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thunderbird1245
12-04-2006, 08:45 PM
Hi everyone...sorry I didnt make my normal Sunday posting, but Im making up for it now.

We currently are 9-9 as I sit and type this on Dec 4. We've shown improvement in some areas, but some steady and consistent problems have become apparent to all of us. Rather than point those out again, today i want to talk about what the coaches can do to solve them, at least as I see them.

Problem 1, as has been discussed alot on here, is our lack of defense at the point of attack. Our point guard defense is poor, and in my way of thinking thats the single biggest weakness we have on our team by far. Let me be clear: This is the single most important defensive position on the floor, by far. By not having a point guard who pressures the ball and forces the opposing guard to have to work to advance the ball, we are one of the easiest teams in the league to run half court offense against. Our extremely soft defense on the ball lets the opponents point guard run any play in the playbook they have, lets them easily make the first pass in whatever set they want to run, lets the opponents PG communicate with the opposing coach too easily, and lets them have extra time each possession to make an extra pass or screen that eventually leads to an easier shot. Our defense at the point of attack is horrid, no matter what any stats may say. The Pacers dont take anything away from the opponent defensively, all we do is react instead of dictate. This has been a huge factor in some of our blowout losses especially, and really in all of the games. A top point guard defender is a critical missing piece we have missing, maybe the most critical weakness of all.

So what is the solution to problem 1? I still say its playing Marquis at the point as a starter, with Tinsley seeing spot minutes against the opponents second unit. Yes I know how good JT is offensively, but him not picking up opposing guards until they near the 3 point line is driving me nuts....the Pacers defense on the perimeter is charmin soft, and JT is a main culprit. Armstrong cant handle big minutes, Sarunas actually has played decently at the 2 spot but isnt any better than JT at defending quick penetrating guards, and Greene is still raw and unproven. We desperately need someone who can pressure the ball in the backcourt, hound the opponents pg as they cross the center line and force them to struggle to initiate offense....this solution alone over the course of the game can have a cumalitive effect, and may help us completely change how the opponent's coaches have to strategize against us, from the plays they can run against us to how they have to substitute. No matter who plays, our point guards having to back so far off defensively as JT and Sarunas are forced to do due to their lack of athleticism is a huge problem thats got to be solved. Their offensive advantages arent outweighing their faults, at least to me. It pains me to say this because I enjoy Tinsley at the offensive end, but he is such a huge negative defensively that I dont think he is worth it at this point, playing the way he is currently.

Problem 2: Lack of ability to finish on the break. Like is mentioned in the fast break thread, the pacers are running more, but are extremely inefficient in converting. Our problem isnt starting the break, its running the lanes well enough with proper angles and spacing consistently enough to always get a good shot.

Solution to problem 2: Better coaching and teaching, and better, more fundamental play from our point guards. The Pacers dont run wide enough generally on the break, they run to much in a straight line to the rim. Even in younger levels of basketball players are taught to get wide and angle in toward the rim, but yet the Pacers seem to struggle with this for some reason. Our spacing typically is terrible. Maybe a coaching solution would be to run a numbered break, and actually control more of where guys are supposed to go than give them the freedom to read the situation on the fly, I dont know. Part of this problem in my view also lies in the hands of our point guards, who often (Tinsley mostly) who 90% gives the ball up too quickly and early on a 3 on 2 situation. Our point guards need to keep the ball until they reach the foul line area, make a jump stop, and feed the ball to a finisher at that point. Too often we end up making too many passes unnecessarily and it causes us problems. When JT gives the ball up near the half court line to a wing, it discimbobulates all the other lanes and angles, and causes us to have to improvise, which we arent very good at. We need to stick with the fundamentals more of how to run a 2 on 1 or 3 on 2 situation, instead of being so unconventional. I can explain this more in detail if need be.

Problem 3: We are among the worst in the league at fg percentage. Now, when a team struggles shooting, it can be for a number of reasons. Maybe they take bad shots, maybe they just have poor shooters, maybe their offense is easy to defend, maybe they dont fast break enough, or whatever. The bottom line is, we are a poor shooting team in general.

Solution to problem 3: Other than get better shooters to play for us, I dont think there is alot Carlisle can do to help us much here. Obviously, converting more fast break chances as in the above problem will help some, but the main solution he can control is to make a concerted effort for us to get to the line more. We arent the greatest foul shooting team either, but we need to figure out ways to shoot alot more foul shots than our opponents do in order to offset our shaky jump shooting. Coaching wise, that means RC has to convince guys like Daniels, Jackson, Granger, Harrington, and Oneal to not always settle for the easy open jumper, but instead to make the extra pass or to put it on the deck and take it hard to the rim. We also need to run some stuff offensively that creates chances to drive in a more open way. Possible, some "4 out 1 in" type scheme could at times help us. (That was for you Jay lol) Our main offensive weapons scheme wise have been alot of "flex" action and alot of isolations, which usually lend themselves to taking some midrange jumpers, which isnt our strength. I also think biting the bullet and playing Harrison some, in order to give us a big guy to run offense thru when JO isnt in the game would be helpful, even if its for limited minutes. Lastly, I wish RC would tell Foster to dunk the ball instead of laying it in and missing it, but thats another entire article lol.


