hustles. He's active. He runs the floor well. He's not afraid to bang with people. He can hit the fifteen footer. He's not soft. He has a high basketball IQ. Excellent on the pick and roll. He defends aggresively. He's unselfish... it's everything you want in a big man.
I could go on and on. There are only two things that are making Mozgov a liability right now. His propensity to foul, and his ability to catch passes. Neither of these will be a problem going forward:
Catching passes: The guy is nervous. He's just like AR, going through traumatic stress and mental anguish everytime he makes a mistake. He wants to impress his coaches and teammates and fans so badly. The poor guy double facepalms after every mistake he makes (seriously, watch for it next time). Listen to me! MOZGOV CAN CATCH THE BALL. He caught the ball well in Russia. He's just nervous. They just need to keep throwing him those passes. He will drop less and less of them, and in two or three years he's going to catch them and dunk them without thinking about it... unless we never allow him to play through those dropped passes in which case he'll always be thinking about dropping the next one. You may recall our beloved David Lee also had a propensity to drop passes when he was a rookie... or did you already forget?
Fouling: First of all, if you watch the games (as opposed to highlights and boxscores) you will know that Mozgov's foul problem looks a lot worse on paper than it really is. No one can argue that he has been repeatedly raped by referee rookie biased. Every night, approximately half of his "fouls" would be considered good physical defense if he were an established veteran. The other part is just him learning. He needs to be out there playing defense if he's ever going to learn how to do it right. I can't think of a single big man who didn't have foul trouble his first year.
Mozgov needs to be on the floor as long as he can before he fouls out. I'm positive that he is going to be a legitimate NBA center in a few years... unless we stunt his growth now.
Think about big men draft busts... why were they busts? Too soft, conditioning, off-court problems, poor b-ball IQ, injury problems... Guys! Mozgov is none of these things. We have a gem here, I'm telling you, a gem! AR needs to find minutes through someone else.