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thunderbird1245
12-30-2007, 07:43 PM
In the summertime, and preseason, much was made of the Pacers new coaching staff, particularly defensive guru Dick Harter, and his ability to hide our players defensive individual weaknesses in his grander overall team scheme. While we probably discussed the offensive end in more detail overall, we had lots of quality discussion on here about what we expected to see.

I think the prevailing opinions/hopes of most of you about our defense went something like this:
1. "I'm not worried about our defense, I trust Dick Harter and Jim O'Brien's scheme to solve all of that."
2. "The players wouldn't play hard last year, better effort will help our defense."
3. "Danny Granger can be our defensive stopper."


I think we are seeing so far that all of the above statements simply aren't true.

We have clearly improved offensively as a whole. We are clearly getting more offensively out of Tinsley and Dunleavy. And we clearly move the ball better and are more entertaining to watch play, no question.

But it is time to clearly state the following: The Pacers defensively are downright terrible much of the time.

Now, I'm not saying that Coach Harter and Coach O'Brien aren't good defensive coaches, because they are. What I am saying is that the Pacers personnel defensively are awful, and lack any potential of getting better significantly.

I'm telling you all to recognize this "coachspeak" we hear all the time from the staff about missed rotations, inexperience, new system, blah blah blah for what it is: which is a load of B.S.

Let me explain what I mean somewhat better than I have already by examining the phrase "defensive rotations".

Coach O'Brien acts like these are somehow set in stone, with ironclad rules and concepts, with everyone supposed to be acting in concert. This all sounds like good, intelligent, well planned defensive coaching.

Except it isn't close to being true, and Jim knows it deep down. It's something to say without having to call out particular individuals you don't want to criticize for whatever reason.

Let me tell you all something about coaching basketball: You may decide as a coach which one your players will guard my players, but I decide where on the floor my players will be, and how I will attack you based on that. A team's great defensive rules and concepts are wasted if I attack you in ways that your INDIVIDUAL defenders cannot handle, in positions or situations in which they struggle.

This is even more true when the opponent I'm playing is very PREDICTABLE defensively, along with having WEAK INDIVIDUAL defenders.

The Pacers are known to have the following traits defensively:
1. Help and sag alot.
2. Fail to recover and closeout to shooters due to their need/desire to overhelp.
3. Foul often.
4. Our best defenders are easily faked out by ball fakes.
5. We play one one above average defender significant minutes (JO, and he is average on the ball, above average away from it).
6. We play several below average defenders significant minutes (Tinsley, Murphy, Dunleavy)
7. We lead the league in defensive three second calls, giving our opponent a couple of free points per game.
So teams put us in situations to drive the ball, cause us to help, and then pitch it to wide open guys for easy shots. THE PACERS ARE SOFT...thats what their scouting reports say.

You guys all need to realize that no defensive scheme by any coach can solve any of this. It's not going to be the X's and O's, it's the Jimmy's and Joe's. If you are all waiting for the "Dick Harter effect" to kick in, I don't think it is going to.

This system needs better individual defenders on the ball, so we aren't forced to help and recover so much. We also need a committment from the staff to value putting as many good defenders on the floor as possible.

TEAM DEFENSE IS ONE OF THE MOST OVERRATED THINGS IN BASKETBALL.

It cannot be played successfully without really good defense from individuals. I know someone will bring up the Spurs, who do play a well organized, team defensive concept well.....but remember they have 2 elite defenders in Duncan and Bowen, and Parker is great at pressuring the opposing ballhandler. Their individual talent makes the scheme work, not the other way around.

In truth, I think the Pacers front office and coaching staff fell victim to their own hubris and hype when evaluating the roster defensively. No coach can take this roster and make it a good defensive team overall.

I do not think our weaknesses are fixable with more time or experience, and I doubt Jim O'Brien does either. So what can we expect to see him do as the Calendar turns to 2008?

There will be lots of disagreement and griping about this prediction if it comes true, but I think Coach O'Brien may slow our pace down on offense, to protect our worsening defense.....which is the same conclusion Carlisle came to in his tenure.

That is unless we somehow obtain better personnel defensively thru a trade of some sort, which won't be easy. Most teams know that what I just have written is true, and are reluctant to deal for guys who are porous as individual defenders.

You used to be able to hide slower guys by being physical and rough on the perimeter....those days are over.

Larry Brown was a great defensive coach, in that he really valued guys who could guard people. But he was a lot smarter when he had Derrick McKey and Haywoode Workman playing for him than when he had those awful Knicks teams.

