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Anthem
06-25-2010, 12:52 PM
Obie's comments about liking smallball seem to have brought the issue to the fore again, but the odd thing about reading forum commentary is that we don't really even have agreement on what "smallball" is, when it could be useful, and when it could be harmful. This seemed like a good place to discuss it.

By far, my favorite lineup last season was Roy/McBob/Granger/Rush/Price. That was our most "traditional" lineup but also (although I haven't done the stat-grinding to verify this) seemed to be one of our more productive. We also had a lot of success, though, with Hibbert/Granger/D.Jones/Rush/Watson. That's a smallball lineup, right? Granger playing at PF? We also had a lot (not a lot of success, just a lot) of TJ/Watson backcourts or Murph at center. Those are definitely smallball lineups, and not the kind that we like.

So here's my thoughts.

I absolutely hated watching the Pacers play two point guards at the same time. It might be different if we had better guards, but we're scouring the earth looking for a legit starting guard. You know what's worse than playing a backup-level PG as a starting PG? Playing two backup-level PGs as your PG and SG. Hopefully, this season we won't have a problem here because we currently have only two PGs at all. Short version: if the Pacers playing "smallball" is playing two point guards, then I'm against it.

Next up: Murphleavy. Look, these guys have been piled on enough. It's not my goal to keep kicking 'em when they're down. But Murphy should never, under any circumstances, play center. It's just really really bad. And Dunleavy should never, under any circumstances, play PF. He's a slow, tall shooting guard. He doesn't have any "power" or "forward" in his game. If playing smallball means playing either Murphy at 5 or Dunleavy at 4, then I'm against it. Heck, I wouldn't cry if we traded them both with a future first for cap room, just to get them out of Obie's clutches. For the record, I'm also against playing D.Jones at the 4, but that's so insane that it shouldn't even need to be discussed.

Last up: Danny. Here's where it gets interesting. I don't want Danny to play against starting 4s on a regular basis... I think he'll take too much of a beating and it will hurt his game in the long term. On a situational basis, though, I'm completely content with sticking him there for a dozen minutes a game if he has a good big man at the rim and we're playing 3 wings instead of 2 wings 2 points. Our PG-3wing-C rotations from last year were fun to watch and felt reasonably productive. If that's smallball, I'm ok with seeing some of it every game.

Thoughts?

ChicagoJ
06-25-2010, 01:01 PM
I wouldn't really call playing a SF at PF to be "smallball". Certainly not if there is a true C and only two true Gs on the court. So I wouldn't call Hibbert/ Granger/ Jones/ Rush/ Watson "smallball".

PG, three wings and a post isn't small-ball, its a four-out. Usually, one of the wings is designated to the "baseline" in the four-out.

To me, small-ball is three guards and two forwards (and the two forwards are primarily rebounders and not really part of the offense). Run-TMC-style.

And Run-TMC small ball can work, but its better as a change of pace than the primary gameplan. And it can really be exposed if the other team has a legit interior presence (on either end of the court.) Relaxing the zone defense rules only go so far to help the smallball team defensively.

The four-out can work, but I wouldn't call it small ball. I think its possible that a four-out of TBD/ Rush/ Granger/ George/ Hibbert could be a good lineup, in a couple of seaons when George is ready to hit his potential.

graphic-er
06-25-2010, 01:02 PM
I woudl agree, I think Danny needs to establish a some post game, and playing him at the 4 would help that.

RWB
06-25-2010, 01:05 PM
I woudl agree, I think Danny needs to establish a some post game, and playing him at the 4 would help that.

Have to disagree. Danny physically gets beat up and becomes half the player he can be.

Unclebuck
06-25-2010, 01:06 PM
I just reject the notion that seems to be popular around here.

Small ball = bad


Often times it is simple as that. Small ball bad. I reject that notion and would rather move to the next step in the analysis and look at the actual lineup without regard to the label of small ball.

In general going small or smaller should help your offense but will sometimes hurt your defense and probably your rebounding.

Trophy
06-25-2010, 01:07 PM
At the start off the season, I think we're going to bring Paul and Lance of the bench and see what happens from there.

Magic P
06-25-2010, 01:07 PM
There is nothing wrong with small ball if you have a PG who can penetrate the defense.

ChicagoJ
06-25-2010, 01:08 PM
Agree with RWB completely.

In a four-out, neither forward is a post player. Hibbert is the post player and its a single-post.

If the other team counters with a big guy and Danny/ George can't expose their lack of footspeed on offense, then you've got to counter with a conventional SF/PF/C frontcourt.

ChicagoJ
06-25-2010, 01:10 PM
At the start off the season, I think we're going to bring Paul and Lance of the bench and see what happens from there.

Assuming Lance actually makes the team and that Paul isn't still 2-3 years away from being ready, of course.

This draft doesn't necessarily really help next year's team, we picked for "upside potential" not NBA-ready. And that's why everyone is so excited. Don't set yourself up with unreasonable expectations that this draft pays dividends next season.

Anthem
06-25-2010, 01:10 PM
I just reject the notion that seems to be popular around here.

Small ball = bad

Often times it is simple as that. Small ball bad. I reject that notion and would rather move to the next step in the analysis and look at the actual lineup without regard to the label of small ball.
I bet you a million dollars you didn't actually read my post, and just wrote that based on the title of the thread.

