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View Full Version : Coachin' em' up: Studying Mike Dunleavy Jr.



thunderbird1245
08-15-2007, 10:11 PM
This will be the first one of a group of threads Im going to try and start in the next few weeks talking about our returning individual players, and how they can be "coached up" by our new staff. I'll try and cover both individual aspects of their games, and how I think they may fit into our new staff's overall team concept and scheme. The first player that goes under the microscope tonight is Mike Dunleavy Jr.

In many ways, Dunleavy is a fascinating but frustrating player to me. My overall sense of him is that he has alot of talent and intellect about how to play the game the right way, but that his game is so unique that he hasnt really been used in the best way so far in his NBA career. While compiling decent stats and being an overall average player so far, I can't help when watching Dunleavy feeling that he has alot more to give, a lot more to show, and a lot more to contribute. So far, I'd consider Dunleavy to be somewhat of an underachiever in his career, because I thought personally he'd be a better player.

In analyzing Dunleavy's game and style, here are some thoughts about how I think he can be better used, and improve his production:

1. COME OFF SCREENS AND PLAY OFF THE BALL, BEING UTILIZED AS A MID RANGE SCORER.

I have thought a lot about this this summer. I think the natural thought with Dunleavy is to use him as a "facilitator" of offense instead of a "finisher/primary option". In other words, I think because of his height, intelligence, and passing ability, I think his NBA coaches have liked him as a secondary ballhandler/point forward type of player. He feeds the post well, sees the floor well, and can contribute in that role, so thats how he has been used by the 3 previous coaches he has had. That has often led him to be on the perimeter outside the arc, and because he is a poor percentage shooter from there and lacks the athleticism to drive alot from that positioning, he ends up looking like a worse offensive player than he really is.

I also think that has made him tentative offensively, and afraid to drive the ball and try and get to the line. Dunleavy to me plays afraid to make a mistake, instead of with the kind of reckless abandon that his talent dictates he could play with.

Playing tentatively and always around the arc also lets the opponent guard him with a smaller man, since he isnt taking shots over the smaller man 15 ft in very often, and because he hasnt developed a post up game.

Dunleavy needs to be used similarly to Rip Hamilton in Detroit I think, recieving downscreens and taking a consistent amount of 15 ft jump shots near the lane area. Dunleavy needs to develop a scoring mentality, and be willing to "dribble in to his shot" and shoot over the smaller defenders teams generally guard him with.

And he needs to develop a low post game. For his body type and skill level, Dunleavy's best move I think to learn and work on is the "step back jumper".....and no one in basketball did a better job of using this move than Larry Bird himself. Dunleavy needs to learn his footwork better (putting his foot between the feet of the defender when posting up), hod the defense off while he posts up, then step back and shoot over the man guarding him. Think about using him in this way like a smaller Dirk Nowitzki, who is in my minds eye the style of player I want Dunleavy to try and be.

2. BULK UP INSTEAD OF TRYING TO BE FASTER.

I think Dunleavy and most people consider himself to be a "guard" trapped in a forwards body. I think instead of trying to be faster and leaner, that Dunleavy needs to gain weight and be stronger. I want him to be able to hold ground inside, be a more physical defender, and play with a meaner streak. Dunleavy is slow, no amount of work is going to make a difference with that, so with that said I want him to at least be a stronger and "tougher" defender.

3. CHANGE HIS BALL, HAND AND FINGER POSITION SLIGHTLY ON HIS SHOT.

This was a topic of mine back in the season in a thread I wrote about improving Dunleavy's shot. It's hard to tell just on film and on television, so I am guessing just a bit here, but it's an educated guess at least. I think/suspect that we can improve Dunleavy's perimeter shot by moving the ball slightly further to his right instead of being quite as far in front of him as it is now. In doing that, he'd have to be coached to keep his right elbow closer to his body than he does now to keep his release point consistent. Finally (this is another educated guess) I think Dunleavy has his fingers a bit too spread on the ball, and his larger than average hands cause him to put the ball slightly into his palm area instead of on the tips of his fingers. By spreading your hand fully, that also can bring in the "pinky" finger into contact on your shot release, which you don't really want (You want the big 3 fingers to do the work). All of you reading this now go grab a basketball and play with it in your hand some to know what Im talking about.