In some ways I'm spoiled I guess, having coached some great high school defenders, and having watched some elite defenders play in my lifetime for my favorite team, the 2 mentioned above, Travis Best, and Ron Artest.

I guess I'm in a bad mood tonight about our team's roster, but what really worries me more than anything is that I sometimes wonder if our front office is seeing the same things I am. I wonder if any of you are too.

I see our team scheme as easy to figure out and predictable for our opponents, with below average personnel trying to execute it. I hate it, but I see a big tailspin coming our way soon......

As always, all the above is just my opinion.

Tbird

Kstat
12-30-2007, 07:50 PM
team defense is a product of team chemistry, which in itself is a product of good coaching, but not entirely.

I think you miss that part of the equation when you make your point.

The fatal flaw in Indiana that I see is chemistry. They don't talk at all.

The Pistons have had some great defensive talent, but they have always had a defensive "captain" on the floor calling out both the sets the offense was running and the defensive counter. If a defender was out of position, he would either yell at him to move over, or physically drag him off the floor.

Michael Curry filled that role from 02-03, and Rasheed has been that guy ever since.

I realize coaches always encourage players to talk to each other on defense, but it never works out that way. Most players just aren't wired to be vocal when they're locked in on concentrating on the game. It usually takes one guy being a leader for the entire unit.

On one hand, you're right. You do need certain players to have an effective team defense, but that doesn't necessarily mean you need a lot of talent.

Kstat
12-30-2007, 07:54 PM
As for this current Pacer team, you can't play at the pace they do and expect to have consistent defensive efficiency. It just isn't going to happen when you speed up the tempo and predicate your success on the amount of shots you can jack up in 48 minutes. I thought everyone understood this when the decision was made to turn this team into golden state east.

bulldog
12-30-2007, 08:48 PM
Agree with Kstat on both the point regarding defensive chemistry and tempo.


Honestly, Tbird, your posts are always difficult to address because they're so friggin' long, and you always temper and moderate your ideas so that its difficult to understand exactly what side of the line you're trying to fall (these are both great qualities, but unfortunately its difficult to rebut without writing a thesis myself).

Sufficed to say, I believe team defense, defensive rotations, etc. are an integral portion of defense that can overcome and is often more important than your defensive personnel, just as offensive schemes and rotation make good offense. For example, I would say that the best defensive team in the NBA, the Spurs, have two amazing defenders and a bunch of so-so one-on-one defenders who are willing to hustle, rotate, and buy into a team defensive concept.

BlueNGold
12-30-2007, 09:22 PM
As long as Tinsley, Murphy and Dunleavy are starting, we have to be one of the worst defensive teams in the league.

Good ball movement always beats any form of team defense that relies on poor defenders. Our stats back that up. We are near the top in the league in fouls, points allowed, free throws allowed and 3pt percentage.

This is why this team cannot possibly have success in the playoffs. Contenders like Detroit and San Antonio excel at picking apart teams with ball movement...and we will be easy pickings.

Edit: San Antonio's players do buy into the system. But when you have Bruce on the outside and Timmy on the inside, they really don't need much help. The fact they have two amazing defenders puts them near the top of the league anyway in defensive talent. They also have perimeter quickness which we lack. I think our players buy into the system too, but they just don't have the quickness and ability to get it done. That's why a good system is a base requirement and good individual defensive players are required to reach the upper echelon. Detroit is good because of their system too, but the talent is there as well. Billups, Prince and Wallace are all very good and the team's length is outstanding. That's all gravy on top of the system that is required to really be any good IMO.

DisplacedKnick
12-30-2007, 09:53 PM
You can still be a great defensive team if you have one poor defender on the perimeter and a player who's about average on the inside. The other 3 need to be good to great defenders though.

Allan Houston will never make anyone think of good defense - neither will Reggie Miller. But they both played on very strong defensive teams because they were smart defenders - they knew how to shade their man and take something away and the other defenders on the team knew their tendencies and could compensate.

Rik Smits was never more than an average defender but between DD and McKey helping the Pacers had very solid interior defense.

But if you have 3 poor defenders in the lineup, I don't care how good the other 2 are, your defense will suck. During his last years with the Knicks, KT, who's one of the best man-to-man position defenders in the league, looked completely lost because nobody else had a clue what they were doing. Bill Russell would have looked useless with that team.

