Weir has no plans to end the way Lobos start - Albuquerque Journal

Weir has no plans to end the way Lobos start

Lobo Drue Drinnon, right, and his teammates have gotten off to slow starts in their five games this season, but still have a 4-1 record. ROBERTO E. ROSALES/JOURNAL

Kevin Mackey’s former assistant coaches at Cleveland State used to jokingly ask him to let opposing teams get a few good open shots early in their games.

That, they felt, gave a false sense of security and set the tone for the type of fast-paced, run-and-gun style of play that his ‘Run and Stun’ scheme – one mimicked by the UNM Lobos the past two seasons under head coach Paul Weir.

“My assistant coaches would make the statement, and most head coaches would fire the guys on the spot, (they would say) ‘Hey coach, why don’t we let them score the first couple of baskets so they thing it’s going to be easy,'” Mackey told the Journal in September during a podcast interview. “You lure them in. Now you’ve got them. You’ve got them playing our way. It’s going to be up and down. They’re in trouble.”

Mackey’s aides would love Weir’s Lobos.

Through five games this season, the Lobos have fallen behind early in each. Saturday at Bradley, it was an 11-0 deficit the team found itself in before outscoring the Braves 85-64 over the next 36 minutes for the road win.

Weir insists the early deficits are not intentional, though he does think some teams, like the Braves on Saturday in Peoria, Ill., do tend to start shooting quicker and playing faster than normal as a result of those fast starts, which is what the Lobos want.

Even though the Braves started fast, Weir said, “Those were still the types of shots that we wanted (them to be taking).”

Whatever the reason, the Lobos have yet to be the team that punches first this season.

And the most likely contributing factor seems to be Weir’s insistence on changing his starting lineup every game based not on continuity, seniority or even overall value, but on deflections per minute.

UNM has used five starting lineups in five games and all 11 Lobos who have played this season have started at least once.

Weir’s starting lineups every game since early last season are determined by the five players who have the most “deflections” per minute in the previous game. Deflections, a term Weir uses to cover hustle plays like steals, blocks, charges taken, diving for loose balls and actual deflections, are what Weir decided a year ago he wanted his team to focus on more than anything.

But Lobo starting lineups don’t guarantee extended playing time (one starter Saturday played three minutes and a second played four) and aren’t constructed based on how the players perform together. Like Saturday, when the Lobos fell behind 11-0 and started a sophomore, two scholarship freshmen and one walk-on freshman.

So, is it time to stop the gimmicky approach that is geared more toward culture building than actual on-court play?

“That’s a really good question,” Weir said Saturday. “And something that I wish I could break down, but, unfortunately, we do what we do. … I believe in our system and eventually I hope that we believe in our system to the point that all those other things are meaningless. …”

Through five games, UNM’s starting five has fallen behind a combined 19-2 before making its first substitution each game.

And by the time the entire starting lineup has been substituted for at least once, usually about four minutes into the game, and the team starts its regular rotational pattern, the Lobos have fallen behind 41-23 and only once held a lead at the time all starters had been substituted for (UNM led 6-4 against New Mexico State in the Pit by the time the fifth starter had been substituted for at the 16:44 mark.



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