4. RAISE OUR EXPECTATIONS OF HIM FROM THE STAFF, FANS, AND IN THE MEDIA.

I think it's commonly thought that Dunleavy has a sensitive, weak minded, and shy of criticism type of mentality. Perhaps it is thought that his problems in Golden State were too hard on him, from being criticized by the staff, to being booed by the fans. I do not by this at all, I just think in many ways Dunleavy as an individual has been poorly coached so far in his career, maybe more than any player in the league. Dunleavy comes out of an NBA player/coaches background, and a great winnijng pedigree at Duke. For people to think Dunleavy isnt tough enough or hard nosed enough with that kind of pedigree I think are missing the mark on him.

I equate Dunleavy's career to that of a B level student who keeps out of trouble, does his work, and keeps getting B's and C's. If thats all you expect of him, thats what he will get for you. But if he is used differently, demanded to and forced to excel, I think he has A level ability.

With all the other drama and knuckleheads we have on our roster, it's real easy for players like Granger and Dunleavy, who are great teammates and non trouble makers, to get no attention. But I think Dunleavy particularly can prosper with a tougher minded, slightly harder style, if its done in the right way. He doesn't need coddled, I think he needs pushed in a confident and demanding way.

5. BECOME A MUCH MUCH BETTER TEAM DEFENDER, ESPECIALLY IN FORCING PEOPLE TO HELP.

Dunleavy should be able, if he bulks up, to guard people better than he does currently. He needs to be able to back up a step and use his long arms to contest shots better, and to keep from being beat off the dribble. With a proper team defensive scheme that plays intelligently and has all 5 people on the same page, his defense won't be near as bad or as noticable. I expect the Pacers to rarely double team this season, so Dunleavy will need to be able to stay in front of his man, and to be able and willing to go to thje board. If the Pacers do as I suspect and play JO at center, Dunleavy will be counted on to rebound and start his own fast breaks at times, and to defend bigger/slower people.


Now, how much of that do I really expect to happen?

1. DO I EXPECT DUNLEAVY TO PLAY OFF THE BALL AND COME OFF LOTS OF SCREENS FOR MIDRANGE SHOTS?

I do not at all. I suspect from a strategic standpoint that O'Brien will do what's obvious and expected with Dunleavy, which will be to throw him the ball on the wing and let him be our primary post feeder to JO. Dunleavy will almost certainly be used in the "facilitator" role that after lots of thought Ive decided is wrong for him totally. Time will tell whether this is smart or not.

2. DO I EXPECT DUNLEAVY TO COME IN HEAVIER AND STRONGER?

I do not. I suspect he will look about the same, and may even lose some weight even to try and improve his quickness defensively. I think this is a big mistake with his body type and game, but I am interested to see what everyone else thinks.

3. DO I EXPECT HIS 3 POINT SHOT TO IMPROVE, AND HIS FORM TO CHANGE ANY?

I do. I suspect this is the one area Jim O'Brien and Larry Bird will help him with the most. I expect Dunleavy to shoot a percentage somewhere around 37 percent from the arc this year, which while not great is much better than he has in the past. I think more looks for him overall from there (since we as a team will be in the top 4 of the league in 3 point attempts I think) will increase his percentage. And I do expect the staff will tweak his release and ball position somewhat....whether my exact opinions are correct or not is up to the coaching staff to decide.

4. WILL THE EXPECTATIONS CHANGE FROM THE FANS AND NEW STAFF?

While I think Jim O'Brien's mental approach to treating players can be a good fit for Dunleavy, I do not believe his overall scheme will prove out to be a good fit for him. I expect O'Brien to eventually end up using Kareem Rush and Shawn Williams to eat up much of the time Dunleavy would get, and for Dunleavy to possibly be dealt in midseason....possibly to the Clippers to play for his father.

5. WILL HE BE A BETTER DEFENDER?

I wholeheartedly expect our team defense to be much better, after bringing in Dick Harter as an assistant coach. However, Dunleavy's best attribute on defense is as a help defender...taking charges, reading passing lanes, etc etc. Dunleavy will need to be more determined to contest every jump shot his man takes, and be able to stay in front of his man better, because the Pacers will try and not to help and trap as much this year I suspect, and I think we will rarely if ever play zone. If Mike gets soft at all, the Pacers will play the better defender without a second thought.