PaceBalls
06-25-2010, 01:12 PM
Small ball isn't bad. But using Murphy at C and Dunleavy or DJones at the 4 is. Especially with Roy Hibbert sitting on the bench.

I would not mind a proper line up for small ball. But slow bad defensive guys playing C and PF is not the way to do it.

Anthem
06-25-2010, 01:13 PM
I wouldn't really call playing a SF at PF to be "smallball". Certainly not if there is a true C and only two true Gs on the court. So I wouldn't call Hibbert/ Granger/ Jones/ Rush/ Watson "smallball".
A fair point. But several people (including Obie) seem to regard Granger-as-PF to be a "smallball" lineup. I started this thread to hammer out the semantics so we know we're all talking about the same thing.

graphic-er
06-25-2010, 01:17 PM
Have to disagree. Danny physically gets beat up and becomes half the player he can be.

Chris Bosh says otherwise, Danny has abused him for the last 2 years now.

I'm not saying he needs to be THE guy in the post, but sometimes its very easy to make Granger a one Dimensional jump shooter. So when the defense is keying in on him and forcing bad shots, it would nice to see him post up a couple of times and break that defensive scheme.

Unclebuck
06-25-2010, 01:23 PM
I bet you a million dollars you didn't actually read my post, and just wrote that based on the title of the thread.

I'll take a personal check, or will you need to make payments. Yes I read your post. I apologize if my comments didn't really address your post. I'll admit they didn't.

My favorite lineup last season maybe played for about 10 minutes total the whole season

Foster
Hansbrough
Granger
D. Jones
Watson

I loved that lineup - although in fairness any lineup with Jeff and Tyler in it would be my favorite. I consider that to be a rather traditional lineup as far as big vs small.

To address your highlighted portions.

I don't mind two point guards, just depends on who the point guards are. Pacers lack good ballhandlers because that is what Danny and Brandon struggle with most. So I can see the need to play two point guards at times. Atlhough our point guards are average at best, so no reason to play two together when that is our weakest position. but if we had two good point guards, then I have no problem playing them together

I don't like Murphy at 5 either but then I don't like him at any position, but IMO injuries to Tyler and jeff changed things. Dunleavy playing the 4 was not good, but then again our bigs (without Jeff and Tyler) are so bad, I can understand.

The strength of our team is the wing position, so it makes sense to use them as much as possible

Ozwalt72
06-25-2010, 01:41 PM
Atlhough our point guards are average at best, so no reason to play two together when that is our weakest position.

I don't like Murphy at 5 either but then I don't like him at any position, but IMO injuries to Tyler and jeff changed things.

The strength of our team is the wing position, so it makes sense to use them as much as possible

This, this, and this.

Murphy can't play center. He can barely play forward. He sure as hell can't defend it. In the right situation he'd be a nice piece...but not here. Anyway...

I hope Hans is healthy and Foster can give us a productive 10-15 minutes off the bench (hoping other players step up).

Also ChicagoJ, thanks for explaining the difference between small ball and a four-out.

Unclebuck
06-25-2010, 01:46 PM
Murphy can't play center. He can barely play forward. He sure as hell can't defend it. In the right situation he'd be a nice piece...but not here. Anyway...



I agree completely, although there are times when I can see some value in playing Murph at center, when he is guarded by a big center who cannot guard the pick and roll Murphy can get wide open shots and can pull the defending center away from the basket to open up driving lanes. There is some real value in doing this at times. Defenasively if you play a double teaming scrambling style it might make sense to play Murph at center. Not s long term solution, but it can be effective. And it makes some sense

Deadshot
06-25-2010, 01:51 PM
Chris Bosh says otherwise, Danny has abused him for the last 2 years now.

I'm not saying he needs to be THE guy in the post, but sometimes its very easy to make Granger a one Dimensional jump shooter. So when the defense is keying in on him and forcing bad shots, it would nice to see him post up a couple of times and break that defensive scheme.

Bosh was the exact exception that I was thinking of, but I think this would fall under the situational category mentioned by the original post. Bosh seems to make a different player out of Danny at times. But there is no reason for us to place Danny in that kind of a situation every game. Just as Anthem mentioned, he would get beat up over time.

will567
06-25-2010, 02:01 PM
To JOB small ball is a guard and 3 wings with Murphy or 2 guards and 3 wings. Small ball is spread the court with all the players out on the perimeter 3 point shot focused offense. I find it hard to watch and from attendance I am not alone. I just see a repeat of last year coming! I do not remember who has this but I love it! "Pacers Apathy catch it!" I think that is what we had before the draft and yesterday changed nothing. I do not see any changes coming if you are not willing to part with Rush or McRoberts. This is the worst year for expiring contracts as trade chips because all the action is this year. It gets worse if Mello signs an extension with Denver.

BobbyMac
06-25-2010, 02:09 PM
I really feel that Murphy gets abused on this board much more than on the floor. The NBA is changing from the "old" comcept of 1 guard, 2 wing players and 2 post players to an older concept of 2 guards (both are responsible for passing and scoring) 2 forwards (both can shoot and either can post up when it's an advantage) and a center (sometimes this is really just a Power Forward who can move out and open the lane for drives). Within this concept Granger can play either forward position. I really feel that "smallball" is playing 3 guards and 2 forwards. This can be effective for short periods of time. While I get a little tired of JOB's constant references to it, there are times when it's the best thing for us. Last year, when we had both Foster and Tyler out and Roy in foul trouble it was the best we could put on the floor.