Notice lastly that I didnt put rebounding as one of our 3 major weaknesses. We miss so many shots from the field, and defend so poorly sometimes, that it makes our rebounding look worse that it really is. When we ever can make 8 or so more shots a game, that is that many less defensive rebounds our opponent can get. Our lack of shooting and finishing baskets around the rim is making our rebounding numbers look worse sometimes than they really are. On the defensive end, if our point guard could defend better, we wouldnt have to cheat and rotate so much with our bigs, and they could "stay at home" more often, and that would help our defensive rebounding numbers, which would help our fast break chances, etc etc.

In summary, if we can solve our point guard defense, learn to finish the fast break better and more efficiently, and get to the line and convert more often, I think we have the framework to go on a run in the next few months and become a dangerous team. If we continue to miss chances to score, break even or worse at the line, and play horrible point of attack defense, then we will just go as far as our offense can take us, which will make us an inconsistent mediocre team. No matter what we do, I know we arent championship level yet, but we can be better than what we are so far, if we can solve these problems.

If you agree with my assessment of the problems, but disagree on my solutions, please lets discuss your ideas too and get a good dialogue going.

JMO, as always.

speakout4
12-04-2006, 09:49 PM
Nice analysis and regarding problem 1, I have never seen JT paly a good game at both ends of the floor. I don't think he has the stamina to go all out and I am not suggesting that he is not in shape. I just think it is his musculature. Quick athletic PG will always give him problems but JT is much the same as Mark Jackson and no one expected Mark to defend fast PGs or to play up tempo.

NPFII
12-05-2006, 07:35 AM
TBird, nice analysis, and I agree that those 3 problems exist, but I'm not sure they are the most important, and definitely not the only ones...

I've noticed there is a common thread running between your 3 points:
Low basketball IQ (LBIQ), and Coaching

Problem 1: PG defense at point of attack
Sure, the PGs have a hard time guarding. But still, most of the breakdowns coming from the point are with pick-n-rolls, where any PG gets stuck, and help needs to come over. The weak side has to recognize and be ready to help, and rotate, and cover the lanes, and whatever...

Solution: There are a wide variety of solutions to being beat on the point of attack, even with LBIQ players. To name 2:
1. Switch always. Deal with mismatches later. This is easier for LBIQ players. It may cause mismatches, but at least everyone knows what to do, and who to guard.
2. Zone. The Pacers seem to me like a classical zone team, when considering the athletisicm. Although zones are tough for LBIQ players - it can work many times, as other NBA teams also have LBIQ players who notoriously have a rough time vs zones.

This is more a coaching problem - not recognizing the kind of players you have - and trying to make them do things they cant do.

Problem 2: Fast break efficiency
Ok, that's obvious - it's a FAST break, meaning you have to do everything FAST. Not just run or dribble, but also think and pass. That's a huge problem for LBIQ players who need more time to figure it out. If you hold the ball too long on the wing, you killed the break. If you decided to go "all the way" too early, you'll charge into a defender that recognized it. I'm not even starting about making that "special" high-IQ play that make the defense crumble.

Solution: there is none, really - except playing with higher basketball IQ guys. Coaching can come in with strict guidelines, like pass quickly, run to the corners, look for the trailer, etc, but I'm guessing they've already gone thru it hundreds of times. LBIQ players just dont get it, and the coaches go mad...

Problem 3: FG percentage
Sure, you play a iso-type game. Oneal 1on1, Harrington 1on1, Tinsley 1on1, Jackson 1on1 or Daniels 1on1. Hardly ever pick-n-rolls, hardly ever baseline screens, and worse of all - slow passing. When LBIQ players get the ball they think they need to score, and score now. If they pass the ball it's only cause they're stuck and have nowhere to go. Even if they do make the play, they have no more than 50% FG, and when the play goes sour (50% of the time) that leaves a bad FGA, which is still converted at times, but at a low FG%. Apart from all that, there are no shooters on the team. Nobody can make an outside shot consistantly (over 50%), even if it's uncontested. The number of "easy" baskets the Pacers get in a game is extremely low. There are players who "can" make the tough shot, and sometimes even do - but they can't make it all the time (or even 50% of the time). If they were, they'd be Michael Jordan - and even He had a below 50% FG when he went iso.

Solution: once again - none. You can't teach unselfishness. You can't teach thinking faster. You can't teach being pass-first oriented. You can go with what you have, which is above average iso players each trying in his turn to be hero of the day - or - you can try different offensive schemes which will only confuse the LBIQ players. That may improve your FG% over time, but will cause you more turnovers.

In any case - you have a team that will be inconsistent. You will win or lose no matter what the opposition looks like, and you'll feel like you can win every game "if everyone were playing their A game", and you'll generally feel underachieving, cause you have such good players, but on some nights you lose to the crappiest teams. But those feelings are misleading. Yes, you may have some wins against good teams, but in general - you are a pretty lousy TEAM with above average individual players, who don't have enough basketball IQ to play together successfully. On top of that you have a smart coach who's been tuned out by the LBIQ players and he's affraid of using extreme measures with them, and therefore uses a double standard regarding his players favoring the ones that give him more trouble - trying to educate the unwilling...

I can go on with more problems of LBIQ players, like:
4. Very weak mentally
5. Easily distracted from the game
6. Low FT% (don't know why, but there IS a correlation)
7. No sense of teamsmanship - chemstry problems
etc. etc.




