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Hicks
10-01-2008, 07:52 AM
Unclebuck, thunderbird, et al, we get our first taste of the changes in the defense this year.

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081001/SPORTS04/810010373/1088/SPORTS04

October 1, 2008

Defend the paint

That's the rallying cry for Indiana's defense

By Jeff Rabjohns
jeff.rabjohns@indystar.com

Early Tuesday afternoon at Conseco Fieldhouse, Indiana Pacers coach Jim O'Brien stopped the action and walked near the free throw line.

"The entire point of the drill," he emphasized, "is keeping the basketball out of the paint."

It was only the first training camp practice, but the Pacers were at work on what they feel is a key component behind their offseason overhaul.

After a year in which their inability to stop dribble penetration led to a variety of defensive breakdowns, the Pacers acquired point guards T.J. Ford and Jarrett Jack in trades, drafted a defensive center in Roy Hibbert and a forward in Brandon Rush who often guarded the opponent's best wing player in college.

While O'Brien is tweaking the defensive system, he has emphasized better defensive play at the point will be a key.

Ford is the likely starter, with Jack the backup and Travis Diener the third point guard.

"It all starts with the ability to keep your man in front of you. We couldn't do that last year," O'Brien said. "T.J. is pretty good at doing that. Jarrett Jack is just a tough-minded guy who keeps the ball in front, will hit people, take charges, get on the ground for loose balls, is the type of individual that will help our team own our defense.

"I thought Travis got much, much better defensively and grew as a defensive player in a number of areas. We're just significantly better just if you start at the point of attack."

The Pacers allowed the fifth-most points per game last year (105.4) and tied with Washington as the worst team against the 3-pointer, allowing teams to shoot 38.6 percent.

With a fast-break offense, O'Brien expects the Pacers to be among the league's top five teams in scoring. The difference in wins and losses -- or making the playoffs and watching from home -- likely will come down to stops. O'Brien reminded the Pacers that they allowed 1.5 more points than they scored last season, and each possession is worth potentially six points.

"All the good teams keep the ball out of the middle and contest shots," said Ford, acquired from Toronto in the Jermaine O'Neal trade. "In order for us to be a good team, those are two areas we have to master."

The most significant change in approach is on pick-and-rolls. Instead of pushing the player with the ball toward the free throw line, the Pacers will try to steer the player toward the baseline.

The intent is to shorten the distance in defensive rotations, which could help Hibbert, a 7-2 rookie from Georgetown.

"As any 7-footer, you have to block up the middle," Hibbert said. "I have to do my part and own the paint and make sure if any guys get beat from the middle of the baseline to the paint, I'm there to help out as much as possible.

"These guys are going to have to rely on me as the second line of defense, so I'm going to have to do my part."

Hibbert has been blocking shots but is working on staying on his feet so he doesn't get pump-faked into foul trouble. Tuesday's first practice revealed glimpses of the potential and the problems. He'll also be facing more physical post players than in college, but he said he's looking forward to that.

"I like it a lot, actually," he said. "They let you bang in the post here. In college, I go up against 6-8 centers most of the time. Just to get a chance to be physical and bang in there is enticing."

Hibbert will battle Jeff Foster and Rasho Nesterovic for minutes. O'Brien made it clear Monday during media day and again in practice Tuesday that whoever wins the starting position will be a physical presence, particularly on defense.

"I want there to be daily wars at that position," O'Brien said. "I want to see people getting their lips cut and their noses bloodied because then whoever earns the majority of the playing time will be toughened by his teammates. I think it will evolve just like every other position."

http://cmsimg.indystar.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=BG&Date=20081001&Category=SPORTS04&ArtNo=810010373&Ref=AR&Profile=1088&MaxW=320

Defensive details: Rookie Roy Hibbert defends the lane after Pacers defenders force Danny Granger (33) to the baseline in practice Tuesday. A change from last year is that the Pacers want to force opposing players to the baseline instead of the free throw line. - MATT DIAL / The Star

http://cmsimg.indystar.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=BG&Date=20081001&Category=SPORTS04&ArtNo=810010373&Ref=H3&Profile=1088&MaxW=320

Listen up: Pacers coach Jim O'Brien offers instructions. O'Brien wants better defensive play at point guard this season.

-------------------

I think this is a good move. It should also mean less of what appeared in '08 to be, "force them down the lane and pray to draw a charge."

Phildog
10-01-2008, 08:20 AM
Maybe it's just the slant in the article....but it seems that Hibbert is expected to be a key piece of this team.