One more thing, I agree that I don't like the idea of Watson and Ford on the floor at the same time.

count55
06-25-2010, 03:28 PM
Over my lifetime, I've seen two general schools of thought on the "positionality" (there, I just made up a word) of the 5 players on the basketball court.

What I was originally taught was that there were 3 positions - Guard (2), Forward (2), and Center (1). This was further evolved to indicate 5 unique positions - Point Guard, Shooting Guard, Small Forward, Power Forward, and Center. This latter one has dominated the conversation for most of the four decades I've been watching basketball.

However, as players got bigger, stronger, more versatile, and more skilled, a third school of thought has emerged. This one returns to the more traditional 3 unique positions, but with a twist. Instead of the traditional G-F-C structure, it has become a hybrid. The three distinct positions here are: Point Guard (1), Wings (2), and Bigs (2).

Jim O'Brien (largely) views the 5-man unit in terms of this third structure, and that's important when trying to establish what he means when he talks about a small lineup. I am almost 100% sure that when Jim O'Brien refers to a "small lineup" or "small ball," he is specifically talking about a lineup that has only 1 Big.

Whether that lineup has 1 Point Guard and 3 Wings or 2 Point Guards and 2 Wings is really dependent on the roster.

Using O'Brien's definition, the Pacers played about 39% of the minutes with a "small" line up in 2010. This was up significantly from 2009, when about a small line up was used about 23% of the time. This makes sense from a roster perspective. In 2009, Foster was available for pretty much the full year, and Nesterovic got steady minutes early in the year. This season, both Foster and Hansbrough were hurt, reducing the number of available bigs.

There's little question in my mind that O'Brien is talking about playing more one-big lineup. Last season of the Smallball lineups, Hibbert got about 44% of the minutes at Center, while Murph got about 37%.

My guess is that O'Brien probably sees Granger-George-Rush as a 3-Wing unit that he can play. Of course, if we have to use Rush to get a PG, then that confuses the issue somewhat. Stephenson doesn't seem to be a candidate for a lot of burn early, but who knows?

Regarding the 2PG thing, that activity dropped either significantly or precipitously, depending on how you want to treat Luther Head. (IMO, Head is definitely an undersized Wing, and you either play him at Wing or not at all.)

In any case, in 2009, the Pacers played over 1,700 minutes (43% of the minutes) with 2 "Point Guards." In all but 43 of those 1,700 minutes, Jack was playing the 2. During that time on the court, the Offense improved by 2.76 points per 100 possessions, while the Defense got worse by 1.65 points per 100, for a net improvement of 1.11 points per 100.

In 2009, Jarrett Jack was probably the second best player on the team, and Ford, while frustrating, was still relatively effective. Looking at a roster with an inconsistent Rush, an injury prone Daniels and a journeyman Stephen Graham, it's far from unorthodox that Jack and Ford saw extended playing time together. In the 1,300 minutes the two of them were on the floor together, the offense improved by 0.83/100, while the defense declined by 0.09/100, for a net improvement of 0.72/100.

In 2010, however, the Pacers only played a "2-Point Guard" lineup for 461 minutes, or about 12% of the time. This was due to the loss of Jack and the almost total collapse of Ford. Oddly, during this time, the offense improved by 0.82/100, the defense improved by 1.09/100, for a net improvement of 1.91/100. However, the fact that the minutes here are a much smaller sample exposes these results much more to situational factors.

If you want to include the lineups with Head at the 2 as "2 PG's," then that adds another 805 minutes, and still represents about a 27% decrease. (Also, the 1,266 minutes here showed a net improvement of 4.2/100 over the "more traditional" backcourt lineups).

In any case, given that we really don't have any functional PG's on the roster at the moment, I don't see there being a huge risk in seeing a lot of 2 PG lineups next year.

graphic-er
06-25-2010, 03:37 PM
If Jimmy wants to play small ball, then we should have picked up Vasquez from Memphis.

Speed
06-25-2010, 03:38 PM
Is Vasquez, yesthecabbageis 2.0? I'm asking, I haven't seen anything other than highlights.

ChicagoJ
06-25-2010, 03:41 PM
I didn't really editorialize earlier.

I really like the four-out because it gives better spacing on offense than a double-post offense does.

But few teams actually try to play a double-post offense. Usually either the PF or the C is a defensive/ rebounding anchor and not really part of the offense. Probably because the spacing doesn't work.

The risk of a four-out style lineup is at the other end of the court. If you can't force them to match up to your lineup, most NBA coaches not named O'Brien would exploit the smaller four-out front court for high percentage interior scoring.

That is where a front court of Gragner - George - Hibbert could get in trouble.

One could even go so far to say that a lineup of Watson/ Rush/ Granger/ Murphy/ Hibbert was playing a four-out. That's still not a "small" lineup it just plays like one.

Converserly,

A linup of TBD/ George/ Granger/ Tyler??/ Hibbert would have problems defensively too, against either a double-post (who's going to defend the other team's quickest wing player) or a four-out (same concern on the wing, along with having Tyler chase around a forward on the perimeter.) And they would potentially have spacing problems on offense.

Most of the time, I'm not a fan of playing two PGs together in a small-ball configuration. Not really about spacing but there won't be enough "touches" and ball movement.