Now I know this will be controversial, but I'm gonna list it anyway...

Basketabll IQ - from lowest to highest (ommitting the others):
1. David Harrison (extremely low)
2. Stephen Jackson (extremely low)
3. Marquis Daniels (very low)
4. Al Harrington (very low)
5. Jermaine Oneal (low)
6. Jamaal Tinsley (low)
7. Jeff Foster (average)
8. Maceo Baston (average)
9. Danny Granger (high)
10. Darrel Armstrong (high)
11. Sarunas Jasikevicius (very high)
12. Rick Carlisle (very high)

D-BONE
12-05-2006, 08:16 AM
T

Now I know this will be controversial, but I'm gonna list it anyway...

Basketabll IQ - from lowest to highest (ommitting the others):
1. David Harrison (extremely low)
2. Stephen Jackson (extremely low)
3. Marquis Daniels (very low)
4. Al Harrington (very low)
5. Jermaine Oneal (low)
6. Jamaal Tinsley (low)
7. Jeff Foster (average)
8. Maceo Baston (average)
9. Danny Granger (high)
10. Darrel Armstrong (high)
11. Sarunas Jasikevicius (very high)
12. Rick Carlisle (very high)

I don't see this is all too off target. Using your definition of LBIQ anyway. Maybe a little exagerrated toward the low end on some guys. For example I might suggest JO as average and I don't know if I'd have Marquis and Al as VERY low, but they sure haven't shown me anything approaching high.

Taking the LBIQ term away, I still think you bring up a good point in the tendency to be individually as opposed to collectively oriented in playing style. When you add that to the fact that the team is constructed in such
away that we lack in key fundamental areas (i.e. perimeter shooting and point of attack D), and you have a recipe for a mediocre or worse team.

T-BIRD, I think your analysis is spot on. However, I'm beginning to lose more and more faith that we have the talent and collection of players that could really improve these areas even tinkering with coaching decisions and foci.

For example, I am becoming more convinced each time I see Quis play that he could not handle starting at point. I don't think he has the handle for it nor am I certain he's as good as some of us may have perceived him to be on D. Not that he's bad on D. Certainly there are some guys he would likely do reasonably well on but he can be beat at times and he'd often be on smaller quicker players who obviously handle well.

That leaves us with our same crop unless Greene ever gets off the bench to show if he has anything to offer. Problem is, as you note, that Tins in addition to his defensive shortcomings is not all that proficient leading the break.

Again, this would defy what some of us perceive to be a strength of his, but you are correct that he frequently fails to comply with tested fundamentals of heading up an open court situation. In fact, I am starting to question if Sara is not superior at this. The half court O definitely runs better with him in there.

I'm attempting to be patient but am drifiting toward the opinion that I'd gladly ship out any of our starters for a good deal. I just don't think this team can aspire to much more than a .500 record.

storm1015
12-05-2006, 11:34 AM
I have stated before that this team lacks an identity. They traded players and talked about becoming more up-tempo but that can't happen unless the players on the court want it to and more importantly the coach thinks the players on the floor can handle it mentally and physically. Even with our roster changes a good portion of our minutes go to holdovers (JT, Jax, JO, Foster, Al).

With Jack, JO, Foster, and Al playing a lot of minutes RC doesn't believe they can handle up-tempo physically (athletic enough to finish, stay healthy, play at high level when fatigued, etc). RC doesn't trust Tinsley mentally or physically it seems. Therefore the entire team reverts back to a half-court approach which they know well and have had success with in the past (pre NBA rule change). I think they know this won't work over the long haul with the way the NBA is changing. Most fans have recognized this as well and are frustrated watching the same players try to fit a new system and then revert back.

I still very much believe we can win with JO and Al. But they need a backcourt that can defend, push the ball, and hit open shots. They also need another leader type on the floor. DA seems like this role fits him, but we need this role to be on the court 35+ minutes a night. JT and Jax are not that type. I know JO and Al have bonded together b/c they tend to avoid another team voice, but I still think it is needed.

So we need to find this player(s)/voice. This player doesn't appear to be on our roster.

NuffSaid
12-05-2006, 01:00 PM
Problem 1: Our point guard defense is poor...By not having a point guard who pressures the ball and forces the opposing guard to have to work to advance the ball, we are one of the easiest teams in the league to run half court offense against. Our extremely soft defense on the ball lets the opponents point guard run any play in the playbook they have...The Pacers dont take anything away from the opponent defensively, all we do is react instead of dictate.

We desperately need someone who can pressure the ball in the backcourt, hound the opponents pg as they cross the center line and force them to struggle to initiate offense....this solution alone over the course of the game can have a cumalitive effect, and may help us completely change how the opponent's coaches have to strategize against us...

Problem 2: Lack of ability to finish on the break...the pacers are running more, but are extremely inefficient in converting.

I was going to hold my analysis of my boyz until after game #20, but today's QoD plus this thread has made me rethink holding off (mainly 'cuz everyone else seems to be discussing the very same issues I was gonna bring up! :laugh: ).

As to problem #1, you are 100% on the money in your assessment of the situation. However, I'm not sure if Quis @ the Point is the answer. From what I've seen of his play, he's not that good of an on-the-ball defender. I believe our best on-the-ball defender is Armstrong, and as has been suggested by others @ IndyStar/Pacers forum, a backcourt of Armstrong and Sarunas is actually our most productive and (believe it or not but IMO) most difficult backcourt to score against.

