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View Full Version : Is JO capable of rising in a big game?



brichard
05-15-2005, 11:08 PM
I'm not being a hater on this, so JO fans please take a deep breath.

He's obviously had big numbers in playoff games. And in this series, there are stretches where his defense and rebounding alone were huge. But, when things are really on the line, how comfortable are you when he has the ball?

And on a game where people are calling out people, is anybody surprised that JO layed the proverbial egg?

And although JO is battling some physical things right now, I have to think more of it is between the ears. I also acknowledge that this may be part of his maturing as a player. The more times you get into a pressure situation, the more you get used to it.

However, some players never do well in that role. Karl Malone, as great as he was, comes to mind.

My brother (brich) mentioned that JO doesn't play well when he is emotionally charged. I think until he finds a way to work that out, there will be a whole new level he can go to. I'm not sure how to get him there or if he will get there at all, but when/if he does... we will become a much more dangerous team.

Perhaps the best thing for JO to do is to just play loose. Deflect the comments, laugh about them... but Macho JO just doesn't work very well.

indytoad
05-15-2005, 11:11 PM
I think part of it is that Rasheed really, really gets into his head. Which is not really an isolated problem - it's too easy to knock JO off his game. I think you're spot on - the more emotional he gets, the more he tries to force things, and the worse he plays. The mental aspect of his game is very weak - I'm really worried about him being the team leader next season.

IndyToad
Didn't even get to say goodbye

ABADays
05-15-2005, 11:11 PM
The only thing I will say is if JO is going to become the leader of this team - he's got a hell of a lot work to do in the offseason.

Roy Munson
05-15-2005, 11:18 PM
I don't think off-season work will fix what is wrong with him. It's his mental approach to the game. He doesn't make smart plays.

PaceBalls
05-15-2005, 11:24 PM
The first thing he needs to do is lose that weight he gained this year and get back to 235-240lbs he was 2 years ago so he can be quicker and not just take fadeaway jumpers all day. I thought it was a bad idea when I heard he put on 20-30lbs during last summer, and I still think it was a bad idea.

Unclebuck
05-15-2005, 11:34 PM
J.O. has played very well in a lot of big games, but everyone forgets about those, but when he plays bad in a big game everyone remembers those and then questions like this are asked.

Happens to every star player.

brichard
05-15-2005, 11:52 PM
J.O. has played very well in a lot of big games, but everyone forgets about those, but when he plays bad in a big game everyone remembers those and then questions like this are asked.

Happens to every star player.


Name one... when it really counted?

I'm not saying you are wrong, but I can remember series (ie the 76ers series) where he had one good game.

He didn't bail us out vs. Detroit last year.

And remember, this question is just that... a question. I've brought up some concerns, but the post is not titled "JO will never be a good clutch player" or something ridiculous like that. Site me some specific examples and I would find that interesting.

pacerwaala
05-15-2005, 11:56 PM
JO will be fine in a few years. He will get it. I just wish he had it in this Reggie's last season.

My problem with JO is, currently he is soft. He settles for the jumper. He does not take it strong to the hoop. He does not dunk it. He tries to lay it in. He has to take it strong to the hoop.

Case and Point - In the first or second quarter of the 4th game against the Pistons, he was wide open on a pick and roll. Instead of settling for a jumper, he started to take it inside. I was happy he was doing that but as soon as he saw Ben rush at him, he settled for a short jumper which Big Ben swatted like a fly.

He has improved a lot in FTs shooting, atleast to apoint where I am ok with him at the line. He has also improved in the fact that he plays solid defense and good rebounding when he does not have his offensive game going.
His concentration level has to increase.

Right now, I don't think he is capable of rising up to a big game because, I have never seen a franchise player like KG, TDuncan, etc go for statrs like

11 points and 10 rebs
13 points and 6 rebs,

kind of stats. These are PJ Brown kind of stats, not that of a franchise player, no matter who is guarding that franchise player. If he does not have a good shooting night, he should be aggressive and get to the line. Just being who he is he should score 18-25 a game. That is what franchise players do.

Arcadian
05-15-2005, 11:58 PM
Name one... when it really counted?

I'm not saying you are wrong, but I can remember series (ie the 76ers series) where he had one good game.

He didn't bail us out vs. Detroit last year.

And remember, this question is just that... a question. I've brought up some concerns, but the post is not titled "JO will never be a good clutch player" or something ridiculous like that. Site me some specific examples and I would find that interesting.

