Antonio McDyess returns to the starting lineup

On Feb. 5, Michael Curry hinted that Antonio McDyess might resume starting:

"Over our last 20 games and into the playoffs, I am not sure, but we may look at that," Curry said. "But going through this stretch, we want to see (how the current starting five works)."

Apparently "our last 20 games" = "our last 31 games," and "going through this stretch" = "the next four games," because on Monday Curry announced the change would happen starting tonight against the Bucks. From the Free Press:

"As I talked about going into the break, I'm going to start him instead of Amir," Curry said of McDyess. "Hopefully Amir will play better with some second line guys. Hopefully we can be more solid defensively, especially when we have the help with 'Dyess in there and also to stay consistent.

"I don't have to bring Kwame (Brown) into the starting lineup. I can bring him off the bench to play against some of the bigger guys. I can start 'Sheed and 'Dyess and just play that way."

This goes completely against Curry's stated plans earlier in the year to keep either McDyess or Wallace on the floor at all times, but after winning just five of the last 17 games, I guess it's only natural for a first-year coach to get desperate. It's what coaches do under pressure (see: Flip Saunders in the playoffs) -- when you feel like you're being graded on wins and losses today, you put your fate in the hands of trusty veterans instead of mistake-prone youngsters.

In other words, you forgo long-term development in favor of immediate gains. And unless it results in a title, it's a selfish move that does nothing for the organization.

Furthermore, to pin this move on Amir Johnson ("hopefully Amir will play better with some second line guys") is ridiculous, especially when you consider McDyess hasn't posted a positive plus/minus in the four games since Curry first hinted at the move. In fact, McDyess was absolutely horrendous in at least one of those games -- he was minus-24 in the Chicago collapse, looking every bit of his 34 years old while allowing Tyrus Thomas to look like an All-Star. Johnson, incidentally, was +13. Giving McDyess more minutes against better players is not the solution.

Terry Porter, a guy who worked closely with Curry last year and whose team came into Detroit last week and wiped the Pistons off the floor, was just fired despite posting a better record than what Curry's done so far. To think that Curry isn't feeling panicked is asinine. This is making a move for the sake of making a move. As John Wooden once said, never mistake activity for achievement.

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