Pacers4Life
10-01-2008, 08:36 AM
^^is he not supposed to be? the way i see it, regardless of how he actually performs this year (we all know w/o even playing a single game he's an improvement over Harrison), the best thing for us in the long run is getting him consistent minutes. I expect to see him at at least 15 mins every night.

Good read again. I haven't been this excited since the Reggie days, this is fantastic

Unclebuck
10-01-2008, 08:38 AM
I like pushing the dribbler to the baseline. Seems like more and more teams are defending pick and rolls that way. Phil Jackson has been doing it that way for years, first as the Bulls coach and then as Lakers coach. Of course you can't do that all the time especially on the pick and roll that starts at the top of the key which is becoming the most popular pick and roll - ever since the defensive rules were changed which made side pick and rolls easier to defend.

Pushing baseline will keep the Pacers big guy from having to run such a long distance first to trap and then to either get back to his own man or someone elses man. Another advantage is that there is simply less room to work in the corners, fewer angles. Certain players though you just can't do it this way, Iverson is one, he loves the baseline, Kobe is another one - well actually he is great everywhere,

Overall I like the change. But most of all I just hpe we are aggressive in the rotations and aggressive in the ball pressure - Jack should help a lot - he's probably the best defender of that sort since Erick Strickland

Putnam
10-01-2008, 08:45 AM
Pushing baseline will keep the Pacers big guy from having to run such a long distance first to trap and then to either get back to his own man or someone elses man.

Overall I like the change.


I understand the value of controlling the interior, and of shortening the distance any player has to go to help or cover an open man. I also understand how the sidelines can work like a 6th defender.

What are we giving up to do this? What is the down side?

Hicks
10-01-2008, 08:48 AM
It's a good question, and I don't know the answer. I'd like to think it's just an improvement we can afford to do with having two point guards who can pressure and having a big center who can defend the paint. Mainly the improvement at PG.

I think making our help run less distance is a big deal.

bellisimo
10-01-2008, 08:54 AM
I just hope that Hibbert will not spend most of his time on the bench with foul trouble due to ticky-tacky fouls

Skaut_Ech
10-01-2008, 08:57 AM
In my book, there is not downside to forcing players to the baseline. IMHO, it's the best way to defend the pick and roll. I think that's why the Spurs tend to run so many from the top of the key. Harder to force the offensive player to a particular side.

Although I'm glad O'Brian is opting to force P&O to the sideline, what is most important is HOW we defend it. Are we going to try and slide through the pick...switch off...trap? THAT is what is most important.

I like what UB had to say about it, especially how certain players LIKE being forced to the baseline, like Kobe and Iverson.

This is going to take some smart interior defense to make this work. Hibbert, Foster and Rado are really going to have to recognize what is happening with the pick man, along with how and when he's going to roll to the basket.

The one possible downside I see is that we can set ourselves up for a nasty backdoor cut from the weakside as we force the play to the baseline.

Hicks
10-01-2008, 08:57 AM
I just hope that Hibbert will not spend most of his time on the bench with foul trouble due to ticky-tacky fouls

That's probably inevitable at first, but the question is how quickly will he learn to stay on his feet. And how quickly will the refs stop treating him like a rookie. ;) Honestly, on that front the most important thing is that Roy DOES NOT complain to the refs. He might a little, but if I were him I'd be telling myself to do it less than whomever I consider to be a moderate/mild complainer. If he gets on the refs' **** list like Harrison did, it's over.

Hicks
10-01-2008, 09:05 AM
Skaut, I went ahead and emailed that question about defending the PnR to Mike Wells, asking him to ask Jim O'Brien about it. We'll see if it shows up this week in a blog or article.

Unclebuck
10-01-2008, 09:14 AM
The downside is that it does allow the picker (usually the big guy setting the pick) to get open shots - as it is very difficult to get out to him in that situation. When you force the dribbler baseline the big guy setting the pick will veer to the outside near the top of the key area and if you have a shooter like Sheed or even KG he will get a lot of pretty good open 20 ft shots. Of course yuou can always pre-rotate and get out to the shooter.

Hicks
10-01-2008, 10:49 AM
It looks like Mike is going to help us out. His response to my email:



I'll try to do a blog on it today. If not, I'll definitely do something on it tomorrow.