Game 7 against Boston

Unclebuck
05-16-2005, 12:05 AM
If you want me to name some you have to give me some perameters.
Are you only talking playoff games or are some regular season games "big"

Likely I'll have to answer this question tomorrow,

I'm just kind of thinking out loud. He's played in 42 playoff games. His record is 21-21. Is it possible to "rise in a big game" but still lose, or do I need to pick only wins.

He carried the team in 2003, he and Artest were the only players who did anything

Stryder
05-16-2005, 12:06 AM
I've never understood why JO likes to take those 15 foot fadeaway jumpshots.

Damn, if you're near 7 feet tall and 250+ lbs, you should be able to bang it inside and score.

His unwillingness to play inside confuses me. Carlisle should bench his a$$ for taking some of those ridiculous fadeaways.

Unclebuck
05-16-2005, 12:13 AM
I've never understood why JO likes to take those 15 foot fadeaway jumpshots.

Damn, if you're near 7 feet tall and 250+ lbs, you should be able to bang it inside and score.

His unwillingness to play inside confuses me. Carlisle should bench his a$$ for taking some of those ridiculous fadeaways.


Look at his lower body, he is not very strong, and he has narrow shoulders and a very narrow waist, so he struggles a lot against good defenders in the low post. Last season he led the league in getting his shot blocked for this very reason.

Ever wonder why some shorter guys are so good in the low-post. Look at their butt, waist, and shoulders. Height is very over-rated in determining a players low post effectiveness

sweabs
05-16-2005, 12:30 AM
First of all, I too am concerned about JO being the undisputed leader of our team next year. Reggie is the perfect guy for the role, but I think we're going to miss his locker-room / team leader presence more than anything next year. A line-up of Tinsley/Jackson/Artest/Jermaine/Dale just seems to be mentally and emotionally unstable.

Next, I want to rehash a point I have been saying all year. JO needs to make a decision. Either lose all the weight/muscle he put on this year and go back to being the athletic, versatile power forward he once was; or, keep the added muscle/weight and actually use it in the low-post. If you're that big, you need to assert yourself down low. Look what happened when he went 1 on 1 with Ben Wallace today in the first half: he completely overpowered him by backing him down, and had the easy lay-up. But he just doesn't do that often enough.

Instead, we have this massive centre-like player settling for jump shots, and cannot rebound. I'm sorry, I know JO had 13 rebounds today, but I want him to lose all the weight. Watch him jump to get rebounds...he gets about 2 inches off the ground. Araujo has a better vertical leap.

I also want to mention that Jermaine is not suited for being this muscular, big-man to play underneath the net. As soon as someone gets a little physical with him, he is thrown completely out of wack.

I'm very hard on Jermaine, I will admit; but I think I have every right to be considering this is a max-contract player who we are looking to have as our team-leader and franchise player.

I know salaries don't match up or anything, and its all a dream...but trade JO for Bosh.

Arcadian
05-16-2005, 12:34 AM
I know salaries don't match up or anything, and its all a dream...but trade JO for Bosh.


It would be great to have Bosh just so we could have "The Offical Bash Bosh" thread.

brichard
05-16-2005, 12:35 AM
Game 7 against Boston

He was 5-12 for 15 pts and he had 7 boards.

But, he certainly didn't put us on his back. The story of that game was:

Fred Jones- 4-4 on 3's.

Jax- 5-6 on 3's with a huge one down the stretch. He was our leading scorer.

Jeff Foster with 12 huge boards.


JO played okay, but Jax led the way in Game 7.

Mr. Pink
05-16-2005, 12:38 AM
Does JO have a wide variety of post moves?

I see him do pretty much the same thing everytime.

I don't know if JO is capable of rising in a big game in this series. JO hasn't figured out how to counter to the Wallace Brothers..if there is a way.

brichard
05-16-2005, 12:44 AM
If you want me to name some you have to give me some perameters.
Are you only talking playoff games or are some regular season games "big"

Likely I'll have to answer this question tomorrow,

I'm just kind of thinking out loud. He's played in 42 playoff games. His record is 21-21. Is it possible to "rise in a big game" but still lose, or do I need to pick only wins.

He carried the team in 2003, he and Artest were the only players who did anything

Well, the biggest games are the last games in a series. Win or Lose, how has JO fared in those?

Arcadian
05-16-2005, 12:47 AM
JO also had 6 assist and got to the line more than any other player. If you want to know how our shooters got their shots the answer is JO.

beast23
05-16-2005, 12:50 AM
We lose a game and everybody starts bashing Jermaine?