Now, so we don't get confused (or no one chokes on that assessment) let me be clear: by "most difficut", I'm not saying these two lockdown their man by any means. But what I am saying is w/Armstrong doing exactly as you have suggested - pressuring the ball at the point of attack before allowing the opposing PG gets to half-court to setup the offense - I have noticed that opposing teams aren't quick to score when these two are in the backcourt because the "pressure" disrupts the offense just enough to throw them off and take them out of a rhythm (like it's suppose to). For most teams, that works! But when you're up against a finesse player like Kobe, all you can hope for is to keep your best defender on him and hope the help defense comes to stop him. But there again, if the ball is slowed at the point of attack, you don't have a Kobe going off and jackin' up 52 pts because the ball would rarely get into his hands. Pressure defense in the half-court tends to eat up alot of the shot clock and causes players to rush things. If done correctly, a good on-the-ball defending PG can cause all kinds of problems. So, yes, on this point I totally agree w/you.

On problem #2, here again I couldn't disagree if I tried. As much as I like Jeff Foster, he's never been a scorer. He'll get his points off garbage layups much as Dennis Rodman did, but that's it. You're asking a helluva lot for him to put the ball on the floor, step out and take a shot from the field. Still, he is who he is. We have him for that one special ability - rebounding! But man, if he could only put back a decent layup on a consistent basis...

It's clear to me this team still hasn't found a real answer of what to do @ the 5 spot. Reinserting Foster into the starting line up has allowed JO to focus more on scoring and shot blocking, but it sure would have been nice to have had that one other big body down in the paint who you knew would really stick the ball for the score on the dish or off. rebound. Foster just wasn't getting it down in that regard. Frankly, he's just not strong enough to handle the likes of Bynum or fast enough to keep pace w/the likes of Kwame. Hence, David Harrison, foul prone as he is, would have been a "big" help last night.

Now, not to discredit Baston because I thought he (when paired w/Sarunas) played pretty darn good, but the problem is he's all dunks and no jump shot. We need another "Brad Miller" type player who can pull his defender out from underneath the basket and actually hit a short-range jump shot. So, the question becomes this:

"Do we keep Foster w/JO because Foster doesn't need the ball in his hand to be effective, or do we pull Baston into the starting five and let JO play Center and Baston @ PF (or vice versa)?"

Ideally, Baston would be great playing alongside JO because he doesn't need the ball in his hands either to be effective and he can make a layup (or shall we say he can really jam the rock!! :-o ), BUT his effectiveness when paired w/JO will only yield results IF every play was NOT "feed the low-post". In other words, Baston thrives when playing in a motion offense. In the three games I've watched him play, he really surprised me w/his vertical leap! The man can fly!!! He's always in motion...always moving. The problem for him as I see it is slow it down, and he has problems offensively. Therefore, he's better off staying w/the "run-n-gun" group than w/the starters. Still, I'd like to see how he performs alongside JO and Big Al once to start a game.

As for scoring efficiency, that will improve over time. I like the fact the Jax2 isn't settling for 3PA so often. He's mixing up his game alot more. Problem is he has begun to settle into being the #3, 4 or 5 scoring option even when the primary scorers are out. Part of that is RC; when Granger rotates in he becomes the #1 or 2 option(s) when JO/Al are out (that is until Sarunas find his man, Baston! Then it becomes a high flying affair!! :-p ). I don't have a problem w/that; I'd just rather that Jax2 be alittle bit more aggressive w/his game. I think he's playing too timid. Maybe he's still feeling the affects of the night club incident (or it's still heavy on his mind. It's almost as if he is being too cautious at times and deferring to others more often than he ususally does.)

Anyway, that's my 2-cents worth. Hopefully, returning home will help settle things down alittle...give them more practice time.

beast23
12-05-2006, 01:15 PM
TBIRD -

Pretty good analysis. I'm really surprised that your discussion of problem and potential improvements hasn't invoked more play among the posters. We usually like to discuss problems and ways we believe they can be resolved.

I'm totally onboard with your #1 problem. Our backcourt defense really stinks in the half-court. As NPFII states, some of it is due to our inablity to handle the pick-and-roll. However, the majority of our PGs simply cannot stay in front of their men, even when a pick is not involved.

Poor backcourt defense almost always results in an improved shooting percentage and more FTs for your opponent and more fouls on your big men as they are forced to react to dribble penetration into the lane.

So, I also believe that defensive skills in the backcourt are an absolute necessity.

I also agree that we finish poorly on fast breaks. At first, I thought the solution was just to give it time and and more opportunity for the players to adjust to each other. But I'm beginning to question the skills of our players. I've seen way too many poor choices in passing and spacing, and way too many instances of the finisher not catching the ball. I do think it's time for the coaches to take a hard look to evaluate which on-court opportunities should be pushed and which ones should be halted in favor of falling into our half-court offense.

This team has a bundle of serious problems.

For example, we rank near the top in 3FG%, 3FGA and 3FGM. That's great. But combine that with the fact that our overall FG% and points per shot rank near the bottom of the league, and it tells you that we don't shoot half-bad from the perimeter (despite the perception that we need additional shooters), but that we must really suck at getting decent mid-range and short-range looks at the basket. It may also speak poorly of the quality of our half-court sets provided by our coaches and the ability of our players to run them.

