While Austin Toros’ Marcus Cousin will be in Los Angeles making an appearance in the NBA D-League All-Star game this weekend, the rest of the Toros will have a much-needed weekend off.
At the break, the Toros are a game and a half out of the playoff hunt. Unless things turn around for the better, there’s a possibility the team will miss the post season. Something that hasn’t happened since the San Antonio Spurs gained full control of the team four seasons ago.
During the Quin Snyder era, the Toros made back-to-back-to-back playoff appearances but were unsuccessful in bringing home a title but just as the Toros are looking for the first championship title so is Coach Brad Jones.
Jones, who previously coached with the Utah Flash, has been to the playoffs the past two seasons. Most recently his playoff appearance was brief as the Flash were bumped out of the first round by the Iowa Energy.
However, playoffs or not, this team needs to get it in gear. Call it what you will, but this team needs to start showing the same passion as they had in past seasons.
Now I’m not trying to make excuses for this team but there are some to list for the Toros’ sub-par season.
First, this team is in flux. New players added such as Eric Boateng, Spurs rookie James Anderson, Moses Ehambe, make it difficult to develop on-court chemistry.
Second, the team has lost key players. Gone are Eric Dawson, Thomas Gardner, Lewis Clinch, and others which also adds to the difficulty of meshing.
Third, this isn’t the Toros of the past. Under Snyder, Austin had players such as Alonzo Gee, Ian Mahinmi, Dwayne Jones, Curtis Jerrells, Malik Hairston all who proved they were NBA capable and for some are currently with NBA teams such as Gee with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Mahinmi with the Dallas Mavericks.
Not to say this current team is made up of players who aren’t NBA ready. They are. But until they get that NBA call-up, they must continue to show they have what it takes to make it in the NBA and a sub-par record doesn’t help their cause.
The first step towards salvaging the season begins immediately after the break. The Toros will face the Texas Legends and should they get the victory, the team will only be a half-game out of the playoffs.
The key words here are “patience” and “transition.”
New coach, new players, player turnover during the season, all makes for a season of transition.
(Toros Nation’s Jeff Garcia contributed to this post)