Wednesday, 02 January 2019 16:43

Fireside with Anaheim General Manager

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ANAHEIM, CA - Following the defeat of the Archers at the hands of the stacked St. Louis Sun Kings, the front office of the Archers has been quiet.  Some speculate they were licking their wounds or simply resting after a long run last year caught up with their long run this year.  Archers general manager Eric Stelle broke the silence to talk frankly about his team's performance and give the fans a look toward the future as he sat down with OSPN commentators for a quick fire Q&A session.


OSPN: We'll start wtih center


Stelle: An evolving position.  In days past, it was all about the roadblock.  As you know, here in Anaheim, we are a bit less traditional in our approach to positions and what they are "supposed to do."  That's why you see guys like Gene Cantell - frequently maligned for his lack of rebounding and traditional pivot skills - among others on the team.  We look at talent for it's own sake and not what it's supposed to look like at the position.


OSPN: Ronald Long


Stelle: Great fit for what we're doing here.  Sure, he came with a very hefty price tag but what can you say?  Some GM's eyes are bigger than their stomach when it comes to free agency.  I think this was the case with Ronald but he has some great skills and, if he can produce like he did in the playoffs, where he faced off against top talent in the league and excelled, I would expectd Coach Bennett would see him with more floor time.  If he gets near to the 13 and 10 Ronald Long that I think he could be, he could be a fiture here in Anaheim until he retires.


OSPN: Disappointments?


Stelle: I was not thrilled with how Donald Williams seemed to fade into the background in the playoffs.  He was brought in to provide that scoring pop like he did all season and that just seemed to go away.  He'd have outbursts, sure, but he just went silent in the Conference Finals.  We'll be giving those games a deep dive from all angles too because, in addition to goinhg 7-26, he did not get the opportunity to have a better game so it's premature to lay blame at anyone's feet at this point.  I can't just say "he had a bad conference finals" because he didn't get much chance but he did not have the impact like he did in the regular season and that is disappointing.  


OSPN: Moving on, let's talk about power forward.


Stelle: Another evolving position.  It seems that it's getting faster.  Sure, that's the case at all positions in the league but especially true for the power forward position.  There's still a place for slower power forwards because you see the fine play of Lefevre in Detroit or how Chicago is using Gary Budd, but if you look at the top of the position, you start to see the same thing.  Players close out faster for being so big and it's not just guys like Richardson in St. Louis either.  Charles Flowers is where I think the revoloution began and it's just grown from there to the point where you see LA playing Renato Ardoin there to make space in the paint for Lenny Davis to operate.  Back in the early days of the league, you would see a guy with Logan Golboy's skills and think small forward.  Now?  I'm not so sure he wouldn't have been more of a power player or center who can face up and make the other team respect his three point shot.


OSPN: Jamie Adkins


Stelle: We used him in rotation quite a bit  this year because we were deeper at the position than seasons past.  Jamie did what he does every year which is just about a double double.  He seemed to have some lapses in concentration at the line but his passing was spot on and, while he won't gather any consideration for the all league defensive teams, his contribution there is underappreciated in my opinion.


OSPN: Rookies?


Stelle:  Yes.  We invested heavily at the power positions this year because we do rely on our veterans quite heavily.  It'd be nice to keep them fresh through the season and that means developing some talent to keep pressure on while the starters get a break.  I was very pleased with the performance fo Marc Desrousseaux and expect great things from him under coach Bennett's tutilage.  He has a point guard's instincts in a power body... it will be fun to watch.  Erik Hall, our top pick this past draft, put in a solid 71 games in our development league affiliate, Le Lions De Paris.  He's nearly unstoppable on the inside, finishes through contact, and with a bit more work on top of some lower body strength, we could see him contend for minutes very soon.  Same goes for Daniel Fendley who is the same height and gave similar production and efficency.  What Daniel brings, however, is great court awareness for a guy his size.  I'm thrilled with what I see and am excited to see what mroe these three can do with time within the organization.


OSPN: How about the small forward position?


Stelle: Barnett's departure in free agency left us with a big hole in the roster.  He may not have been the most explosive player but he was tenacious and a great guy to put on those small forwards who like to hit the glass.  There were thoughts about having Logan take the position again but we felt that was just asking too much of him at this point in his career.  It would wear him out to chase around guys like Lynwood Emmert or Greg Fore who are not only blazingly fast but deadly from the perimeter.  No, we though it would be best to go wtih Long Foote there.