Another statistic that, IMO, shows poor ball movement and an inability to attack the rim is the fact that, despite forcing a faster game pace, we are in the bottom ten in FTA and FTM categories. It doesn't help that our FT% is also one of the lowest in the league.

We rank in the top 10 in offensive rebounds, but expressed in percentages, we snag less than 50% of all rebounds. That indicates that we are one of the poorest defensive rebounding teams.

Our turnovers is in the bottom 10 as is our assist-to-turnover ratio. Our opponent's steals also puts us in the bottom 10.

So, we have a team that coughs the ball up way too often, can't get to the free throw line and when it does can't hit them, and that also sucks at shooting the ball. Oh yea... and one that can't seem to get its fair share of defensive rebounds.

That paints a pretty bleak picture, doesn't it?

But improve a few of these areas, and that's the difference between a winning and a losing record.

Quis
12-05-2006, 01:17 PM
Why are you people overlooking the fact that the Pacers are 28th in the league in field goal percentage? That's a big reason for the rebounding deficit and giving up so many fastbreak points.

beast23
12-05-2006, 01:27 PM
Why are you people overlooking the fact that the Pacers are 28th in the league in field goal percentage? That's a big reason for the rebounding deficit and giving up so many fastbreak points.
Yea, but look at it from another (perhaps Foster's) perspective. No way we would be near the top of the league in offensive rebounds without all those misses. :)

imawhat
12-05-2006, 01:51 PM
Yea, but look at it from another (perhaps Foster's) perspective. No way we would be near the top of the league in offensive rebounds without all those misses. :)


Or, if we converted on our fast breaks we'd be near the top of the league in FG%.

Will Galen
12-05-2006, 03:30 PM
Most forums are full of posters who are happy to advise NBA coaches on how to do their jobs. But T-Bird takes it to a new level. I think T-Bird actually believes that he could coach the Pacers better than Carlisle. It's really quite funny. His articles used to annoy me because they tend to talk down to the readers, but anymore they just seem funny. It is funny to think that there T-Bird out there in Cyber-space working feverishly on his coaching analysis and thinking to himself, "If Larry Bird just reads this he'll try to get in touch with me so he can hire me to coach the Pacers".

I like t-birds posts, a lot! And he doesn't come across to me as you portray him. I think you're reading between the lines too much.

I usually like your posts too, but this one just seems to be an high class attack on another poster, but why? You don't have to read him. And if you disagree why not say where? Add to the discussion, that seems to me to be what T-Bird is trying to start. Me, I'm not knowledgeable enough to add anything to most x and o posts so I don't. However I ready enjoy them because I learn things.

beast23
12-05-2006, 03:36 PM
I find TBird's offerings very informative. For example, his detailed post on how to defend the pick-and-roll. I knew of two basic methods... over and under. However, TBird provided several variations of each.

I also don't think his posts talk down to readers; they simply spew facts to support whatever position that he happens to be taking.

But, I'll tell you one thing. If the Pacers decided to make a change on the bench, they could do worse than creating a staff from among our more knowledgeable posters. For example, they could bring Thomas back.

Heck, I'd definitely take TBird before Thomas. My apologies TBird... for putting your name in the same sentence as Thomas's. I was merely trying to make a point.

Roy Munson
12-05-2006, 03:44 PM
I like t-birds posts, a lot! And he doesn't come across to me as you portray him. I think you're reading between the lines too much.

..., but this one just seems to be an high class attack on another poster, but why?

Yes, maybe it was inappropriate, but I just can't get the vision out of my mind of T-Bird sitting in his easy chair drawing up plays on a greaseboard while watching the game on TV.

I don't deny that he's a great fan, and really cares...I just suspect that he might spend a little too much time in fantasyland where he is one of Rick's assistants.

NuffSaid
12-05-2006, 05:28 PM
Most forums are full of posters who are happy to advise NBA coaches on how to do their jobs. But T-Bird takes it to a new level. I think T-Bird actually believes that he could coach the Pacers better than Carlisle. It's really quite funny. His articles used to annoy me because they tend to talk down to the readers, but anymore they just seem funny. It is funny to think that there T-Bird out there in Cyber-space working feverishly on his coaching analysis and thinking to himself, "If Larry Bird just reads this he'll try to get in touch with me so he can hire me to coach the Pacers".
Don't hate on the guy just because he has valid points on the way things are going w/the team and offers "suggestions" on how some of those problems could be resolved. If anything, give the man his props for being smart enough to see what those being paid the big bucks perhaps don't see.

As for the notion that coaches (or members of the Pacers franchise who are close to the coaching staff) don't read this or other Pacers' message boards, I wouldn't be so sure about that. Can't tell you the number of times the team has had some kind of problem that was discussed in here or over there and all of a sudden that very problem was addressed in much the same way it was "suggested" by we so-called "arm chair coaches & quarterbacks".

Case and point: Many of us screamed about getting Foster back into the starting lineup. Strange that a few days after this very discussion started getting ramped up by the fans all of a sudden Foster's right back among the starters. Coincidence? Maybe...It was bound to happen anyway you say? Perhaps, but I believe the franchise listens to the fanbase alot more than folks think. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if in the coming games we see alot more of the Armstrong/Sarunas/Baston trio, as well as, find David Harrison's name among the active players again real soon.