I don't think Jermaine played very well at all, but I think it is our offensive plan that is flawed, and not Jermaine's effort.

Jermaine, when used as a focal point in a post position, does not have an offensive advantage over either Ben or Rasheed. Yet, this game as we've done before, we got away from the equal opportunity offense that built the early lead and begain going to Jermaine in the post.

Jermaine was pushed out pretty far high and wide to establish position. I think when he is attempting to post up in that manner, with the way the defense is shifted, it virtually destroys the ability of our guards to penetrate the top of the lane.

I believe that instead of setting up probably 1/3 or more of our plays with Jermaine posted up, we should probably use Jermaine as a screener for the guards and have him settle for what he gets through the pick and roll or as he slides off screens.

If we want to get JO the ball in the post, then he must be established within 5-7 feet of the basket, or we should go a different direction on that particular possession.

Carlisle is wasting way too much clock on getting Jermaine established in the post and getting him the ball.

I view this game like so many of our losses in Round 1. Absolutely horrendous decision-making and shot selection. We get up 7-2 then 9-4 by getting the ball into the lane. So what do we do then? Take something like 4 3-point shots over the next 5 possessions, like we are trying to "put Detroit away" 4 minutes into the game.

We've got to play a whole lot smarter than we are right now, or this is going to be a six-game series.

sweabs
05-16-2005, 12:54 AM
If we want to get JO the ball in the post, then he must be established within 5-7 feet of the basket, or we should go a different direction on that particular possession.

There inlies the problem. He is not aggressive enough to get that kind of position, and when he does, 50% of the time he will settle for taking a fade-away instead of going in strong to the hoop. And then, if he DOES take it strong to the hoop, you rarely see him dunk because he just seems to be held down by all that muscle/extra weight.

SoupIsGood
05-16-2005, 12:57 AM
What Jermaine needs to start doing, is drawing fouls again. He is very good at it, and he doesn't necessarily need to bang down low every play to do it, he is crafty enough to draw a lot of fouls, but he needs to attack his defender a bit more, and then go to the fade once he's built some confidence.

But I still thought Jermaine was very solid on the other side of the floor, he has impresses me there this series/playoffs.... bodes very well for next year.

brichard
05-16-2005, 01:00 AM
beast23,

Explain to me how you view this thread as JO bashing?

I am simply stringing together some facts that JO has struggled in some big games. I've also left the door ajar that maybe he has played better in big games than I remember. That is not bashing IMO but rather laying the facts out on the table.

recap
05-16-2005, 01:03 AM
I agree that his defense is getting better and better. He actually boxes his man out on defense about 75% of the time now (which is up from never).

I think that against the Wallaces he would have a lot easier time getting good position if we ran more screen and rolls with him. No matter which guard we are using the Pistons are using their big man to jump out on picks and some screens. I'd like to see even more of this with ONeal setting the pick and then using that opportunity to get position in the post. It seems like whenever we do run a pick and roll with JO, he ends up shooting a long jumper.

SoupIsGood
05-16-2005, 01:12 AM
I think the main problem here is not JO's ability to rise in big games, but the fact the Rasheed basically owns Jermaine down on the blocks.

Now, in an ideal situation, we would either:

A) Have a team good enough to pick up the slack for JO

B) Have a team that is good enough defensively (coughartestwhereareyoucough) to counter Rasheed's effect on JO, where we could limit some of the Piston's most productive scorers.

C) Let Jermaine back up to 20-22 feet, and play Rasheed in the "7 foot SG" style that he does sometimes. (I believe one Knicks game during the season he showed some of this) Jermaine hasn't be able, because of our short-handedness mainly, to develop and work on this extensively this season, though.

sweabs
05-16-2005, 01:16 AM
C) Let Jermaine back up to 20-22 feet, and play Rasheed in the "7 foot SG" style that he does sometimes. (I believe one Knicks game during the season he showed some of this) Jermaine hasn't be able, because of our short-handedness mainly, to develop and work on this extensively this season, though.

In which case you would see Tayshaun and Big Ben absolutely dominate, and see the Pacers get even LESS rebounds (if that is even possible).

SoupIsGood
05-16-2005, 01:18 AM
In which case you would see Tayshaun and Big Ben absolutely dominate, and see the Pacers get even LESS rebounds (if that is even possible).

Get even less rebounds?

I wasn't aware that Jermaine had been a force on the offensive boards lately.

sweabs
05-16-2005, 01:22 AM
Get even less rebounds?

I wasn't aware that Jermaine had been a force on the offensive boards lately.