OSPN:  Long Foote.


Stelle: I think that he's sorely under rated around the league.  It's a combination of factors I think but I think that there's still that expectation from early when the league started and guys like Maurice Roman would just grind other small forwards into dust.  That and he's not really a three point shooter (though his work on improving in that area should be obvious to anyone who looks).  Instead, he slashes and then, when you back off to respect his drive, he has a fantastic mid range jump shot.  I mean, not counting his inside attempts now, he stuck 47% of his outside shots.  That's easily top ten at the small forward position but, when you look at those top 10 players, the only ones who have attempts like his who are better with his volume are guys like Stan McClelland or guys who shoot much less like Ocavio Mororison or Blake Cobb.  This guy has offically transitioned from a scrappy rookie from San Diego State with a reputation as kind of a grinder to a deadly weapon on a championship contending team and he's earned it all with hard work and a never quit attitude.


OSPN: Logan Goloboy's expiring contract.


Stelle:  We'll do everything in our power to bring him back but we have an agreement that this is a buisness.  You cannot do what he's done for as long as he's done it and at the level he's done it without knowing that.  If he and his agent can come to terms, great!  It's not like we'll be under the salary cap if we let the salary hold he has go completely.  However, you never know the market and some GM's have had a love affair with Goloboy for years.  The might think that, at 34 years of age, this is their chance and, remarkably, Logan does have basketball left in him.  If that happens, he'll always be an Archer and our two time champion.  His jersey will hang in the rafters here at the Pacific Life Center when he decides to hang it up.


OSPN: On to shooting guard.


Stelle:  Alain Lagon has been at the heart of what we've been up to ever since we called him up from Paris in '20.  This kid is just exciting and electrifies the crowd.  The way he twists and extends... and such explosion.  Perhaps he just dunks a bit too much in warm up's trying to get the crowd revved up... we'll have to talk with him about that because he's not had all his legs under him on his long range shots.  And sure, He does have trouble denying the post but he has about three or more inches of height on most guards try to take him down low so he'll win as many as he loses.  Our bigs are trained to be quick on the help too so having Ronald lurking in the paint with is great timing helps.  His fundamentals are great though because you never see him reach and is rarely caught out of position so we're not really concerned.


OSPN:  Is James Wall your shooting guard?


Stelle: That's a hard to say.  Is the person who checks the other team's shooting guard a shooting guard even if he's listed at point guard?  I think that things are just too fluid in the league to tie a person to a position if they are capable of playing another.  I mean, is Richardson in St. Louis a center?  James obviously is a disruptive presence on the court so we try to leverage that against whomever touches the ball the most in the opponent's back court.  If that happens to be a shooting guard, so be it.


OSPN:  Then is Tony Bowe your shooting guard?


Stelle:  Again, it's too fluid to pin him down like that.  The kid is six foot five so is he a small forward?  He's got great court vision so we'd love to play him at the point but, in our lineup, the shooting guard kind of IS the point.  Really, whomever can bring the ball up the court is the point and we have a bunch of different guys who can do that.  Tony's court vision is fantastic and I think that he's also had a positive impact on James too because you can see improvement in that area of his game since the two of them have been on the court together.  Tony's been very vocal in his desire to be a full time starter so we gave him a shot this season and he produced well... we just wish he produced more and that will come with time.  The guy is only 24 and I think that some forget that because he was contributing his second year and starting his third.


OSPN:  Areas of need.


Stelle: I would love to improve our ability to be explosive from beyond the arc.  We were the next to last worst three point shooting team this season.  I think that, if we can keep what we have going but add a three point attack to it somehow, we could secure another trip back to the finals next year.   I would also like to get better with the ball.  We play so fast sometimes taht it can get a bit sloppy.  However, I am nitpicking a team that won 61 games last season so it's really a case of hashtag first world problems there. [laughs]


OSPN: Finals.


Stelle: Well, everyone would like to say "oh, well, at least I lost to the eventual champions" but that's true of the team they put out in the first round too isn't it?  I am glad for their fans because it's been a lot of suffering in St. Louis going back to the Carson days.  However, I don't like that we lost to them so part of me hopes Denver gets it.  I think let's just say that, I hope it is a good game no matter who wins and, no matter who wins, I'll be happy.




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