Will Galen
12-05-2006, 06:04 PM
I don't deny that he's a great fan, and really cares...I just suspect that he might spend a little too much time in fantasyland where he is one of Rick's assistants.

What's wrong with that? If it was me, and I knew as much as T-Bird does I wouldn't fantasize about being one of Rick's assistants. I'd fantasize about him being my assistant. I'm mean what the heck, if you are going to fantasize do it right! (grin)

Will Galen
12-05-2006, 06:07 PM
Don't hate on the guy just because he has valid points on the way things are going w/the team and offers "suggestions" on how some of those problems could be resolved. If anything, give the man his props for being smart enough to see what those being paid the big bucks perhaps don't see.

As for the notion that coaches (or members of the Pacers franchise who are close to the coaching staff) don't read this or other Pacers' message boards, I wouldn't be so sure about that. Can't tell you the number of times the team has had some kind of problem that was discussed in here or over there and all of a sudden that very problem was addressed in much the same way it was "suggested" by we so-called "arm chair coaches & quarterbacks".

Case and point: Many of us screamed about getting Foster back into the starting lineup. Strange that a few days after this very discussion started getting ramped up by the fans all of a sudden Foster's right back among the starters. Coincidence? Maybe...It was bound to happen anyway you say? Perhaps, but I believe the franchise listens to the fanbase alot more than folks think. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if in the coming games we see alot more of the Armstrong/Sarunas/Baston trio, as well as, find David Harrison's name among the active players again real soon.

If all that is so I give props to the coaching staff for trying them.

speakout4
12-05-2006, 06:12 PM
Yes, maybe it was inappropriate, but I just can't get the vision out of my mind of T-Bird sitting in his easy chair drawing up plays on a greaseboard while watching the game on TV.

I don't deny that he's a great fan, and really cares...I just suspect that he might spend a little too much time in fantasyland where he is one of Rick's assistants.
You hijacked the thread from it being about Tbird's analysis, to being about T-bird to being finally about you. :rolleyes:
I would hope that your comments do not dissuade him from commenting.

DeS
12-05-2006, 08:15 PM
I actually thought a little about NPFII LBIQ term. This might be the issue. Rick simply doesn't have the tools to fulfill his plans. It's a wonder (and Rick is a very good coach) we had last year .5% record. This year we are supposed to be more talented team (with huge AL addition and sophomores Granger and Saras playing better this year), still the record is the same (or a little worse). I actually don't believe in the notion "team needs to gel" - many teams are not in their best form. We just have the .5% team.

Jose Slaughter
12-06-2006, 12:24 AM
Thunderbird

I'm in complete agreement that we need to make a change at the point. I would prefer to play Daniels at the SG as much as possible however. Greene would be my choice to replace Tinsley.

Could you tell us what you see in Daniel's game that would allow us to benefit from his playing point?

beast23
12-06-2006, 09:17 AM
Thunderbird

I'm in complete agreement that we need to make a change at the point. I would prefer to play Daniels at the SG as much as possible however. Greene would be my choice to replace Tinsley.

Could you tell us what you see in Daniel's game that would allow us to benefit from his playing point?
I like this idea as well, and I think it would be quite easy to experiment with this combination in the second unit.

This tandem would be the best possible defensive duo we could put in our backcourt using the personnel we have. Both players handle the ball fairly well, although they don't have Tinsley's court vision. And both players can penetrate the lane.

If nothing else, the additional dribble penetration using Quis and Greene might help turnaround the disadvantage that we have in FTAs. Making any kind of a change in the backcourt, possibly leading to "easier" choices in passes might also lead to fewer turnovers.

Putnam
12-06-2006, 09:56 AM
Count me as another who appreciates Thunderbird1245. Beast23 commments in post #7 above that he wonders why Tbird's posts don't stimulate more discussion. Well, in my case, it is because the posts are so thorough and thoughtful. I rarely have anything to add. Tbird does a good job of balancing perspectives, so there is often nothing more to be said, except, "Yeah. That is right." I don't see any of what Roy Munson complained of. Thunderbird just seems like a guy who thinks in detail, and expresses himelf well. He can't help it if he actually is a basketball coach who can discuss the game in more detail than most of us.


Anyway, I do have one question for this thread...


We desperately need someone who can pressure the ball in the backcourt, hound the opponents pg as they cross the center line and force them to struggle to initiate offense....

Isn't mid-court pressure a question of hustle and desire? Isn't it something that any player could do if he wished toand his coach allowed it? There is a heck of a lot involved in defending in the half court, because you want to take some opportunity away from the offense without opening up another opportunity, and because you are dealing with five players. But in the mid court area the objective is simpler. You just need a guy who will get up on the dribbler and make him change hands, change directions, hurry ahead or maybe trap him or cause him to pass to the 2 guard. Almost any disruption (except a foul) to the point guard's ball control at mid court is a good thing. Isn't this right? And if yes, then are we saying that none of the Pacers point guards have the desire, or that Carlisle isn't allowing them to pressure at midcourt?

Ragnar
12-06-2006, 12:06 PM
We need to learn how to make a layup, we need to rebound and we need a new coach.