If I'm playing three guards at once, I'd prefer either one PG and two SGs or a PG, SG, and a combo guard who is comfortable playing off the ball. The last guard the Pacers have had that fits that is probably Travis. At least I was more comfortable with Travis playing off the ball than when Travis would stand at the time line and dribble dribble dribble dribble dribble dribble dribble dribble dribble dribble dribble then finally drive toward the basket and get his layup swatted away.

Lastly, and especially note, just because O'Brien plays a lot of four-out does not mean that the four-out is primarily a launch-a-bazillion-three's offense. It should still be run inside out if the coach is mentally healthy. Remember, the primary advantages of the four-out is (a) giving the single post player more room to operate (and making the double-team come from farther away, opening wider seams if the ball is reversed), and (b) giving the wings more room to drive to the hoop.

flox
06-25-2010, 03:51 PM
Ford/Stephenson/Granger/George/Foster.

New small ball lineup, tons of scoring involved.

How do you not like this lineup?

ChicagoJ
06-25-2010, 03:55 PM
However, as players got bigger, stronger, more versatile, and more skilled, a third school of thought has emerged. This one returns two the more traditional 3 unique positions, but with a twist. Instead of the traditional G-F-C structure, it has become a hybrid. The three distinct positions here are: Point Guard (1), Wings (2), and Bigs (2).

Jim O'Brien (largely) views the 5-man unit in terms of this third structure, and that's important when trying to establish what he means when he talks about a small lineup.

I agree with the first paragraph entirely. The second paragraph, not so much. Larry Brown runs that third structure. Remember his demands for a 12-player roster were 3 PGs, 4 wings, and five post players. That's not what Jim wants/ does. Even with Murphy...


I am almost 100% sure that when Jim O'Brien refers to a "small lineup" or "small ball," he is specifically talking about a lineup that has only 1 Big.

Effectively (...can I do that? I've tried to make "impact" work and it just doesn't.), he treats Murphy like a wing, not a post player, so I think Jim is just sorta saying some hoops jargon in a sentence with other nouns and verbs, but not really making any sense to anybody but himself. Because he does that already.

ChicagoJ
06-25-2010, 03:57 PM
Ford/Stephenson/Granger/George/Foster.

New small ball lineup, tons of scoring involved.

How do you not like this lineup?

Well... first there's Ford.

Second, it will be a while until Stephenson and George are ready to play in the NBA. They're drafted for upside, not NBA-readiness, remember? So Foster will be in his fifties by the time they're ready to play.

flox
06-25-2010, 04:19 PM
Well... first there's Ford.

Second, it will be a while until Stephenson and George are ready to play in the NBA. They're drafted for upside, not NBA-readiness, remember? So Foster will be in his fifties by the time they're ready to play.

I suppose, but we currently don't have another point guard on the team, so it has to be ford. I don't trust anyone else to share the ball.

While I agree that Stephenson and George are not ready I think that lineup gives us the best offense and defense- five players who can both defend and score at their positions. I would not be surprised to see that lineup being used with success for the Pacers.

Kegboy
06-25-2010, 04:51 PM
J's covered all the bases. I would just say my feeling is having a true center on the court negates it being "small ball". To me, small ball generically means you've taken out a/the post and moved everybody up a slot. Specifically, when I hear small ball, I think you've replaced the post with a second point guard in an effort to run and gun, paint play be damned.

Then, there was Carlisle inventing super-small ball, where he trumped NY's small ball with "Eddie Gill, Small Forward", and loving it so much he played it at least two more times. :banghead:

Back to our current situation, I don't mind Danny playing the 4 in certain situations, but as others have pointed out, it's not good for him physically.

Anthem
06-25-2010, 05:03 PM
Great thread.

Count / J, thanks especially for your contributions.

Anthem
06-25-2010, 05:05 PM
My favorite lineup last season maybe played for about 10 minutes total the whole season

Foster
Hansbrough
Granger
D. Jones
Watson
Yeah, I liked the Foster/Hans frontcourt as well. They were very effective.

ChicagoJ
06-25-2010, 05:15 PM
I suppose, but we currently don't have another point guard on the team, so it has to be ford. I don't trust anyone else to share the ball.

While I agree that Stephenson and George are not ready I think that lineup gives us the best offense and defense- five players who can both defend and score at their positions. I would not be surprised to see that lineup being used with success for the Pacers.

I'm certainly willing to consider that a Stephenson/ Granger/ George combination at the wings/ baseline could be a formidable offense at some point in time. It will be interesting to see if that's a good defensive lineup. No reason it can't be unless they don't commit to being good at it.

I don't see Stephenson supplanting Rush, though. He may be more aggressive, but if he's not going to be the #1 option then he may be better suited to the bench. The bench needs scorers, too.

Putnam
06-25-2010, 08:10 PM
Over my lifetime, I've seen two general schools of thought on the "positionality" (there, I just made up a word) of the 5 players on the basketball court.

What I was originally taught was that there were 3 positions - Guard (2), Forward (2), and Center (1). This was further evolved to indicate 5 unique positions - Point Guard, Shooting Guard, Small Forward, Power Forward, and Center. This latter one has dominated the conversation for most of the four decades I've been watching basketball.

However, as players got bigger, stronger, more versatile, and more skilled, a third school of thought has emerged. This one returns two the more traditional 3 unique positions, but with a twist. Instead of the traditional G-F-C structure, it has become a hybrid. The three distinct positions here are: Point Guard (1), Wings (2), and Bigs (2).