Hicks
10-01-2008, 10:50 AM
The downside is that it does allow the picker (usually the big guy setting the pick) to get open shots - as it is very difficult to get out to him in that situation. When you force the dribbler baseline the big guy setting the pick will veer to the outside near the top of the key area and if you have a shooter like Sheed or even KG he will get a lot of pretty good open 20 ft shots. Of course yuou can always pre-rotate and get out to the shooter.

That's the kind of weakness I like. You always have to give something up to multi-dimensional players, and I'd rather it be a 20 foot shot than something closer and/or attacking the basket.

McKeyFan
10-01-2008, 11:00 AM
Erick Strickland

That seems like two lifetimes ago.

ChicagoJ
10-01-2008, 12:09 PM
That seems like two lifetimes ago.

And thank God for that. Makes me long for the Tim Hardaway days.

= = = = = = = = = =

Phyiscal post defense? I'm pretty sure that is even less of the "front the post" garbage. Foster is trade bait, and with the roster changes is expendable. Out of all six PFs/Cs, he's the least physical and most reliant on speed/ jumping.

Doug
10-01-2008, 12:42 PM
[Foster]'s the least physical and most reliant on speed/ jumping.

Plus, that speed and jumping is going to start to fade eventually. Jeff has trade value. Which is more than you can say for a lot of our roster (although things have gotten better there.)



Roy looks absolutely huge in that picture - like he could pick Danny up by palming his head.

Skaut_Ech
10-01-2008, 12:46 PM
It looks like Mike is going to help us out. His response to my email:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Wells
I'll try to do a blog on it today. If not, I'll definitely do something on it tomorrow.



Wow. Cool. Thanks.

pizza guy
10-01-2008, 12:53 PM
Plus, that speed and jumping is going to start to fade eventually. Jeff has trade value. Which is more than you can say for a lot of our roster (although things have gotten better there.)



Roy looks absolutely huge in that picture - like he could pick Danny up by palming his head.

I was beginning too wonder if I was the only one who noticed that. Roy is large!!

--pizza

thunderbird1245
10-01-2008, 12:54 PM
I have so many things to say about this article, but first.....isn't it great to have basketball back again? It's truly the best time of year!


.................................................. .................................................. .....

Coaching in the first few days of practice were, at least for me, my very favorite time to be coaching. All of the things you've planned, worked on, researched, labored over, and discussed are now being implemented.

As a coach during this period, you find yourself (or at least I do) about the most schizophrenic you will ever be. There are times when you look out there on the floor and you think "Damn, my team is tough! We are going to be a hard team to beat!"

The next practice, those same players look awful, and you think "Crap, we may not win a game!"

The truth of course is always in the middle. The old coaching axiom of "you are never really as bad as you look when you struggle, and you are never really as good as you look when you are winning" comes becomes so evident.

.................................................. ..................................................

Lets not get too excited about these defensive changes just yet.

Basically, let me first just say that there arent nearly as many "wing pick and rolls" as there used to be in the NBA anyway. The reason being that with the defensive weakside defensive rules changing, it is easier for help defenders on the opposite side of the ball to be nearer to the "screen/roller". To adjust for this, there are many fewer side pick and rolls to defend in a given game anyway.

For Mike Wells to act like forcing the side pick and roll to the baseline instead of to the middle is a new idea is just way too simplistic of a statement.

For instance, WHERE A SCREENER IS COMING FROM ON THE FLOOR is going to make a difference to most coaches. If a screener is running to the wingman from the top of the circle, almost certainly teams would play that defensively with a "hard hedge" and force the ballhandler to the corner....that only makes sense, and most coaches would already do that. That isnt new for us or anyone else.

If a screener comes from the lane or the low block, how you defend a ballscreen in this situation has to factor in other details. For instance, THE SIDE OF THE BALL THE SCREENER CHOOSES TO SET THE SCREEN. If he sets it in the middle of the floor to attempt to free up the ballhandler to drive middle, or if he sets it up on the low side in order to free up the dribbler to go baseline, the defense can react in a few different ways.

Now, if Wells is saying the Pacers are going to force a wing screen/roll to the baseline REGARDLESS of where the screener comes from or where the screener sets up, that will be news. I'd need some clarification on video study before I get too involved in "new" defensive concepts we are trying.

As an offensive coach, if the Pacers are indeed forcing EVERYTHING to the baseline/corner, it isnt like I wouldnt have adjustments for that situation. One easy one is to send a "big" from the elbow or higher on the floor to set a wing "fake ballscreen" or "slipscreen" and just sprint to the basket. The defender of the screener is no doubt being taught to "hedge hard" (as I mentioned above) in order to turn the ball back to where it came from. That means the screener will effectively have a step or two on him as he sprints to the bucket, and the other helpers likely will be off guard, waiting on a ballscreen that never actually happened.