Give Mark Jackson a shot!!!!!

imawhat
12-06-2006, 12:46 PM
Isn't mid-court pressure a question of hustle and desire? Isn't it something that any player could do if he wished toand his coach allowed it? There is a heck of a lot involved in defending in the half court, because you want to take some opportunity away from the offense without opening up another opportunity, and because you are dealing with five players. But in the mid court area the objective is simpler. You just need a guy who will get up on the dribbler and make him change hands, change directions, hurry ahead or maybe trap him or cause him to pass to the 2 guard. Almost any disruption (except a foul) to the point guard's ball control at mid court is a good thing. Isn't this right? And if yes, then are we saying that none of the Pacers point guards have the desire, or that Carlisle isn't allowing them to pressure at midcourt?


The Pacers did go into a half-court press late in the Lakers game, so it is partly due to Carlisle. But then there are players like Darrell Armstrong that do it on their own. It's rare, but I think Carlisle should emphasize anything he can to get the opponent out of rhythm. And the players should want to do that without Carlisle having to say it. So it's definitely both coaching and hustle/desire.


Our team is just lacking some effort at this point, and I think it's partly because some of the players get too comfortable on the floor. The best example I can think of was on the offensive end of Monday's game when Darrell Armstrong came in. He was screaming at Harrington to get over and set a pick while Al was settling in to his spot. It was awkward to watch Al jolt as he realized he'd stopped moving. And on the defensive end players weren't even keeping their arms up.

brich
12-06-2006, 01:54 PM
Tbird...your I think your analysis is thourough and accurate, although I still think rebounding is an issue. I realize our poor rebounding numbers are being exacerbated by poor shooting, but our rebounding fundamentals are still pretty bad. I guess this isn't a new trend, but hardly anybody boxes out, and there are definitely problems with our rebounding fundamentals. If we keep shooting as poorly as we have been, then we really need to get better at rebounding. We need to grab as many of those bricks ricocheting off the glass that we can.

I can't agree enough about your comments regarding our defense. Defense is always important in the NBA, because it is one of the variables that you have a fair amount of control over. Even the best of offensive teams have off nights, but a good defense can keep the game close, and really good defense can even create some offense.

Being a poor shooting team, which was obvious to everybody when looking at this roster before the season began, we don't have a choice but to play solid defense. Ultimately we need to make some player changes to add a couple of decent perimeter shooters, in my opinion, but until then, and even then, we need to lock down our D.

thunderbird1245
12-06-2006, 03:13 PM
Thunderbird

I'm in complete agreement that we need to make a change at the point. I would prefer to play Daniels at the SG as much as possible however. Greene would be my choice to replace Tinsley.

Could you tell us what you see in Daniel's game that would allow us to benefit from his playing point?


Thank you for the question Jose, Ill try and explain my thinking as best I can about this, and hit on a few of the other above postings as well.

I dont know for sure, if we were to play Marquis at the point guard spot, exactly how he would function offensively. I just cant answer how he'd be at making decisions, leading a break, calling our offensive sets, etc etc etc.

But I can say with a pretty solid opinion that that those problems arent nearly as bad as our lack of defense from the others playing style. I'd rather have a great defender at this spot than a great defender at any other spot on the floor. Our point guard perimeter defense is so incredibly bad, in my judgment, that Im willing to think outside the box some to see if Daniels can be the answer there, at least for this season, until we can make a personnel move next spring or in the draft.

Offensive weaknesses at the point guard can be "coached around" easier than defensive problems at that spot. Daniels lack of shooting ability is lessened by putting him in a ballhandling role. The coaches can call plays themselves (which RC likes to do anyway), taking that responsibility from Daniels. We can run sets (which we are doing now already some) where the first pass is easily made and designed to not force the PG to make a decision on where to go with the ball. You can also try and initiate your offense thru other guys (Granger maybe??) on occasion, if the matchups dictated.

On that last part, remember back to the Larry Brown Pacers. Haywood Workman sometime struggled offensively, but Larry Brown valued his defense, so he planned around it some. The Pacers often used Derrick McKey at the high post top of the key area to initiate offense after Haywood had gotten the ball upcourt. Workman would essentialy play off the ball the rest of the possession, while Mckey was your playmaker, reading the defense and screens and feding the ball to Smits, Reggie, or whoever. The point of this is, you can plan around this some as a coach with some imagination.

As far as reading and running the break, as I stated earlier in the original posting, I think we've all, including myself, vastly overrated JT's skills in this particular area. Part of our fast break problem is that he either gives the ball up way too early, forcing our Pacers to make too many passes in order to score or get a good shot. He also tends to try and make the great pass, when the simple easy one would be more effective.

While I enjoy watching Tinsley in the half court some, his tendency to want to keep the ball and always try and make a play himself does somewhat lead to some stagnant play by the Pacers at times. RC has solved alot of that by what we are running, but it still happens occasionally.

Lastly, Daniels at the point gives you a size advantage at that spot, which potentially gives us another post up threat at that spot, and makes us bigger and more physical in the backcourt than we are currently playing. Please remember that part of my reasoning in my own mind about playing Daniels at the point is to be able to play Daniels and Granger/Jackson together in the backcourt with JO, Al, and some other big on the floor. I like the idea of being bigger and more physical than all of our opponents, and think that is the single best "identity" and method of play that this particular group of players can play.