In summary, I like Mike Dunleavy as a player (obviously), but do not think he is a good fit for Jim O'Brien's offensive scheme that I expect to see. My prediction is that Dunleavy will fall out of favor with O'Brien, and most of his playing time will go to Kareem Rush and Shawn Williams. I would not be surprised at all if Dunleavy is dealt midseason for the second straight year, maybe this time to the Clippers to play for his Dad.


As always, I love hearing your opinions and recieving your feedback and questions. I'm probably going to write about Jamal Tinsley next I think, unless anyone has another request.

And as always, the above is just my opinion.

Tbird

Infinite MAN_force
08-15-2007, 11:03 PM
A few questions...

It sounds like you are saying he would be much better suited for playing small forward than SG. Which I also think. Personally I would like to see Rush and Daniels playing the SG minutes and Dunleavy playing small forward. Despite his contract, do you see him backing up Granger? And can he still possibly excell in this supporting role?

I could see Williams backing up murphy at PF, since the forwards are interchangeable in this system, so that doesent necissarily affect his minutes. Could his output be maximised as a backup?

Also, Who should we go after from the clippers in the event of a trade? It would be nice to cut some salary if at all possible. A PF who can hit threes would be nice. Seems to fit the scheme.

wintermute
08-16-2007, 12:14 AM
always a pleasure to read your posts, tbird.

for your first point - playing dunleavy as a midrange scorer - didn't carlisle do that a lot last season?

also, would your opinion of dunleavy's role on the team change if jermaine gets traded? i think granger, dunleavy, and murphy will be the main options if that happens.

D-BONE
08-16-2007, 07:13 AM
I very much agree with the idea that MDJ would be better served trying to add some strength as opposed to his normal "lean" build. However, at the same time, I wonder if his body type will even allow much more mass or if that's just his genetic tendency.

In any case, not only would a bit more beef potentially help defensively, it would also aid the much needed post up game you allude to. In my view, he's proven he's most effective midrange offensively so any attempt to convert him into a 3 pt threat I'd be surprised to see being significantly successful.

Hicks
08-16-2007, 10:29 AM
I remember the final interview Stacy Paetz did with the young assistant coach after the final game last season, where he said they thought Mike needed to get stronger. I took that to mean bulk up, and I could be wrong, but if so I believe Mike at least started the summer being instructed to do so. If that's the case, I don't know if Jim told him to stop and do something different or not.

jcouts
08-16-2007, 11:14 AM
I personally have one thing to add to that. I really have wondered why Dunleavy was never utilized in the post, as a 6'9 SG. The Pacers saw a lot of great things come out of utilizing Mark Jackson in the post back during the NBA finals run. Even if he doesn't have that strong of a post game or couldn't develop it, he would still be able to pass over the top of most of his defenders to cutting teammates in the post, simply due to having a height/length advantage over a lot of players. I would just be curious to see what came out of it, even just a few plays a game to mix it up.

d_c
08-16-2007, 02:12 PM
I personally have one thing to add to that. I really have wondered why Dunleavy was never utilized in the post, as a 6'9 SG. The Pacers saw a lot of great things come out of utilizing Mark Jackson in the post back during the NBA finals run. Even if he doesn't have that strong of a post game or couldn't develop it, he would still be able to pass over the top of most of his defenders to cutting teammates in the post, simply due to having a height/length advantage over a lot of players. I would just be curious to see what came out of it, even just a few plays a game to mix it up.


The reason nobody's ever utilized Dunleavy in the post is the same reason nobody's ever utilized Murphy in the post: He can't post up guys smaller than him. He has a complete inability to use his size to his advantage vs. smaller players.

When the Warriors played the Suns, guess who the Suns used to guard Dunleavy. That's right, Steve Nash. And Dunleavy was rarely able to punish them for this.

The guy (like Murphy) just lacks athleticism and strength. Smaller guys can easily push him off the block and force him to settle for fadeaways.
Dunleavy is best used as a 6th man off the bench with no real defined position. Just use him as the matchups go.