BlueNGold
12-30-2007, 09:59 PM
You can still be a great defensive team if you have one poor defender on the perimeter and a player who's about average on the inside. The other 3 need to be good to great defenders though.

Allan Houston will never make anyone think of good defense - neither will Reggie Miller. But they both played on very strong defensive teams because they were smart defenders - they knew how to shade their man and take something away and the other defenders on the team knew their tendencies and could compensate.

Rik Smits was never more than an average defender but between DD and McKey helping the Pacers had very solid interior defense.

But if you have 3 poor defenders in the lineup, I don't care how good the other 2 are, your defense will suck. During his last years with the Knicks, KT, who's one of the best man-to-man position defenders in the league, looked completely lost because nobody else had a clue what they were doing. Bill Russell would have looked useless with that team.

Outstanding post! :D

thunderbird1245
12-30-2007, 10:04 PM
I agree with Bulldog, in that this probably wasn't my best written thread I've ever done.

I want to make one more point I forgot to make in the original posting, and then I'll summarize my points so where I stand is made clearer.

I think our huge emphasis on our overall team concept, as a unit, fanbase, and organization, is harmful in some ways, because it limits the amount of personal responsibility each player has to accept. You may read or hear comments like "our rotations were slow", or "our opponent deserves credit for shooting so well", or " we lacked focus", or other such drivel. No one says :"It's my fault, I stunk, my defense tonight was atrocious, I let my man light me up and that's unacceptable."

There is a lack of singular, man vs man, defensive pride on our roster. No one seems upset, disappointed, or offended when their man scores, or when anyone else scores for that matter.

Ok, to summarize my opinions on our defense so far:

1. Our perimeter defense is awful, just like it was last year after the trade.
2. Our inside defense is decent (particularly JO's help is good), but nothing to write home about.
3. Our defense is still very passive and reactive, we are dictated to instead of dictating ourselves.
4. Our individual defense is so bad that we make average teams look good, and good offensive teams look superhuman.
5. We are terrible at help and recover situations and contesting shooters hard.
6. We foul way too much.
7. We overreact to pass fakes and drives, even in cases we don't need to.
8. We have no one to pressure the ball, defend a wing pass, or stop an opponents best player.
9. We basically stink defensively, and our lack of defensive individual skill means I don't think we are going to improve, and are likely to get worse.
10. Our organization and this board was hoping for way too much from the staff to solve our defensive issues, instead of wanting or recognizing how untalented our defensive guys are.

Hicks
12-30-2007, 10:49 PM
You can still be a great defensive team if you have one poor defender on the perimeter and a player who's about average on the inside. The other 3 need to be good to great defenders though.

Allan Houston will never make anyone think of good defense - neither will Reggie Miller. But they both played on very strong defensive teams because they were smart defenders - they knew how to shade their man and take something away and the other defenders on the team knew their tendencies and could compensate.

Rik Smits was never more than an average defender but between DD and McKey helping the Pacers had very solid interior defense.

But if you have 3 poor defenders in the lineup, I don't care how good the other 2 are, your defense will suck. During his last years with the Knicks, KT, who's one of the best man-to-man position defenders in the league, looked completely lost because nobody else had a clue what they were doing. Bill Russell would have looked useless with that team.

You say you need 3 good to great defenders. Indiana had 2 in Davis/McKey. Otherwise you had Mark Jackson, then Reggie and Smits. Their defense when Harter was here before didn't suck.

Hicks
12-30-2007, 10:50 PM
Also, I disagree entirely that team D is overrated. We have one of the best defensive FG%'s in the league. Our problem is volume of shots, but that's what you get when you up the pace to give your own crappy FG% more looks. If we didn't suck so bad at making baskets we'd be fine.

indyman37
12-30-2007, 10:51 PM
you've mentioned one of the things that has ticked me off the most during the past two games. i've noticed that when the other team sets a pick, instead of switching, both the players run after the opposing player that has the ball. which of course leaves a player (who the opposing team ALWAYS finds) wide open for a shot. i'm not so upset with not having good defensive players, it's just the fact that they don't play smart.