I havent watched enough of Orien Greene yet to form an intelligent opinion on him yet, but I remain open to the possibilities.

I just know that we arent going anywhere playing the type of perimeter defense we are playing, and this to me seems to be the best solution currently available.

JMO

thunderbird1245
12-06-2006, 03:29 PM
Count me as another who appreciates Thunderbird1245. Beast23 commments in post #7 above that he wonders why Tbird's posts don't stimulate more discussion. Well, in my case, it is because the posts are so thorough and thoughtful. I rarely have anything to add. Tbird does a good job of balancing perspectives, so there is often nothing more to be said, except, "Yeah. That is right." I don't see any of what Roy Munson complained of. Thunderbird just seems like a guy who thinks in detail, and expresses himelf well. He can't help it if he actually is a basketball coach who can discuss the game in more detail than most of us.


Anyway, I do have one question for this thread...



Isn't mid-court pressure a question of hustle and desire? Isn't it something that any player could do if he wished toand his coach allowed it? There is a heck of a lot involved in defending in the half court, because you want to take some opportunity away from the offense without opening up another opportunity, and because you are dealing with five players. But in the mid court area the objective is simpler. You just need a guy who will get up on the dribbler and make him change hands, change directions, hurry ahead or maybe trap him or cause him to pass to the 2 guard. Almost any disruption (except a foul) to the point guard's ball control at mid court is a good thing. Isn't this right? And if yes, then are we saying that none of the Pacers point guards have the desire, or that Carlisle isn't allowing them to pressure at midcourt?


Thank you for the kind words, of course.

This is a very interesting question to me.....why do the Pacers play so soft of perimeter defense, especially at the point guard position? Is it by design, or is it just a weakness of personnel? Is it just an effort problem?



I cant say that I have any real answers to that. My guess is that its a combination of things, that vary from player to player.

In Tinsley's case, he isnt the most athletic, but he should be much better a defender than he has been lately. In his case my guess is that he is pacing himself for a long season (trying to stay healthier). I also am guessing that while RC probably sees how bad his lack of pressuring the ball is hurting us, that he is letting it go in order to keep Tinsley healthy and happy, because he lacks confidence in anybody else playing the minutes Jamal plays in the event of a JT injury. I think thats bad logic, and a big mistake, but I cant explain it any other way.

In Sarunas case, I suspect its more strategic than anything, since he really lacks the athletic skill to defend quickness from his spot. Playing position is really the only way he can stay in front of his guy. Sarunas has rarely been asked this year to defend a quick point guard anyway, because he usually has been paired with JT or Armstrong.

DA does pressure the ball well, and puts for the the effort in this that I wish Tinsley did. While everyone seems to agree that we sometimes play much better when we have DA and Sarunas in the game together, most people seem to believe its because our offense functions better, but I disagree...I think its because our point guard defense with Armstrong in there is just SO much better.

Of course, DA is old, injured and can only play limited minutes, so that only leaves 3 options on what to do now:

1. Keep playing the same people in the same way that we are playing now, and just submit to the fact that we will be a borderline playoff team.

2. Demand that Tinsley pressure the ball hard like we need, and cut his minutes back to make that possible if indeed that is what is necessary. Or get him in shape, or yell at him, or emphasize it much more, or whatever....just make JT play more like what we need.

3. Bench JT, realize he is what he is, and play somebody else who can play like we want. Use JT against second string guards who wont hurt us as much, and have him in there to help our second unit score better. That somebody else is Daniels at PG, in my view.

I personally am for option 3, but thats just me.

BillS
12-06-2006, 03:35 PM
Excellent post as always, TBird.

I noticed the other night (can't remember which game it was) that for about a quarter we continued to drive to the basket even though the defense was crowding it because we were (as usual) bricking everything from outside. Because we continued to force it inside anyway, we were getting to the line and actually staying in the game.

Of course, then we started trying too hard and were hitting defenders outside the no-charge circle, delaying too long and drawing a 3-second call, or making a bad pass into traffic for a turnover. Lost the momentum and went back to trying to breakup the interior defense by trying (unsuccessfully) to hit perimeter shots.

McKeyFan
12-06-2006, 03:41 PM
Man, we miss Artest.

He was quite helpful for problems #1 and #3. Don't know on #2 since we weren't running as much then. But he can definitely finish and he was great at getting to the foul line. No one on our team has replaced that ability, and Reggie, our other best at it, is also gone.

Lateral quickness needs to be considered regarding half court pressure by the point. Tins and Runi seem to be quite lacking in this regard. I do think desire is part of the problem, but Armstrong also has decent lateral quickness. Marquis too, but maybe desire and IQ are his issues. But has he really had enough opportunities to demonstrate his ability at defensive point?

A great solution would be to trade for a point guard who can defend, run the break, and get to the rim (and make his free throws). Anybody out there we could get?

A second solution would be a two guard who can defend, and get to the foul line, and then we hope the point guard can improve on running the break. Any two guards out there?

I had a great feeling about Quis when we acquired him--I liked what I saw of him in Dallas. Then, I had an ominous feeling when he was one of the guys at the strip club incident, (and apparently the one who invited everybody). I hoped like heck this wouldn't be a sign of his on-court play, but apparently it was.

The great combination needed is character and talent. We have players that have one or the other, with the possible exception of Granger, who is still not the most talented player around (offensively, anyway).