The biggest mistake you make with Dunleavy is to force him into a defined role. That's a losing proposition. He can't punish smaller guys in the post. He's not a great shooter. He can't beat guys off the dribble unless they're way bigger and slower. He's not a strong defender. He's a decent passer, but nothing that great. He doesn't have any one area of dominance to his game to where you can clearly define a role for him. You just have to see how the flow of any particular game goes, what the matchups look like, and put him into that game accordingly.

NuffSaid
08-16-2007, 04:32 PM
Very interesting topic, tbird.

There might be some truth to alot of your observations on MDjr particularly in the way he is commonly utilized.

I don't necessarily see him as a Point-Forward, but I do believe he'd be more productive coming off screens. He just seems to move more naturally coming off screens in "catch-n-shot" situations than in "park-n-shot" situations where he's waiting for the ball along the perimeter. His biggest problem remains his lack of confidence and aggressiveness, but I was glad to see him be more assertive near the end of last season. I guess you can do that when the pressure's off and the reins are loosed.

I don't think MDjr will ever develop a post-up game. He's just not a finisher close-in under the basket not to mention he's still underweight for his size. In that, he reminds me of a white version of Uncle Reggie - skinny guy w/quickness! :p Now, I've never really believed in reinventing the player to suit the team, but rather work with the player to bring his God given talents more to the fore. In that regard, I'd rather see MDjr work on improving those things he does best: moving w/o the ball, dribbling, passing, mid-range jumper. If he could improve his ability to finish on driving plays that would be all the bette.

At his height (6'9"), I doubt he'll ever become a very good 1-on-1 defender, nor will he necessary be able to take smaller, fast players off the dribble. But, he does read the defense very well, doesn't make very many stupid mistakes and doesn't turn the ball over much. Work to improve his "team" defense which he's already pretty good at. To that, yes, I could see him playing more at SF than at SG. There's certainly minutes to be had from there.

I disgree with the possibility of him being traded. If he has worked as hard as reported, his jump shot would have only improved and I wouldn't be surprised if he returns more determined than ever to quiet the detractors somewhat.

I like his game. His soft mostly due to how he has been coached/utilized. I think JOB will find a much improved role for him where his talents will shine through. However, the best thing that could happen with him is for him to stop thinking so much and be more assertive in his abilities. (A shift to SF might not be a bad move for him either.)

jcouts
08-16-2007, 05:26 PM
The reason nobody's ever utilized Dunleavy in the post is the same reason nobody's ever utilized Murphy in the post: He can't post up guys smaller than him. He has a complete inability to use his size to his advantage vs. smaller players.

When the Warriors played the Suns, guess who the Suns used to guard Dunleavy. That's right, Steve Nash. And Dunleavy was rarely able to punish them for this.

The guy (like Murphy) just lacks athleticism and strength. Smaller guys can easily push him off the block and force him to settle for fadeaways.
Dunleavy is best used as a 6th man off the bench with no real defined position. Just use him as the matchups go.

The biggest mistake you make with Dunleavy is to force him into a defined role. That's a losing proposition. He can't punish smaller guys in the post. He's not a great shooter. He can't beat guys off the dribble unless they're way bigger and slower. He's not a strong defender. He's a decent passer, but nothing that great. He doesn't have any one area of dominance to his game to where you can clearly define a role for him. You just have to see how the flow of any particular game goes, what the matchups look like, and put him into that game accordingly.

Murphy is fairly average in height for his position. He isn't 4 or 5 inches taller than the average power forward.

Dunleavy carries 4 inches over the average shooting guard height of around 6'5ish. There's no reason he shouldn't be able to post up other SGs, even if it's with a pass-first mentality. If he can't, he needs to work on that. It's his most likely area of mismatch from the SG role. He doesn't have a particularly high release on his shot like Dirk, to where shooting over smaller SGs gives him a clear cut advantage. He certainly isn't going to out-quick anyone.

d_c
08-16-2007, 05:50 PM
Dunleavy carries 4 inches over the average shooting guard height of around 6'5ish. There's no reason he shouldn't be able to post up other SGs, even if it's with a pass-first mentality. If he can't, he needs to work on that. It's his most likely area of mismatch from the SG role. He doesn't have a particularly high release on his shot like Dirk, to where shooting over smaller SGs gives him a clear cut advantage. He certainly isn't going to out-quick anyone.