Hicks
12-30-2007, 10:53 PM
They blitz the ball handler by design. As I understand it, it prevents penetration and puts pressure on the guard to make a tough pass. Typically you have to just pass around the perimeter in that instance, but yes you can get burnt for it. But our team concept is to have help D rotate to cover the guy running to the basket (and someone to cover that defender, then him, etc.) It's a good example of how this team's defense requires all 5 guys doing the right thing. When they do, it's very solid. When they don't, it can fall apart quickly and easily.

indyman37
12-30-2007, 10:59 PM
They blitz the ball handler by design. As I understand it, it prevents penetration and puts pressure on the guard to make a tough pass. Typically you have to just pass around the perimeter in that instance, but yes you can get burnt for it. But our team concept is to have help D rotate to cover the guy running to the basket (and someone to cover that defender, then him, etc.) It's a good example of how this team's defense requires all 5 guys doing the right thing. When they do, it's very solid. When they don't, it can fall apart quickly and easily.
i would prefer that they "blitz" the guy sometime other than a screen you know, at least not when the guy knows two of our guys are going to be right there. if it were me, i would try to double team him or trap him on one of the sides rather than at the top of the circle and do it fast enough to where he'd have to try to make practically a split-second decision. but i imagine it's a lot harder than just writing it out.

Naptown_Seth
12-30-2007, 11:16 PM
The Pistons have had some great defensive talent, but they have always had a defensive "captain" on the floor calling out both the sets the offense was running and the defensive counter. If a defender was out of position, he would either yell at him to move over, or physically drag him off the floor.

Michael Curry filled that role from 02-03Oh no, he was just a worthless Carlisle pet, he sucked.


There will be lots of disagreement and griping about this prediction if it comes true, but I think Coach O'Brien may slow our pace down on offense, to protect our worsening defense.....which is the same conclusion Carlisle came to in his tenure.No. Rick was an idiot who loved slog ball and made the team worse. He never made an effort to hide or limit any flaws by any of his rosters. He didn't care about Tinsley's 3p% or TO rate, he just hated him.


Sorry, I just can't help myself. I've listened to a LOOOONGGG list of griping about Rick and his many choices and now I'm bitter. I've always said he coached to the talent he had, rather than forcing them to be something they weren't. If players didn't like it or couldn't recognize their own limits then that's on them IMO.


In reality I have to agree with T'bird quite a bit. Team defense and individual is not the same, but either without the other can be exploited. Even good individual players can be PnR'd or other plays into opening up chances without a quality team approach behind them.

Kstat is also right, you've got to have that leadership on the court too, or at least an overall chemistry even if no one player is the leader.

I will add that Dunleavy is a pretty good team defender, meaning that he can be quite good on help defense. He pulls a lot of charges for example. Danny has the skills but plays really green too (fake bites as mentioned).

Naptown_Seth
12-30-2007, 11:32 PM
Points per 100 last year
105.6 (10th)
Points per 100 this year
106.7 (13th)


Of course Rick had half a year pre-trade too. As for FG%, there is one problem with it which is why I prefer per100...FOULS. Yes the Pacers deny shots, but in the process of doing so they foul much more and hand teams bonus points there.

Last year they gave up 49.1% effective (3pt factored in). This year it's 48 something (rounded at ESPN). Better, but 31.6 FTA given up per game. Last year it was 25.9, over 5.5 more FTAs teams are getting per game. That's not just 1-2 lane techs either.

So Pacers in the penalty more, in foul trouble more (reducing defensive pressure later in games), and giving teams a much higher PCT scoring chance several times a game.

And that's how you can have a better DEF FG% but a worse Points Allowed per possession.

Things aren't better. Not worse, but in no way was the defense "fixed". Frankly the PP100 was pretty good last year and remains decent this year, but I think JO has a lot to do with that.



Our defense is still very passive and reactive, we are dictated to instead of dictating ourselves.
True. They really lack players than can do that. Danny can when he understands or reads a situation correctly, as well as showing the confidence to act on his read. I think he's much better at that end than on offense when it comes to this, but even on defense it comes and goes still. He's yet to prove that he can be "sicked" on an offensive player in order to disrupt their game.

The only disruption this team has is JO's help defense. He can make guys miss over and over when they come into the paint. Now if he could do the same one on one in the post regularly you'd really have something. Regardless at least they have one part they can count on.

Young
12-30-2007, 11:43 PM
Kstat made some good points.

I don't think this cuurent group has the chemistry or personnel to be a great defensive team.

But hey we do have a medicore team so we must expect medicore results at this point.

I think that overall we have quanity instead of quality. That has to change for us to become better on the defensive end.