Jim O'Brien (largely) views the 5-man unit in terms of this third structure, and that's important when trying to establish what he means when he talks about a small lineup. I am almost 100% sure that when Jim O'Brien refers to a "small lineup" or "small ball," he is specifically talking about a lineup that has only 1 Big.

Whether that lineup has 1 Point Guard and 3 Wings or 2 Point Guards and 2 Wings is really dependent on the roster.

Using O'Brien's definition, the Pacers played about 39% of the minutes with a "small" line up in 2010. This was up significantly from 2009, when about a small line up was used about 23% of the time. This makes sense from a roster perspective. In 2009, Foster was available for pretty much the full year, and Nesterovic got steady minutes early in the year. This season, both Foster and Hansbrough were hurt, reducing the number of available bigs.

There's little question in my mind that O'Brien is talking about playing more one-big lineup. Last season of the Smallball lineups, Hibbert got about 44% of the minutes at Center, while Murph got about 37%.

My guess is that O'Brien probably sees Granger-George-Rush as a 3-Wing unit that he can play. Of course, if we have to use Rush to get a PG, then that confuses the issue somewhat. Stephenson doesn't seem to be a candidate for a lot of burn early, but who knows?

Regarding the 2PG thing, that activity dropped either significantly or precipitously, depending on how you want to treat Luther Head. (IMO, Head is definitely an undersized Wing, and you either play him at Wing or not at all.)

In any case, in 2009, the Pacers played over 1,700 minutes (43% of the minutes) with 2 "Point Guards." In all but 43 of those 1,700 minutes, Jack was playing the 2. During that time on the court, the Offense improved by 2.76 points per 100 possessions, while the Defense got worse by 1.65 points per 100, for a net improvement of 1.11 points per 100.

In 2009, Jarrett Jack was probably the second best player on the team, and Ford, while frustrating, was still relatively effective. Looking at a roster with an inconsistent Rush, an injury prone Daniels and a journeyman Stephen Graham, it's far from unorthodox that Jack and Ford saw extended playing time together. In the 1,300 minutes the two of them were on the floor together, the offense improved by 0.83/100, while the defense declined by 0.09/100, for a net improvement of 0.72/100.

In 2010, however, the Pacers only played a "2-Point Guard" lineup for 461 minutes, or about 12% of the time. This was due to the loss of Jack and the almost total collapse of Ford. Oddly, during this time, the offense improved by 0.82/100, the defense improved by 1.09/100, for a net improvement of 1.91/100. However, the fact that the minutes here are a much smaller sample exposes these results much more to situational factors.

If you want to include the lineups with Head at the 2 as "2 PG's," then that adds another 805 minutes, and still represents about a 27% decrease. (Also, the 1,266 minutes here showed a net improvement of 4.2/100 over the "more traditional" backcourt lineups).

In any case, given that we really don't have any functional PG's on the roster at the moment, I don't see there being a huge risk in seeing a lot of 2 PG lineups next year.


The first three paragraphs of this post are just like something that imawhat and I were discussing by private message. In addition to the three team configurations Count55 mentions, there are also odd terms for individuals players like "combo guard," "stretch forward" and "point forward."

Those terms can aid our understanding or hamper it. It is good for us to try and understand what O'Brien means by going small. It is clear from this post that going small has meant two different things in two different seasons.

In this coming season, it could mean some third thing, so we can't know what to think about it until we see it.

And it is waaaay too early for us to start thinking TJ Ford is the only option at point guard.

July. August. September. October.

BlueNGold
06-25-2010, 08:38 PM
What is the goal with playing small ball? I agree there is some evidence that shows the Pacers are a more effective team going small...but I question whether that's related to the coaching, strategy and style of play employed.

Does anyone here think you can build a contender with it?...or is it simply to have a bit more regular season success?...leading to worse draft picks.

I'm trying to recall a team that contended AND did so with small ball. Not LA and Boston this year. Not LA last year. Not Boston the previous. San Antonio...no. Detroit...no. The powers in the west seem to be getting bigger teams. Maybe the Hawks?

Eleazar
06-25-2010, 09:00 PM
First I need to say is that there are two different types of small ball, one is based on size and the other is based on style. Typically when Murphy is playing this team is playing a small ball style, even though size wise it would seem like they weren't.

Small ball has its purposes, but it isn't a style that will win you championships, never has been never will be. If you want to win a championship you want to have one of two kinds of line-ups:

1PG, 2 Wings, 1 mid-post, and 1 low-post
(mid-post = a versatile post player who spends most of his time in the post, but can be effective out on the wing i.e. Kevin Garnett)
or

1 PG, 2 Wings, and 1 low-posts

While right now what we play is:

1PG, 3 Wings, and 1 low-post
(Murphy is a Wing)

This kind of line-up is a great change of pace line-up, and you can even win 50+ games and do fairly well in the playoffs with. The problem though is that you need players who are more talented and physical so they can make up for not having two post players if you want this to be your main form of line-up, even then it is highly unlikely you will even get to sniff a championship.

pacergod2
06-25-2010, 09:21 PM
Thanks BNG.

My point was going to be the teams winning the championships every year have formidable centers and PFs. Perkins and Garnett, Gasol and Bynum (Odom too), Nene and Martin last year were close, Rasheed and Big Ben for the Pistons, Heat had Shaq ZO and Udonis. I just dont get this trend toward going small. It isn't true, we just see a lot of coaches realize they don't have the ability to compete with those teams in the front court and their only option to have some sort of an advantage at one end of the court or another is by making the game "quicker".