If Dunleavy had the ability to take advantage of his size against 6'5" SGs, he'd still be playing for the Warriors right now. That was his first or second biggest weakness. Opponents could keep a smaller guy on him 100% of the time and never get punished for it. To be any kind of post scorer, you have to be able to handle some contact while still being abile to put up a high percentage shot. He hasn't shown the ability to do that.

Dunleavy will be 27 when the season starts and he's been to Pete Newell's bigman camp before. He works his butt of every summer. An NBA player with no postup skills at 27 is unlikely to ever develop them in his career.

He's just not a big threat to score consistently in the post, even against smaller players. So there's really no point to putting him down there as a passer if opponents don't feel he's a big enough scoring threat to have to double. What's the point if he can't really score and isn't drawing a double team?

That's why Dunleavy's assist totals have never been as impressive as people think they should be. To be a great passer, you need to be some kind of threat yourself to score the ball to open up oppurtunities for you teammates. At the very least, your opponent has to perceive you as a threat. Opponents just back off on Dunleavy and the other defenders never leave their man. Dunleavy is a very willing and capable passer, but invariably, he's just passing to teammates who are in no better a scoring position than he is. That explains his assist totals.

ChicagoJ
08-16-2007, 05:56 PM
Dunn's a face-the-basket player, not a post player.

Arcadian
08-16-2007, 09:33 PM
I agree that he has more to give. I wonder though if it is just that he simply doesn't have an agressive instinct. Sure we could force feed him more but is he the one we want to feed as a second or third option.

Rajah Brown
08-16-2007, 11:02 PM
Two words. Leg strength. When his shot is awry, it's usually because
he isn't getting enough lift from his legs into his shot.

thunderbird1245
08-17-2007, 01:35 PM
Lots of smart, intelligent responses from all of that have responded so far to this thread, and I wanted to commend all of you for that. I wanted to comment on some of the above questions and statements made by those who have responded......

I don't think Dunleavy is a good fit at all for the offensive scheme I expect our new staff to employ. In my mind's eye, Dunleavy would best be served playing away from the ball, coming off multiple screens in an attempt to get a mid range jump shot off on a "catch and shoot" or perhaps to take 1-2 dribbles into his shot. Coach K I think at Duke maximized his abilities very well in terms of how is offensive game was used.

In the new scheme I expect to see (and this is an educated guess, I may be totally wrong in the end) Dunleavy instead to be used on the perimeter as a spot up shooter and passer into the post. Since I expect the Pacers to utilize very little screening and/or set plays, I expect guys who either can slash and create with enough space(Daniels) or guys who can spot up (Murphy, Rush,) or guys who can do either one well (Granger, maybe Shawn Williams against a bigger slower defender) to eat up the minutes of Dunleavy.

The question of why Dunleavy doesnt post up well is a very very intriguing one to me. Obvioulsy, he should be able to use his superior height to post up smaller people, but as stated above he sucks at this, which is a big hole in his game. The above posters are right in stating that teams do often defend Dunleavy with smaller people and get away with it, and his lack of post up game means they can do it with single coverage on him without having to double him in the low post.

Now, this brings up to me one of the most interesting and hard to understand questions in NBA basketball: Why do some guys improve each year, and why do some guys stay the same? Dunleavy by all accounts has a good attitude, is smart, and works hard. But by age 27, you'd think he'd have the footwork down of being able to post up people and get good position and leverage inside. ( I think his footwork and lack of leg strength leads him to not be able to turn and get square to the basket when making a post move, which causes him to miss shots he should make). Dunleavy should be able to master the art of putting his post up leg between the feet of the defender to hold his ground and create space, show a target, recieve the pass and then take the step back jump shot over them, but he doesnt seem to have that move. Why? I have no idea.

I could use the same lack of improvement on Jeff Foster too. Why with his work ethic and athleticism can he not shoot and make a 10-15 foot jump shot? Why can't Shaq shoot free throws better? Why do some guys improve their skills, and some do not?