CableKC
12-31-2007, 12:00 AM
Ok, to summarize my opinions on our defense so far:

1. Our perimeter defense is awful, just like it was last year after the trade.
2. Our inside defense is decent (particularly JO's help is good), but nothing to write home about.
3. Our defense is still very passive and reactive, we are dictated to instead of dictating ourselves.
4. Our individual defense is so bad that we make average teams look good, and good offensive teams look superhuman.
5. We are terrible at help and recover situations and contesting shooters hard.
6. We foul way too much.
7. We overreact to pass fakes and drives, even in cases we don't need to.
8. We have no one to pressure the ball, defend a wing pass, or stop an opponents best player.
9. We basically stink defensively, and our lack of defensive individual skill means I don't think we are going to improve, and are likely to get worse.
10. Our organization and this board was hoping for way too much from the staff to solve our defensive issues, instead of wanting or recognizing how untalented our defensive guys are.
So this brings the obvious question....which I think you had partially answered in the other thread about the importance of defenders on the team.......assuming that we do nothing of significance this season...what can be done in the offseason to try to the defense of the team?

Also....one of the problems with finding solid defenders is that most are not very effective on the offensive end. Is JO'Bs offensive system good enough to have a "4 on 5" lineup if we have one player that is good on the defensive end but not on the offensive end?

NuffSaid
12-31-2007, 12:07 AM
When it was first reported that the Pacers would go to a more uptempo offense, the first thing that came to mind was this team would yield alot of points as well.

As much as teams want to run-N-gun, most uptempo teams have difficulty getting back on defense. Not only does fatigue set in, but you also have the problem of getting these teams to slow down long enough to control the tempo at the right time during the game let alone to catch their breath. You're actually dealing with a double-edged sword in that regard. The problem is compounded when you have a team like the Pacers who are trying to learn the nuances of a new offense while at the same time are also trying to figure out how to best limit their defensive liabilities. To say that this season would be a season full of adjustments for the Pacers is an understatement! But there is hope.

Injuries have been a big stumbling block as far as JOB being able to adequately evaluate the talent he has, as well as determine who fits where and who works best with whom. Still, except for Stephen Graham who has played only 3 minutes in one game to date, JOB has had a chance to see each player in action. T-Bird is correct, however, in that the Pacers' team defense has struggled mightily, but I don't think the pace will slow but rather JOB will eventually make two hardline decisions:

1) Who will make the rotation, and;

2) Will he go with an 8- or 10-man rotation.

From there, things will get better. JOB has already seen what combination of players can put up points. Now, I think he's looking at who can play defense. Believe it or not, but two players IMO have emerged as being better 1-on-1 defenders that I thought they'd be: Andre Owens and Kareem Rush.

Believe it or not but Tinsley's injury opens the door for JOB to pay closer attention to Andre Owens. He's not going to give you alot on offense, but he has shown he can be a good on-the-ball defender, as well as pressure the opposing PG in the backcourt. A good example of that can be seen in Billups' stats in both games. He was held to a combined 9-22 FG/1-7 3PA/12-12 FT for 14 and 17 pts respectively. No, Owens didn't do it alone, but Owens did have something to do with that. Same can be said for Rush on Rip. No, he didn't lock him down, but he did show a willingness to break through screens not to mention he hounded Rip whenever he had him for a defensive assignment. He didn't stop him all the time, but he didn't make it easy for him either. Same could be said when Rush drew Tayshaune on defense. So, I think the team's 1-on-1 back court defenders are starting to show themselves. I'm just surprised one of them might just happened to be Kareem Rush!

Bottom line here is team defense won't move this team forward. To that, I agree with T-Bird. I also agree with Kstat in that others have to step up and do a better job in communicating. A defensive captain needs to emerge and individual man-defense needs to improve or TPTB need to find one. Still, players are starting to emerge to the fore in that department. Once JOB is able to really see who can do what out there and with whom - and I think he's finally getting a feel for these things - we will see a different Pacers team on the defensive end. Patients, Daniel-Son. Rome wasn't built in a day. Neither were good basketball teams.

D-BONE
12-31-2007, 12:13 AM
I would agree with those who've tried to have the compromise position. So it's obvously not a black and white dichotomy.

Thus, to be a good defensive team you most likely need an overall good team scheme and at least a couple above average individual defenders.

I mean, how often do you find a team with five good defenders and no holes whatsoever that could theoretically play practically no team defense? Or the opposite?

The point about chemistry, communication, effort, and so forth is valid, too. I think this reflects a larger issue with the team's makeup. It's not that they don't play hard, but I don't sense they are playing together as much as they did in what might be called the honeymoon period with JOb.

This permeates all aspects of play. Bottom line is the team has no moxie. No mental toughness. No leadership. I suppose this is nothing new. Just something else to be frustrated about the collection of guys we have.