There are other adjustments smart coaches can make also. Dont be surprised if this little simple adjustment is effective for us, but also dont think it is foolproof.


Tbird

CableKC
10-01-2008, 02:02 PM
I was beginning too wonder if I was the only one who noticed that. Roy is large!!

--pizza
Damn....I thought that Granger was TJ in that picture. :eek:

All Hibbert has to do ( much like in that picture ) is set his feet and wave his hands in the air ( where he can wave them like he doesn't care :dance: ) to deter any player from driving to the hoop where they would either have to shoot the ball over Roy's tall wingspan or force a bad pass.

I've said this before.......last season....when Harrison finally figured out that he could stay out of Foul Trouble by simply planting his feet and using his length and size to defend......instead of trying to swat the ball all the time....he became far more effective on the defensive end....simply by acting as a huge wall that opposing players had to shoot over.

Putnam
10-01-2008, 03:38 PM
I've said this before.......last season....when Harrison finally figured out that he could stay out of Foul Trouble by simply planting his feet and using his length and size to defend......instead of trying to swat the ball all the time....he became far more effective on the defensive end....simply by acting as a huge wall that opposing players had to shoot over.


Another graduate of The Kemo School of Punctuation.


But, yeah, it is remarkable the difference a few inches makes. Hibbert even looks large standing next to Foster!

Roaming Gnome
10-01-2008, 03:48 PM
Well, maybe we can dub him the "Human Detour" ala Mark Eaton.

CableKC
10-01-2008, 04:41 PM
Another graduate of The Kemo School of Punctuation.
Yep........I graduated with honors!!!!!
:laugh:

Hicks
10-01-2008, 05:47 PM
Well, he followed through! As I said elsewhere, I guess he thought my use of the word "hardcore" to be funny. :D

http://blogs.indystar.com/pacersinsider/archives/2008/10/pick_roll_dunk.html



Pick. Roll. Dunk.

Posted by Mike Wells

I got an email from a "hardcore" fan this morning asking about how the Pacers plan to defend the pick-and-roll this season.

That's a good question, especially since opposing point guards were able to pad their assists total and big men could increase their field goal percentage by dunking all the time against the Pacers pick-and-roll defense.

I remember Josh Boone dunking and laying the ball up for 21 first-half points against the Pacers because they couldn't defend the play in a game in late March. Devin Harris made them pay for going under the screen by knocking down open jump shots. That's just one of several examples.

Jeff Rabjohns touched on it in his story today, but here's what Pacers coach Jim O'Brien says about their pick-and-roll defense.

"(In the past) we blitzed all pick-and-rolls on the side," O'Brien said. "Now we are what we call 'blue,' which is our signal for sending the ball handler on the side pick-and-roll down to the corner to the baseline so it'll keep our bigger guys closer to home, closer to the lane than they have been in the past.

"We're starting out the year attacking the offensive glass. We rarely had more than two people attack the offensive glass. We're attacking with three, which will put more pressure in practice on our defense from the standpoint the defense will have to hit people more in practice than they did last year."

The addition of T.J. Ford and Jarrett Jack should allow the Pacers to defend the pick-and-roll better because both players should be able to get over top the pick.

As you guys may already know, Travis Diener is out indefinitely with a sore left foot. Diener's soreness is in the same foot he had surgery on to remove bone spurs from his left big toe in May.

Mike Dunleavy (knee) also didn't practice today, but there's a chance he could practice tomorrow.

Anthem
10-01-2008, 06:14 PM
I just hope that Hibbert will not spend most of his time on the bench with foul trouble due to ticky-tacky fouls
I'm fine if he does. As long as he fouls out at 6 instead of 2, I'm happy.

McKeyFan
10-01-2008, 10:34 PM
Hardcore Hicks.

Sounds like a Southern pornstar :D

Unclebuck
10-01-2008, 10:37 PM
Another really interesting tidbit in the blog. Pacers are sending three to the offensive glass vs two and mostly only 1 in the past......should be interesting.

As many of you know I am a proponent of not seding more than 1 to the offensive glass as I want the team to get back on defense.

One thing I do know is if you are going to make a huge change like they are it is something you must start doing the first day of training camp and practice it everyday.