Were you not suggesting that JO force Rasheed to play out near 3pt land which he sometimes becomes accustomed to, and keep him out there? That is what I got from your post.

What are you saying then? Play JO out even further from the basket on the offensive end so he can take more jumpers? Or make brilliant passes to cutters underneath the net (because he does that so often)?

SoupIsGood
05-16-2005, 01:39 AM
Were you not suggesting that JO force Rasheed to play out near 3pt land which he sometimes becomes accustomed to, and keep him out there? That is what I got from your post.

What are you saying then? Play JO out even further from the basket on the offensive end so he can take more jumpers? Or make brilliant passes to cutters underneath the net (because he does that so often)?



No, I meant to say that JO ought to try taking Rasheed outside more, as in, Jermaine has the ball in his hands....

It's got to be better than what we're getting out of him in the low post. Maybe then, he could get off a jumpshot that isn't a fade. Or at the very least, it wouldn't be as hard for him to pass the ball to someone with a better matchup...

waterjater
05-16-2005, 03:26 AM
JO is an excellent player, but not a great leader! He's too immature to be a solid leader. He rarely hits the big shot to win a game which is what star players do. Until he can deliver the clutch shot (he's done so on defense a couple times), he'll just be another good player in the league.

I'm terrified that he is the pre-disposed leader of this team from here on out.

This has nothing to do with tonights game as every player on our team failed to deliver anything that looked like leadership.

Water

brichard
05-16-2005, 11:11 PM
Okay Buck... have you completed the research? :)

By the way, it doesn't have to be a game 7 I suppose to be a big game. I'm definitely looking at playoff stuff, but elimination games are as big as it gets.

indytoad
05-16-2005, 11:29 PM
All this settling for the fadeaway kinda reminds me of Carter before he got traded to NJ. He does seem to put some effort into his D though, so maybe that theory doesn't hold much weight.

IndyToad
Getting a paper route

ChicagoJ
05-16-2005, 11:46 PM
brichard, this isn't your fault, but this thread apparenlty inspired some people to leave thier brains at the door.

JO's weight is not the issue.

He missed all last summer because of his knee, and he was supposed to start the season on the injured list.

Then came a long suspsension. Presumably, the knee has healed, but I'm not sure how much time he's had to, while healthy, work on his post game.

Then came the shoulder injury. And nobody in thier right mind believes a sprained rotator cuff is healthy now.

And some of you want him to lose the weight based on this season?? Are you kidding me? He needs some time to get his post game back together, with a healthy knee and a mostly healthy shoulder.

He'll be a fine player at 260 pounds and if anyone seriously tries to talk him out of it before he goes through a full, healthy season, they're nuts.

You guys are making me look like Susie Sunshine. Cut it out. :D

Now, to brichard's real question, can JO be counted on to lead this team during tough playoff games?

Well, he's still very young to be a leader in tough games in the playoffs. Reggie was 29 or so before he really began to lead the Pacers in the playoffs. For years, we wondered if Reggie was even going to be able to take some (any?) of the heat off Chuck in the fourth quarter, and Reggie eventually turned out okay, didn't he?

With JO, our window is realistically still two-to-four years out. (Assuming that you-know-who doesn't get any more chances to completely destroy the team in the interim.) Do you give him a chance to keep working it out? If our goal is a legit contender (not a 61-win-ECFs-and-out team, a legit contender) sooner, then I'm torn. But KG hasn't really fared any better at this particular test so I don't know who I'd trade JO for (except Duncan of course, but that'll never happen.) Maybe Stoudamire but I doubt Phoenix does that, either.

fwpacerfan
05-17-2005, 09:12 AM
The only thing I will say is if JO is going to become the leader of this team - he's got a hell of a lot work to do in the offseason.


I couldn't agree more. He needs to work mostly on his mental game. The kid needs to learn to shut up. I think he lets too many things distract him on the court - officials, Rasheed - and he constantly feels the need to run his mouth to the press. Look at his stupid comment about Ben Wallace not being able to guard him - what does Ben do on the 1st possession? - deposits JO's shot back in his grill. People around here want to compare him to Duncan but he has a long, long way to go to be in Duncan's class mentally.

I'm afraid that I see no way JO LEADS a team to a championship. As it stands now he can be an integral part of a championship team but he is not a leader. He may become one if he gets his head screwed on straight but right now he is too easily distracted.

naptownmenace
05-17-2005, 09:24 AM
J.O. has played very well in a lot of big games, but everyone forgets about those, but when he plays bad in a big game everyone remembers those and then questions like this are asked.