Back to Dunleavy's post up weaknesses....the Pacers lack a specialist coach in this area. It remains to be seen what the new staff's skills are, but I do know that we lost one of the best teachers of offensive footwork in the low post when Mark Aguirre left us in the aftermath of Isiah. It's no mystery to me why Eddy Curry all of a sudden seems to be unstoppable inside for the Knicks, because Mark Aguirre has "coached him up".

On my opinion that Dunleavy will fall out of favor with O'Brien and may be destined to be dealt to the Clippers, it's well documented on this board that I really like the defensive ability of Quinton Ross, and maybe a package of Ross and Cuttino Mobley might work for both teams. I also think it's possible that Dunleavy could be involved somehow in a 3 way potential deal with the Lakers/Clippers for some form of the Bynum and Odom for JO package that has been long rumored.

Again...this is just my opinion.

D-BONE
08-17-2007, 02:23 PM
I'd just about take a Q Ross/Cat Mobley for Dunleavy ASAP if it were available. Mainly b/c I think MDJ is one of the most frustrating players going. He seems to be capable of more than he has ever been able to consistently do. And that's even minus the post game development that's being debated here.

I would be thrilled for MDJ to prove me wrong this year, but I'm not holding out much hope. I think Rajah Brown hits the nail on the head with the leg strenght comment. Others of us have mentioned getting stronger, but specifically lower body for Dun. In addition to helping his shot, it would greatly benefit any attempt to develop his ability to carve out post position.

The fact that the guy is 6-9 and consistently is defended by smaller guys yet has never developed the ability to do minimal post work offensively tells me all I need to know about him-WEAK.

For those who claim he's just not a back to the basket player, it's not saying much that he's a poor 3 pt shooter and really doesn't put it down and drive effectively. Then factor in his poor D on the ball and you have balance of many more cons than pros in MDJ's game.

Ultimately, my opinion is in complete agreement with those who contend he's nothing but a 6th man at best. At least until he's shown me something to make me believe otherwise.

d_c
08-17-2007, 02:44 PM
Back to Dunleavy's post up weaknesses....the Pacers lack a specialist coach in this area. It remains to be seen what the new staff's skills are, but I do know that we lost one of the best teachers of offensive footwork in the low post when Mark Aguirre left us in the aftermath of Isiah. It's no mystery to me why Eddy Curry all of a sudden seems to be unstoppable inside for the Knicks, because Mark Aguirre has "coached him up".

On my opinion that Dunleavy will fall out of favor with O'Brien and may be destined to be dealt to the Clippers, it's well documented on this board that I really like the defensive ability of Quinton Ross, and maybe a package of Ross and Cuttino Mobley might work for both teams. I also think it's possible that Dunleavy could be involved somehow in a 3 way potential deal with the Lakers/Clippers for some form of the Bynum and Odom for JO package that has been long rumored.

Again...this is just my opinion.

Eddy Curry goes somewhere around 6'11" and 270 lbs. He's got a lot of mass in his trunk. He's a true back to the basket post player. Always has been. He's simply refined his offensive game as the years have gone on.

Strength has always been an issue for Dunleavy, in both the lower and upper body. He's never been a guy who's finished on a lot of 3 point play oppurtunities because he doesn't take contact well. It's simply a matter of being strong and coordinated at the same time, and Dunleavy hasn't shown any signs of that.

The guy works out. He'd spend summers at the team's practice facilitiy. He's attended bigman camp. Lot's of guys with good work ethic never seem to improve in certain areas. Austin Croshere was a hard worker and probably still is. How much has that guy improved over the years? Jason Richardson was a damn hard worker but his ballhandling and FT shooting were always a little bit below average for a SG. Why can't Al Harrington rebound the damn ball? Dirk Nowizki has been in the league for how long now? How come he still doesn't have a real back to the basket game (and he's a superstar talent)? Troy Murphy worked his @ss off in the gym all the time, but he'd still look gassed and winded if he had to play big minutes. It's simply a lot harder than most would think to really improve specific areas of your game at an NBA level.

Had the Warriors not extended Dunleavy to that contract after his 3rd season, they probably could have done a Dunleavy for Chris Wilcox swap about 18-20 months ago. I'm pretty sure they've offered him for Maggette, but have been turned away. Donald Sterling likes Maggette and as much as Dunleavy Sr. would love to coach his son, I'm not sure an owner like Sterling would be very keen on taking the remainder of Dun Jr's contract, especially if he's going to be used as a bench player.

