Mike D'Antoni's been a bit cryptic with his lineup intentions this preseason, probably because he truly has yet to pick a starting five. Nonetheless, the coach continues to drop hints, which may be wearing thin with players and fans alike. Jonathan Abrams of The Times spoke to the coach, and heard the following about Danilo Gallinari:
"I probably would like to start him, but this is kind of his rookie year and we’ll go through some stuff and we’ll see," D’Antoni said. "But I think eventually, he will be a starter because he’s that good."
Like I said, cryptic. I'd guess that D'Antoni, like the rest of us, was initially more than willing to have Gallo start from the outset. The youngster hasn't exactly hit the ground running in preseason, though, so the transition may be more gradual. I don't see this as a good thing or a bad thing. It just is.
More than willing to assume Gallinari's starting role is Al Harrington. With Gallo, Wilson Chandler, and Jared Jeffries all commanding attention, Harrington seemed like a candidate for a benching. I just don't see D'Antoni benching his leading scorer, though, and neither does Al. From Frank Isola of the Daily News:
When Harrington was asked about being a sixth man yesterday at the practice facility in Greenburgh, he smiled and told reporters in a non-confrontational tone: "If that's what he wants me to be I can adjust to whatever. I play basketball. And I do it well.
"I don't think it's going to happen. Don't you think I'm a starter? Then write it."
See? That falls well short of "a rift", or whatever it is that they have in Golden State, but it's still a bit of uneasiness. Uncertainty weighs on the players, and it'll all be simpler when guys understand their roles. Thankfully, the preseason is nearing its close, and the team should be more or less set within the next week. D'Antoni favors a short rotation, so you can expect 7 or 8 players to get ample minutes. Nonetheless, the notion of starting still bears some sort of symbolic importance. One also needs to strike the right balance of energy and stability in the starting unit and each five thereafter. That said, who's your five and why? Share in the comments, and provide reasons in haiku form if you dare.