Troy is clearly one of our better players and his advantage is stretching the floor offensively and driving the ball into the lane. He utilizes his shooting ability to bring the other big outside. That is his matchup advantage. He unfortunately doesn't match up well defensively in any situation. So he must outscore the other bigs, with less efficient shots. That is not a winning strategy in the NBA. Even with Three Pointers counting for three whole points!!!

When the game is on the line, the game's tempo tends to slow down. It requires toughness and defense and maybe most important, controlling the rebounding advantage over the other team. This type of game is really not that conducive to our roster unfortunately.

The Pacers would be best served not playing Troy Murphy another game in our uniform. I really really really like his game and what he brings to the table for a contender as a third option. He is too good to play for us, because we can't have 35 minutes a game out of his skill set. It just won't work. I feel the same way about Ford and Dunleavy. Good facilitators offensively, but terrible defensively. These players are all overpaid role players whose games are conducive to being effective scorers on the second unit when you are looking to increase the tempo of the game with energy quickness and scoring ability.

I would be wholly in agreement with the coaching staff if they relegated those players to the second unit and played our rookies starter minutes. That is the direction of our franchise, please give in to that admission this year. We won't trade all of them, so use them the way they should be used... on the second unit.

pacergod2
06-25-2010, 09:23 PM
Oh and after that long-winded post I have more to say:

Our small ball lineup usually included us giving up height at every single position. We got KILLED on the boards with those lineups, IMO.

IndyPacer
06-25-2010, 09:45 PM
I just reject the notion that seems to be popular around here.

Small ball = bad


Often times it is simple as that. Small ball bad. I reject that notion and would rather move to the next step in the analysis and look at the actual lineup without regard to the label of small ball.

In general going small or smaller should help your offense but will sometimes hurt your defense and probably your rebounding.

Is "small ball" by definition inherently bad? No. Is "small ball" an atrociously bad fit for a team when its second best player is a relatively slow footed and heavy 7'2" center who has a chance to develop into one of the best pure centers currently playing basketball? That's a definite YES.

Your strategy needs to match the players you have, and no one is going to be a title contender playing JOB's style of forcing player to play out of position and in a manner that emphasizes their weaknesses rather than their strengths.

McKeyFan
06-25-2010, 09:49 PM
Ford/Stephenson/Granger/George/Foster.

New small ball lineup, tons of scoring involved.

How do you not like this lineup?

I don't like it, because only one guy will have the ball most of the time.

Hands Malone
06-25-2010, 09:55 PM
Thanks BNG.

My point was going to be the teams winning the championships every year have formidable centers and PFs. Perkins and Garnett, Gasol and Bynum (Odom too), Nene and Martin last year were close, Rasheed and Big Ben for the Pistons, Heat had Shaq ZO and Udonis. I just dont get this trend toward going small. It isn't true, we just see a lot of coaches realize they don't have the ability to compete with those teams in the front court and their only option to have some sort of an advantage at one end of the court or another is by making the game "quicker".

Troy is clearly one of our better players and his advantage is stretching the floor offensively and driving the ball into the lane. He utilizes his shooting ability to bring the other big outside. That is his matchup advantage. He unfortunately doesn't match up well defensively in any situation. So he must outscore the other bigs, with less efficient shots. That is not a winning strategy in the NBA. Even with Three Pointers counting for three whole points!!!

When the game is on the line, the game's tempo tends to slow down. It requires toughness and defense and maybe most important, controlling the rebounding advantage over the other team. This type of game is really not that conducive to our roster unfortunately.

The Pacers would be best served not playing Troy Murphy another game in our uniform. I really really really like his game and what he brings to the table for a contender as a third option. He is too good to play for us, because we can't have 35 minutes a game out of his skill set. It just won't work. I feel the same way about Ford and Dunleavy. Good facilitators offensively, but terrible defensively. These players are all overpaid role players whose games are conducive to being effective scorers on the second unit when you are looking to increase the tempo of the game with energy quickness and scoring ability.

I would be wholly in agreement with the coaching staff if they relegated those players to the second unit and played our rookies starter minutes. That is the direction of our franchise, please give in to that admission this year. We won't trade all of them, so use them the way they should be used... on the second unit.

You are the smartest person I have ever encountered

Hands Malone
06-25-2010, 09:58 PM
Is "small ball" by definition inherently bad? No. Is "small ball" an atrociously bad fit for a team when its second best player is a relatively slow footed and heavy 7'2" center who has a chance to develop into one of the best pure centers currently playing basketball? That's a definite YES.

Your strategy needs to match the players you have, and no one is going to be a title contender playing JOB's style of forcing player to play out of position and in a manner that emphasizes their weaknesses rather than their strengths.

You're dead on. Every year with JOB is a wasted year. These players can't win playing his style...very few, if any, can.

DGPR
06-25-2010, 10:12 PM
Assuming Lance actually makes the team and that Paul isn't still 2-3 years away from being ready, of course.

This draft doesn't necessarily really help next year's team, we picked for "upside potential" not NBA-ready. And that's why everyone is so excited. Don't set yourself up with unreasonable expectations that this draft pays dividends next season.


If Paul has a similar rookie season to Danny's rookie season, I think that's something to hang your hat on.

D-BONE
06-25-2010, 11:31 PM
So here's my thoughts.


playing smallball means playing either Murphy at 5 or Dunleavy at 4, then I'm against it.