I would agree with TBird in an uneasy feeling that the bottom could drop out. I know we've said .500ish is beyond expectations. Agreed, but how can we keep it up?

Unclebuck
12-31-2007, 07:51 AM
I don't agree with the notion that team defense is overrated - I strongly disagree.

Last season we could have had the 5 best defensive players in the whole NBA on our team and still the defense would have been average overall.

I think defense more so than offense is dependant upon the team concepts, suck as trust among the players, knowledge of the system, everyone being on the "same page" and everyone playing hard.

DisplacedKnick
12-31-2007, 08:59 AM
You say you need 3 good to great defenders. Indiana had 2 in Davis/McKey. Otherwise you had Mark Jackson, then Reggie and Smits. Their defense when Harter was here before didn't suck.

It wasn't good - I don't think there's any way you can say the Larry Bird coached Pacers were a great defensive team - they won because of their offense. The finals year they averaged over 100 ppg. Not sure where that ranked that year but it had to be top 5. They also gave up nearly 97. They were OK on D, middle-of-the-pack. They also had Travis Best and AD playing 25-30 mpg.

The Brown-coached teams were another story.

Edit: Just found it. Pacer rankings based on efficiency (points per possession)

1997-98: Offense - 4th, Defense - 5th (this first year is the exception)
1998-99: Offense - 1st, Defense - 22nd
1999-2000: Offense - 1st, Defense - 13th

Unclebuck
12-31-2007, 09:27 AM
It wasn't good - I don't think there's any way you can say the Larry Bird coached Pacers were a great defensive team - they won because of their offense. The finals year they averaged over 100 ppg. Not sure where that ranked that year but it had to be top 5. They also gave up nearly 97. They were OK on D, middle-of-the-pack. They also had Travis Best and AD playing 25-30 mpg.

The Brown-coached teams were another story.

Edit: Just found it. Pacer rankings based on efficiency (points per possession)

1997-98: Offense - 4th, Defense - 5th (this first year is the exception)
1998-99: Offense - 1st, Defense - 22nd
1999-2000: Offense - 1st, Defense - 13th

That is all true, but if Chuck Person was coaching the defense instead of Dick Harter, the pacers would have ranked dead last in defense and not in the middle of the pack. Same with this years team without the excellent defensive coaching this current team would be near the bottom. And when you take into account the important team defensive stats, the Pacers rank around 10th best - and I expect that to improve. In the 4th quarter against the Pistons the other night it was as good as I've seen it all season long.

Pacers can put a very good defensive team on the floor. Daniels, Rush, Granger, Foster and JO. - that is by any measure an excellent defensive team. I've been almost shocked at how good of a defender Rush is - he was by far the best defender against Rip and he defended Billups better than anyone we have.

I just don't know how anyone can suggest that team defense isn't important - in fact I think it is the most important thing (for any team) and it is the one thing that is most influenced by coaching. Look at the Spurs since 1999.

In fact whenever I decide what teams are well coached and what teams are not, the first thing I look at is team defense - often times it is the only think I look at.

NuffSaid
12-31-2007, 10:02 AM
I don't agree with the notion that team defense is overrated - I strongly disagree.

Last season we could have had the 5 best defensive players in the whole NBA on our team and still the defense would have been average overall.

I think defense more so than offense is dependant upon the team concepts, suck as trust among the players, knowledge of the system, everyone being on the "same page" and everyone playing hard.
Your statement in bold is very true. However, in iso situations you want that one defender to have the ability to either stop his man cold or force him to make bad decisions even if it means he throws up a prayer and it goes in. At least the individual defender didn't make the ball handler's job any easier. If the ball handler had to face that same 1-on-1 pressure defense ten times odds are he would only make that shot once! Sometimes, that one lucky shot is the shot that hurts you especially if it comes at end-game, but most times it's those nine misses that places your team in the better position to win.

So far, Owens and Rush have shown me they know how to defend the perimeter by either staying with the ball handler, rotating to the open man or breaking through screens. That's what this team needs in the back court. If everyone else could tighten up in their defensive responsibilities as far as team defense is concerned and one other players - Granger or Williams - emerges as a decent 1-on-1 defender, I think the over compensation we've seen from the front court as a result of the defensive lapses from the back court will be a thing of the past.

My boyz are getting there. It's just going to take a little more time. Once that's fixed, the team can work on finding that end-game go-to-guy. We need one bad!