Happens to every star player.

Jermaine played well and hit a clutch shot or two in games 2 and 3 of this very same series. I'm amazed how so many people can quickly forget how good a player is when they go into a slump or have one bad game.

The last two seasons, prior to this one, Jermaine has been in the top 10 of both efficiency and crunch points (a combination of points, rebounds, blks, steals, and assists in the last 5 minutes of a close game). Questioning whether he can step up in a big game requires you to totally ignore the past 2 seasons that he's had.

You guys are seriously underestimating his shoulder injury. With that said, he probably shouldn't shoot so often but I'm sure you've noticed that the refs have missed a lot of fouls down low in the last two games. Either way I'm sure he'll respond because he has in the past.

brichard
05-17-2005, 09:30 AM
You guys are seriously underestimating his shoulder injury. With that said, he probably shouldn't shoot so often but I'm sure you've noticed that the refs have missed a lot of fouls down low in the last two games. Either way I'm sure he'll respond because he has in the past.

My only problem with this sentiment is that he has shown he can score with the shoulder as is. He hit 5 of 8 to start the first game. I see him practice shooting and he is shooting lights out on camera.

I don't doubt the shoulder hurts, but even if it does, it is still a mental thing. Jordan could throw up all day with the Flu and go in and score 30 pts. I'm not sure I could, but I'm just saying that the really great ones play through it. I do commend him for not making excuses, and this time of year you just can't.

If the guy can't score b/c of the shoulder, then this is on Rick Carlisle. It would be better to have Dale and Pollard try and score some uncontested shots if this is the best JO can offer right now. However, I think we will find JO has more in the tank if he can find it.

DisplacedKnick
05-17-2005, 09:46 AM
Uh, for those of you saying JO should take Rasheed out on the perimeter, maybe you haven't watched Rasheed play defense. The Pistons often use him to guard SF's. His perimeter defense is even better than in the post - that's why last year, when Detroit had a bench, they used him to half-court trap the ball.

You give JO the ball at 20 feet and he won't have any impact on offense in the game - it will be way too tough for him to get close enough to do anything.

naptownmenace
05-17-2005, 09:56 AM
My only problem with this sentiment is that he has shown he can score with the shoulder as is. He hit 5 of 8 to start the first game. I see him practice shooting and he is shooting lights out on camera.

I don't doubt the shoulder hurts, but even if it does, it is still a mental thing. Jordan could throw up all day with the Flu and go in and score 30 pts. I'm not sure I could, but I'm just saying that the really great ones play through it. I do commend him for not making excuses, and this time of year you just can't.

JO has scored well in brief spurts but has shot around 34% when during the regular season he shot 47%. If that doesn't point to the shoulder injury... I don't know what does.

Now if your argument is that he needs to pass up the shots or that Rick needs to stop running plays through him, I agree. However, to say that he lacks leadership or can't perform in the big game makes absolutely no sense to me.

Just think about Jermaine before the injury... he was single-handedly winning games for us! Last season he hit several clutch shots and had a series clinching block in game 6 against Miami. How soon we forget.

brichard
05-17-2005, 09:17 PM
JO has scored well in brief spurts but has shot around 34% when during the regular season he shot 47%. If that doesn't point to the shoulder injury... I don't know what does.

Now if your argument is that he needs to pass up the shots or that Rick needs to stop running plays through him, I agree. However, to say that he lacks leadership or can't perform in the big game makes absolutely no sense to me.

Just think about Jermaine before the injury... he was single-handedly winning games for us! Last season he hit several clutch shots and had a series clinching block in game 6 against Miami. How soon we forget.

Naptown, you are using a very small sample space of data for JO and his playoffs. I may come to find that JO has been a terror, but saying he blocked a shot or scored a basket isn't going to do it for me. Nor is saying that he played badly one game going to tell me he is terrible.

My memory seems to think that JO has a history of choking in big games. I'm willing to admit I may be wrong, but I'm not so sure I am. And it seems when things they are at the melting point... he doesn't deliver. Now, as Jay said, he may just not be ready yet.

ChicagoJ
05-18-2005, 12:39 AM
I'm not sure he's really delivered in any big games, but I don't think he's choked either.

A couple of seasons ago, JO and Chauncey were the league leaders for 'lead changing shots in the last two minutes'. Of course, I knew that because I watched the last Pistons' game of that season and Chauncey hit one that night to claim the 'title'.

Its got to start by 'delivering' in the regular season, but it is a crapshoot as to whether any player can convert clutch regular season play to clutch postseason play.