If playing "smallball" means neither one in the starting lineup, I'm all for it.

D-BONE
06-25-2010, 11:35 PM
A fair point. But several people (including Obie) seem to regard Granger-as-PF to be a "smallball" lineup. I started this thread to hammer out the semantics so we know we're all talking about the same thing.

Granger at 4 alone cannot be said to equate to smallball. Guy his first year or so that he had some legit PF skillls-rebounding and shotblocking-before we decided he had to be Reggie's replacement in the 3 pt bomber niche.

Day-V
06-25-2010, 11:38 PM
I'm sure it does work in certain instances, but after seeing teams like San Antonio, Los Angeles, and Boston with heavy post presences win the past few titles, I just am not a fan of anything that doesn't involve having big and tall guys down low doing the dirty work.

I guess I fall in that category where I believe that on any given night a team or player can go cold from the floor shooting-wise, but that you can rely on defense, rebounding, and hustle on a nightly basis.

PacerGuy
06-25-2010, 11:45 PM
Over my lifetime, I've seen two general schools of thought on the "positionality" (there, I just made up a word) of the 5 players on the basketball court...... (pure wisdom) .....In any case, given that we really don't have any functional PG's on the roster at the moment, I don't see there being a huge risk in seeing a lot of 2 PG lineups next year.

Dear count,

Best post Ever!!!
Thanks for restoring comon sense & rational thinking.
Every mod needs a same man w/ a tourch of truth to keep then in line.
The anti-JO'B pandemis has taken the mind of many, but not you.
"THANKS".

(My only regret from reading this is that I can only "Thanks" you once!)

PG

Peck
06-25-2010, 11:55 PM
Like any gimmick it has it's place.

However when I think of small ball I think lean, athletic, faster, stronger and jumps higher.

Miami absolutely beat us to death with what you would have to almost consider small ball.

Small ball to me does not mean just shorter players who shoot three's.

I can see and have no real qualms with using a lineup that consists of Danny, George, Rush, McBob and a p.g. or even Jeff or Tyler in McBob's spot for periods of time in a game.

But not starting and not every game and not for the majority of the game.

What O'Brien will do is use a lineup like this once and then it will have some success because the other team will be caught off guard (now mind you this is usually a mid level or bottom feeder team) and then he will fall in love with it and will then procede to either start this lineup or over use it for the next 10-15 games till we are on a massive losing streak and he has to change up.

Troy Murphy, as sick as this is to say, should never play as part of the small unit. He should always be part of a bigger lineup because as J pointed out JOB does not use him as the big when he is on the floor and frankly he can't play the big when he is on the floor.

Also not to mention that you have Roy Hibbert on our team who is two things.

1. An absolute fan favorite. He got the loudest ovation of the night (not even close) compared to other players who were there.

2. While he is not an elite center he certainly is close to the top in the second tier and he only shows signs of getting better.

So why in the name of God would you bench a player like that?

Ok I have to stop posting now, I'm sitting here and it is making me think about next season and O'Brien's coaching and it is taking away any good feeling I have after this draft.

Anthem
06-26-2010, 07:24 AM
If playing "smallball" means neither one in the rotation, I'm all for it.
Fixed.

OakMoses
06-26-2010, 09:01 AM
The one thing that becomes apparent quickly after reading this thread is that, even with the fantastic posts by Count55 and ChicagoJ, we still have no operational definition of small-ball. This essentially means that we can't have a real discussion because we're not discussing the same thing. It's like I'm telling you how sweet oranges are while you're eating a carrot.

Here are a couple of things I've gleaned from the thread:

1. We don't like playing two PG's or two short guards. As Count notes, this really didn't happen too much last season. The complaint is mainly a hangover from 2 years ago. It happened last year, but not as much as the plaintiffs would have you believe. The good thing is that with 5 SG possibilities (all 6'5" or above) currently on the roster, this probably won't happen much at all next season.

2. Perimeter-oriented bigs should never be the only big on the floor. I struggled to write this rule because I wanted it to be universal and not apply specifically any one player: [cough] Troy Murphy [cough]. The point, however, is valid. A 4-out with a perimeter big is essentially a 5-out, which is a bad idea in the NBA.

3. The 2 and 4 positions are not interchangeable, even in a 4-out. Essentially this means that your 4 needs to be a reasonable approximation of a "traditional" 4 either in height or strength, but preferably in both. Dunleavy is tall enough to play 4, but he's weak. Dahntay is strong enough, but he's too short. Rush is neither tall, nor strong enough. Stephenson? Too short. Paul George? Maybe, but we don't know yet. Granger is the only one who seems to fit the bill.

These are the three rules of defining small-ball that I've noticed so far in this thread.

Player-specific issues:

Roy Hibbert: There seems to be an idea that Hibbert does not fit well in a 4-out offense. I don't know about this. Offensively, it seems like an excellent match. The 4-out gives him the entire paint to work in and plenty of possible cutter and kick out options if a double team comes. The only problem comes in transition. Roy's not going to be able to run with a Rush-George-Granger trio. The only real problem I see is on the defensive glass. Roy is not a great rebounder. Neither is Granger. This means you really have to rely on rebounding from the other 3 positions.