Kemo
10-02-2008, 12:09 AM
Another graduate of The Kemo School of Punctuation.


LOL ... Thanks for noticing .... I feel all warm and fuzzy inside now ..
Even though I know it was a light-hearted jab .
:box:


Really though, the only reason I got in the habit of doing that, is because I found it easier to separate thoughts while I am typing....... and conveying a long pause in between them........


I also tend to do ALOT of run-on sentences ... usually on purpose ... but not for lack of "knowing" how to correctly punctuate.

It is usually because sometimes I tend to be thinking a hundred miles a minute while trying to convey a bunch of things in a post.

Cactus Jax
10-02-2008, 12:31 AM
But, yeah, it is remarkable the difference a few inches makes.

Resisting temptation to reply to this.

Anyway, I like the way the Pacers are being aggresive on both ends of the floor, and while I dont care much for having lots of people on the offensive glass (especially with a smaller guard like TJ being 1 of your two defenders back on D), its at least aggresive and the team is forcing other teams to react to them rather than the other way. As UB said, there's certain guys like Sheed and KG where this sort of defense doesnt work as well, but for the most part it can be effective if used properly.

BillS
10-02-2008, 10:42 AM
Hardcore Hicks.

Sounds like a Southern pornstar :D

Not the star, the movie title.

kewbapawowwowwwww

Peck
10-02-2008, 11:33 AM
I'm fine if he does. As long as he fouls out at 6 instead of 2, I'm happy.

I don't know if I've ever agreed more with a statement in my life.

All I can add is AMEN!!!!!

Roaming Gnome
10-02-2008, 01:25 PM
I don't know if I've ever agreed more with a statement in my life.

All I can add is AMEN!!!!!

I couldn't agree more, or QFT! :nod:

JayRedd
10-02-2008, 02:34 PM
Apparently I'm even dumber than yall thought, because I actually don't even get it.

Putnam
10-02-2008, 02:45 PM
Apparently I'm even dumber than yall though, because I actually don't even get it.


Well, Peck and Gnome and Anthemnatti can all speak for themselves. But I'll take a shot at explaining.

We've all talked these past 3 years about David Harrison and his foul trouble, David Harrison and his proclivity to foul, David Harrison and how his attitude leads to foul trouble, David Harrison and how his use of his hand leads to foul trouble, etc., etc., etc.

And we've observed that Harrison has typically played fewer than 10 minutes per game because his coach (be it Carlisle or O'Brien) would sit him after a few minures and a couple of fouls.

Many of us have concluded that the coach sat him because of the fouls. But probably the coach sat him becfause he wasn't contributing enough to be on the floor. Harrison's problems have always gone beyond fouling. He's not that good. ;)


So when someone says let Hibbert foul out, he is wishing that Hibbert will enjoy the coach's confidence and will be contributing enough to deserve the minutes it takes him to foul out.

Putnam
10-02-2008, 02:53 PM
Darryl Dawkins accumulated 386 fouls in the 83-84 season, or 4.76 fouls per game. He played 30 minutes and averaged nearly 17 points and 7 rebounds per game that season.

He stayed on the floor despite the fouls, something Harrison could never do.


http://www.ultimatenba.com/playerfile/nba/DarrylDawkins-776.html

ChicagoJ
10-02-2008, 05:42 PM
The referees and rule book dictate that you foul out upon achieving your sixth foul. Coaches can dictate that a player "fouls out" upon achieving his second, third, fourth, or fifth fouls if they pull the player from the game and never put them back in.

Maybe Harrison isn't a good example, but the premise is that you have to let big men play through their foul difficulties because the only way the learn to play without fouling is to play. You can't learn this in practice, or studying film. It must be on the court, in game situations with real NBA referees.

Roaming Gnome
10-02-2008, 05:48 PM
Eventhough Harrison was an idiot with managment of his attitude, I always hated the days when it was just foul trouble and not attitude that would lead him to the bench to stay.

Harrison isn't a good example, because he couldn't manage his temper.

Peck
10-02-2008, 05:57 PM
If you want a better example I give you Rik Smits.

Rik would routinely foul out of games with 5 fouls and on occasion even 4. This was during the Bird era, hence the Carlisle era as well.

JayRedd
10-02-2008, 07:33 PM
Harrison isn't a good example, because he couldn't manage his temper.

The whole "not being any good" thing can't help the case either.

Regardless, thanks for the enlightenment, Putty and The Fake Jay.