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imawhat
03-05-2011, 02:19 PM
Photo/Video Breakdown of Help Defense
By: imawhat

The Pacers have had some tough losses recently and a lot of that is due to our defensive breakdowns throughout a game. We talk a lot about help defense, and the two most crucial plays in our last second loss to the Suns show examples of good and bad help defense, which are illustrated below. There is a photo breakdown of each play, followed by a video of the full play.

Game tying shot in the 4th quarter

Here we see all 5 players watching the ball with Danny sagging into the lane to help should Nash get into the lane.
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j66/imawhat/Move%20to%20LA/DSC_1280.jpg

Nash gets past Price but Foster is able to help due to Gortat's position. Danny is sagging really far off of Hill but is saved by a tough passing angle.
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j66/imawhat/Move%20to%20LA/DSC_1282.jpg

Nash has picked up his dribble around 00:48.6. Danny needs to recover to Hill now. Nash can no longer penetrate and Foster is in good position to help.
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j66/imawhat/Move%20to%20LA/DSC_1283.jpg

Clock is at 00:47.6. Danny is still down low as Nash pivots.
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j66/imawhat/Move%20to%20LA/DSC_1284.jpg

Nash is passing to Hill at 00:47.3. Danny reacts and makes his way to Hill but it's too late.
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j66/imawhat/Move%20to%20LA/DSC_1285.jpg

Hill launches one of the best shots in basketball, the corner three, at 00:46.6, which is two seconds after Nash picked up his dribble. With good help defense, it's possible that the pass never reaches Hill, leaving Nash stranded in the lane in bad position and forcing other players to scramble. Instead, tie ballgame.
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j66/imawhat/Move%20to%20LA/DSC_1286.jpg

Here is the full play:
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Game winning shot

Hill is getting ready to inbound a pass to Nash, who is coming off of a Frye screen. A couple of things to point out about this play..1) the recipient is coming directly towards the ball, which makes this inbounds pass relatively safe and easier than other plays, and 2) the Suns player spacing creates a wide open passing lane for the inbounder with little risk of the pass being intercepted. Compare this to a lot of Pacers inbounds plays in which the players are stacked together.
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j66/imawhat/Move%20to%20LA/DSC_1287.jpg

Nash comes through the screen but Price does a good job of fighting through, causing Nash to curl out to receive the pass.
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j66/imawhat/Move%20to%20LA/DSC_1288.jpg

Ball is inbounded to Nash, but the key play here is made by Jared Dudley. Dudley, who is at the top, is on his way to screen an unsuspecting Josh McRoberts.
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j66/imawhat/Move%20to%20LA/DSC_1289.jpg

Here Dudley is in good position and sets a good screen on McRoberts. Notice how Dudley gets low and wide. He is also perpendicular to the defender.
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j66/imawhat/Move%20to%20LA/DSC_1290.jpg

Brandon Rush makes a good play here to rotate on Frye before he receives the pass.
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j66/imawhat/Move%20to%20LA/DSC_1291.jpg

Rush contests Frye's shot, but Frye is too tall and makes a very tough jumper that ends the game.
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j66/imawhat/Move%20to%20LA/DSC_1292.jpg

We played good defense, but this was a beautiful play by Phoenix that they were able to execute. Here is the full play:
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Mackey_Rose
03-05-2011, 02:25 PM
Wow that was some pitiful defense by Granger on Hill's 3. Just horrendous. He should have been called for defensive three seconds as well.

Frye's 3 was a really well designed play. Well defended, but like you said, Frye just made a tough shot. It's the NBA, that happens.

We needed to stamp them out in regulation when we had the chance. I knew it was over when it got to overtime, we used up too much energy trying to fight back.

BringJackBack
03-05-2011, 02:29 PM
Great stuff.. I love it when you make these..

hoops_guy
03-05-2011, 02:30 PM
It'd be really cool if a breakdown was made about Lance's passing, playmaking, and defense.

pacer4ever
03-05-2011, 02:34 PM
Granger was doing this the whole gane he never adjusted and just stayed with Grant

Trophy
03-05-2011, 02:37 PM
Danny moves around too much on the defensive end.

He kept leaving Grant Hill to move closer to the player with the ball. Then Hill is open for a shot.

righteouscool
03-05-2011, 02:41 PM
It'd be really cool if a breakdown was made about Lance's passing, playmaking, and defense.

Imawhat did a great breakdown of Lance in summer league. It's on the front page somewhere.

idioteque
03-05-2011, 03:17 PM
Danny moves around too much on the defensive end.

He kept leaving Grant Hill to move closer to the player with the ball. Then Hill is open for a shot.

Actually, no. There are times when Danny should be moving into the lane to help. However, his overall judgement as to when he should get out of the lane and go back to the perimeter can be poor. Like in that first play, he should have left the lane to Foster and rotated out to the perimeter to guard Hill. Yes there is a chance Gortat gets in position to score but you give them two points in that situation if you have to.

Brad8888
03-05-2011, 03:48 PM
Had Danny not continued to stay where he was in the lane on the first play, it looked like Nash would get to the rim for the and-1. The better percentage play for the Pacers in most cases would have been to stay home as Danny did and force the perimeter jumper, but not with the en fuego Hill out there for the shot. But, had Danny made the decision to go to Grant Hill sooner, we would likely be criticizing him for not playing better help defense on the interior.

ilive4sports
03-05-2011, 03:53 PM
Now let's not act like this was just Danny deciding to sag off of Hill. Its pretty obvious that its the game plan because it happens all the time with a lot of our players. I've been saying it for a little while now, we are too eager to help on defense. Dunleavy does it, George does it, Rush even does it. I think a lot of it has to do with poor defense at the PG spot.