Danny Granger: Many people seem to think that playing Danny at 4 is going to somehow where him down like playing JO at C did. I don't know if this is true or not. If you look at the Eastern conference last season, only Boston, Cleveland, Washington, and Toronto (maybe) started lineups with 2 players who are notably bigger and stronger than Danny. (Yes, this does mean that 11+ teams started at least one player noticeably quicker and more athletic than Troy and Roy at the 4-5 spot.) This would seem to fly in the face of the out-of-position, get worn down argument. As above, my real issue with this is rebounding.

There is no summation to this post. Just trying to clarify some of the issues at play and throw a couple of my own opinions into the discussion.

BlueNGold
06-26-2010, 09:40 AM
Good post Mellifluous. Yes, there are a few flavors of small ball. A team like Miami or Atlanta might have the type of small ball that can make the playoffs and play a few meaningful games.

In Pacer land, I think we still have multiple problems. To play effective small ball, you need mobile, long, athletic players who have some degree of toughness. The bottom line is that Roy and Troy are simply not a good fit for that....while Josh Smith and Al Horford are great fits. Even better are players like Amare and Shawn Marion...coupled with Nash. That's why Phoenix was so successful years ago. Yet, of course they never won it all which further confirms that it's a losing strategy long term.

Anthem
06-26-2010, 09:43 AM
Here are a couple of things I've gleaned from the thread:

1. We don't like playing two PG's or two short guards.

2. Perimeter-oriented bigs should never be the only big on the floor.

3. The 2 and 4 positions are not interchangeable, even in a 4-out.
Yes, yes, and yes. Great summary.

McKeyFan
06-26-2010, 10:04 AM
Also not to mention that you have Roy Hibbert on our team who is two things.

1. An absolute fan favorite. He got the loudest ovation of the night (not even close) compared to other players who were there.

2. While he is not an elite center he certainly is close to the top in the second tier and he only shows signs of getting better.



Bingo.

This clash is headed toward a PR disaster. It's already got me depressed as well. I can get really angry about it.

count55
06-26-2010, 10:32 AM
His usual studliness...

I've got more that I want to get into on this, but I think it should be noted that the "Small Lineup" and the "4 Out" are not the same thing. Actually, I'd have to go back and watch to make sure my recollection is right, but I think we really only run the "4 Out" when Roy is on the floor.

Hibbert is really our only post player, unless you think that Hansbrough can figure out some way to stop shooting from his chest.

No one with the sense that God gave a frozen waffle would try to use Murphy as a post player. If you have to play him extended minutes (which I believe the current roster requires), then you have to use him the way O'Brien did in order to get something out of him.

As I said earlier, with Hibbert off the floor, we don't run the 4-out. We tend to run more modified Princeton and a little more PnR.

Anthem
06-26-2010, 10:51 AM
No one with the sense that God gave a frozen waffle
:thumbsup:

tsm612
06-26-2010, 11:22 AM
No one with the sense that God gave a frozen waffle would try to use Murphy as a post player.

Signature worthy?

flox
06-26-2010, 03:16 PM
My point was going to be the teams winning the championships every year have formidable centers and PFs. Perkins and Garnett, Gasol and Bynum (Odom too), Nene and Martin last year were close, Rasheed and Big Ben for the Pistons, Heat had Shaq ZO and Udonis.

Are we just going to selectively quote finals teams? What about Duncan/Oberto where we would see smallball and Mike Finley at the 4? What about Howard/Lewis/Turk as the 5/4 combo? Cleveland with Z and Drew Gooden/Donyell Marshall? The bulls teams with Rodman/Kukoc or Rodman/Luc Longley?


It's not a necessary condition for success.

McKeyFan
06-26-2010, 03:26 PM
No one with the sense that God gave a frozen waffle would try to use Murphy as a post player.

Did you have breakfast with Phil Jackson?

Peck
06-26-2010, 04:15 PM
I've got more that I want to get into on this, but I think it should be noted that the "Small Lineup" and the "4 Out" are not the same thing. Actually, I'd have to go back and watch to make sure my recollection is right, but I think we really only run the "4 Out" when Roy is on the floor.

Hibbert is really our only post player, unless you think that Hansbrough can figure out some way to stop shooting from his chest.
No one with the sense that God gave a frozen waffle would try to use Murphy as a post player. If you have to play him extended minutes (which I believe the current roster requires), then you have to use him the way O'Brien did in order to get something out of him.

As I said earlier, with Hibbert off the floor, we don't run the 4-out. We tend to run more modified Princeton and a little more PnR.

My working assumption here is that you mean that Hibbert is our only low post offensive player, which sadly is pretty much true.

However on defense I wonder how many players we have that can defend the post?

Roy on certain players has shown some ability to impact a defender, when he isn't fouling them of course.

Foster is a good, not great, post defender but you don't usually have to worry about him making mistakes.

I am interested in Tyler's ability to defend the post. He has the strength and up until his balance was an issue he certainly had the leverage. Height is an issue here but as Wes Unseld would tell you, you can do a lot with strength and leverage.

McBob is also interesting. Doesn't have the bulk or stength to defend good post players but he is athletic enough and smart enough to make me think that he might be servicable.

Bball
06-26-2010, 06:21 PM
My working assumption here is that you mean that Hibbert is our only low post offensive player, which sadly is pretty much true.

However on defense I wonder how many players we have that can defend the post?

Silly Peck...

We don't need anyone to defend the post. We just need someone to take the ball out of the net as we bait opposing players into scoring those measly 2 point baskets while we shoot and score 3 pointers. Do the math!

Signed,
Jim O'Brien