Any deal involving Dunleavy (or Murphy) + Jermaine is going to require a lot of matching salary from the other team and the Lakers just inked Luke Walton to a long term deal, and he's essentially their Dunleavy. Not impossible, but rather difficult to get something like that done.

I think Murphy can fit in well with O'brien. He has to shoot the 3 well. With Dunleavy, it's harder to say. Both these guys really need to show something next year, as the managements they've played under have gone out of their way to change coaches, scheme and lineups to accomdate them.

Naptown_Seth
08-17-2007, 02:59 PM
1. DO I EXPECT DUNLEAVY TO PLAY OFF THE BALL AND COME OFF LOTS OF SCREENS FOR MIDRANGE SHOTS?

I do not at all. I suspect from a strategic standpoint that O'Brien will do what's obvious and expected with Dunleavy, which will be to throw him the ball on the wing and let him be our primary post feeder to JO. Dunleavy will almost certainly be used in the "facilitator" role that after lots of thought Ive decided is wrong for him totally. Time will tell whether this is smart or not.What????

THE ONLY THING DUN EXCELS AT IS MID-RANGE CnS!!! Holy crap, are you kidding me here. The first few weeks Rick took the typical view of Dun, having not really worked with him before, and had him spotting up for 3s. That was a disaster. As time went on Rick clearly found Dun's comfort level and that was the pick curl catch and shoot at the FT line/elbow. He was money on that shot/play. His 2pt ran something like 52% IIRC.

The other offense Mike showed was something of a dribble drive, but his issue there is that he can't finish what he starts, not unlike Tinsley. Getting a good shot means nothing if a guy can't finish at the rim.

To me Mike is much stronger in motion, perhaps when he has less time to let his mind work against him, and should not be used as a spot-up option until he proves he can.

Rick tried to use him as a post-feed guy, but that results in a spot-up catch and shoot on the return pass OR the give and go, which again would result in a missed look at the rim (which is where losing Jackson for him hurt the Pacers the most).


This team can threaten on offense, but they simply can't be a classic JOB team of bombers. JO draws so much attention that just playing a modest passing game with good motion away from the ball should get you lots of makeable mids and at least a few lanes for Quis to dart through.

If you could get someone to follow Dun to the rim that he could dish to for the score rather than trying to finish himself then I think you could use him off the dribble fairly well at times. Perhaps not iso stuff, but as a counter to aggressively defending the picks on curl CnShoots where he'd put the ball down right away instead and go past his man as he was closing out the space (which again he did last year).

To me Mike's offense was perfectly solved last year, which is exactly why Rick kept playing him. Troy struggled more to fit in despite his 3pt shot which is why his PT went down. (note, Troy's MPG went up in April when his 3pt shot went over 50%)


Dun on defense...well he's one of many liabilities out there and Rick already had them funnel stuff to JO, which is a level of team defense. Perhaps learning to drive guys into perimeter trap situations is where Harter/JOB will fix not just Mike's defense but Troy and Tinsley as well. Defending the PnRoll, that's the only thing this defense needs to take a massive step forward.



From a roster view I'd be okay with Dun starting at SF and Granger coming off the bench still. Danny could benefit from the success he would get as the main threat in the batch of reserves on the court. His next step needs to be from role player/"watch what the other guys do" to being "the man" when he is on the court. Much like Pippen was with the Bulls when he stayed out with the bench and Mike took a breather. Danny needs to learn what it's like to be the focus on court and one of the most talented guys on the court, and playing with the benches lets that happen. Once he gets that mindset then you can move him up to the starters in order to be a COMFORTABLE #2 option.

If Rush can play well enough to earn it you could get him starting at the 2 as your spot up guy and then you have a modestly balanced lineup, whether you go Foster or Troy. Then a bench of 25 mpg guys Danny and Quis keep the outside shooting, defense, athletic ability and ball handling on the court, and both are guys that can adjust between positions. Ike straight in for JO of course, Troy/Foster swap, Diener in for Tins/Rush.

That's actually a pretty decent sounding lineup and it puts Dun and Granger in positions where I think each can be their best.