Sookie
03-05-2011, 04:05 PM
We over help. I think that's part of the boxing out problems too, Roy and Josh spend a lot of time trying to cover for other guys players.

pwee31
03-05-2011, 04:20 PM
Nice breakdown of the footage, I know Granger was called out during that play, but we have bad help defense as a whole.

As mentioned above. We over help quite a bit, and a team with good ball movement will get open shots on all night.

That's one reason we play well against a team like the Heat, b/c they aren't a good passing team, their "big 3" are all use to driving to score or get to the line, and their teammates expect this as well, so they're not ready to shoot a lot of times.

We are good at jumping straight up and defending at the rim with Hibbert, but we do miss rebounds b/c our team is use to leaking out trying to push the ball.

We have guys who can defend and score the ball, just don't do it as a unit.

I like Vogel and if he earns it more power to him, but I think this team benefits from a defensive coach like Mike Brown.

Major Cold
03-05-2011, 05:27 PM
The helpside of Granger is not bad. He was actually shading to cover Gortat as well, when Foster stepped up. The atrocity is that he lingered far too long in the lane. He only moves towards Hill when Nash's pass is released. He looked like one of my eighth grade kids that I coach.

The spacing of the winner was key. Screening the screener is so crucial in the NBA, but you have to do it with spacing.

beast23
03-05-2011, 05:36 PM
Just about the moment Nash got around Price, we were screwed. It left Foster with no choice but to step out to help. Consequently, since Gortat was then behind Foster, Granger had no choice but to remain in proximity to the lane to help.

It was not bad help defense whatsoever, and please try to remember that these decisions are made in tenths of a second. There was absolutely nothing wrong with Granger's decisions.

If there is anyone that I would question on the play, it would have been Rush. Rush was doing a great job of sagging in to help. But the moment Foster stepped up to meet Nash and Granger was forced to step in to help in the lane on either Nash or Gortat, then Rush probably should have slid down into Nash's passing lane to Hill. Again, very easy to see after the fact, but extremely difficult to make that decision and initiate its execution in tenths of a second.

imawhat
03-05-2011, 06:12 PM
Just about the moment Nash got around Price, we were screwed. It left Foster with no choice but to step out to help. Consequently, since Gortat was then behind Foster, Granger had no choice but to remain in proximity to the lane to help.

It was not bad help defense whatsoever, and please try to remember that these decisions are made in tenths of a second. There was absolutely nothing wrong with Granger's decisions.

If there is anyone that I would question on the play, it would have been Rush. Rush was doing a great job of sagging in to help. But the moment Foster stepped up to meet Nash and Granger was forced to step in to help in the lane on either Nash or Gortat, then Rush probably should have slid down into Nash's passing lane to Hill. Again, very easy to see after the fact, but extremely difficult to make that decision and initiate its execution in tenths of a second.

A couple of things. AJ purposely shaded Nash to the right so he would drive into the lane. That's how our defense was set up; it was not a mistake at all and we weren't screwed. That's also why Danny was helping instead of Rush. You help from the weakside because it creates a more difficult pass for the penetrator.

Danny was doing the right thing until Nash picked up his dribble, which was actually before 48.6.

He had over 2 seconds to recover to Hill, and he actually had enough time to wait 1 second before recovering. If he had recovered, our defensive strategy would've been successful. Nash would've been stuck in the lane, where he already was for 2 seconds, with nowhere to pass. That very likely would've been a turnover.

Major Cold
03-05-2011, 10:02 PM
A couple of things. AJ purposely shaded Nash to the right so he would drive into the lane. That's how our defense was set up; it was not a mistake at all and we weren't screwed. That's also why Danny was helping instead of Rush. You help from the weakside because it creates a more difficult pass for the penetrator.

Danny was doing the right thing until Nash picked up his dribble, which was actually before 48.6.

He had over 2 seconds to recover to Hill, and he actually had enough time to wait 1 second before recovering. If he had recovered, our defensive strategy would've been successful. Nash would've been stuck in the lane, where he already was for 2 seconds, with nowhere to pass. That very likely would've been a turnover.

I see it as a flawed philosophy. JOB did one thing that I like. Keep opponents out of the lane. If you shade to the lane help side is closer, but the opportunity to pass is open. If you shade to the baseline you have limited passing lanes, and you still have help side (although farther away).

But we could argue endlessly over this. Like Mackey said WE were lucky we didn't get a three second call. In the NBA with that defensive three second call, help side is limited in the lane and on top of the key. This time there was no pick and roll. It was stupid to allow Nash to get into the lane.

ilive4sports
03-06-2011, 08:33 PM
A couple of things. AJ purposely shaded Nash to the right so he would drive into the lane. That's how our defense was set up; it was not a mistake at all and we weren't screwed. That's also why Danny was helping instead of Rush. You help from the weakside because it creates a more difficult pass for the penetrator.

Danny was doing the right thing until Nash picked up his dribble, which was actually before 48.6.

He had over 2 seconds to recover to Hill, and he actually had enough time to wait 1 second before recovering. If he had recovered, our defensive strategy would've been successful. Nash would've been stuck in the lane, where he already was for 2 seconds, with nowhere to pass. That very likely would've been a turnover.


What is wrong here is that Nash could have very easily hit Dudley who was all alone at the top of the key behind the three point line. Even if Danny got back in time, Nash hits Dudley for an open three and Dudley was on fire that game too. We over helped on this play for sure. I would much rather see Foster the only one stepping up to help. Sure Nash may get a difficult lay up, but we were up by three at that point. We would have still been up a point.