Two different threads have left me with the same exact thought regarding the Pacers, so I'm polluting the board with a thread of my own.
Peck said this regarding Austin Croshere:
And PacerTom said this regarding the difference between the Spurs and Pacers:Croshere brings something totally differant to the floor when he is out there & other teams have to adjust to us, not us adjust to them.
There are two things I know about basketball that have been true from the day the sport began and will continue to hold form until the last basket is made.Very high basketball IQ.
In the 4th quarter when the Pacers needed a defensive stop they could never get it. Nobody on the Spurs is breaking a play to launch a three or dribbling aimlessly into a double team. The ball goes to Duncan and good things follow and you can't stop it even if you are expecting it.
1. Stick to what you do best. This is something I've been preaching for several years on this forums and I'll probably never stop. The players and teams that put their lineup out on the floor and say, "Ok, try to stop us," almost always win. The key is to make your opponents adjust their gameplan to counteract what you're doing. It may even seem contradictory to a point because your opponent may have a bad matchup for your team and they may look to isolate on that match-up. But guess what? They've now changed their whole offensive philosophy and its absolutely going to fail, despite the sense it makes on the surface.
Conversly, what I'd do if I were the team with the mismatch advantage, you can exploit it, but within your normal offensive scheme. Say you have a big guard being defended by small guard and you want to post him up. Go for the post up, but mainly to draw the double-team and get the other team scrambling. If they don't double, just run your normal offense. If you're a good offensive team, you're hurting yourself by switching things up.
This is as simple as a player/coach/system as being proactive or reactive. The teams that struggle are the ones with players who are unsure of themselves and/or don't stick to what they do best. They let their opponents knock them back and they spend their time trying to adjust so it doesn't happen again. The teams that win big in any level of basketball are those that force the action. They make you adjust to them. They make you change your gameplan to stop them.
2. Herefore it shall be known as the "Luke Walton" rule. I've always referred to this as "this guy really knows how to play basketball." Its not something you can quantify, you just have to see it for yourself to know that its true.
Its as simple as reading someone's eyes, recognizing foot position before a guy attempts a spin move, knowing when your teammate is really open when he doesn't look open (and vice versa), etc, etc. The guys that play basketball like its chess and plan 4-5 moves ahead always succeed.
These guys rarely make stupid mistakes, especiallly in crucial situations.
Now lets take a look at the Pacers and the Spurs in context of Chauncey's two rules of basketball. Here are the things that stand out to me:
1. The Pacers offensive philosophy, at least in part, is to shorten the game and minimize the total # of possessions in an attempt to help on the defensive end. This is the single biggest thing that drives me crazy about watching the Pacers, especially knowing that there is quite a bit of offensive talent on this roster. Thats a self-defeating philosophy if I've ever seen one. The Spurs play offense with an intent to score.
2. The Spurs are LOADED with guys who fall into the "Luke Walton" rule. Hell the only guys they have that I wouldn't put in that category off the top of my head are Rasho and Nazr. Look at Duncan, Ginobili, Parker, Finley, Horry et al. These are basketball players. You'll never mistake them for a great athlete that happens to play basketball. They're basketball players that happen to be great athletes. Now ask yourself how many of the Pacers would you put in the same category. I'd put Croshere in there, probably JO....maybe Tinsley, Saras would go in there...and thats about it I think.
3. How many times have you seen Ron Artest break the offense to post up a smaller man? It may sound like a good idea, but its taking way from what the team does best. Tinsley does this too.
4. What is Jeff Foster's value on the offensive end? He can creep around the basket and clean up some garbage, but does anyone honestly think that will help the Pacers beat good teams? Austin Croshere forces a man to guard him with his perimeter shooting. As Peck has said, playing Foster ahead of Croshere is absolutely ridiculous. Relating to #1, playing Foster doesn't fall into an offensive philosophy of trying to score the ball...it falls into a reactive philosophy of "after we miss, he can get us some offensive rebounds." Newsflash, if you start scoring buckets, you dont need offensive rebounds. Austin can help this team score.
Basketball is an offensive game. Probably about 60% of the time, the offense is going to score from the field or the FT line on each possession. According to my scientific (lol) estimates, 40% of the time the offense scores because they're that damn good, 20% of the time, the offense scores because the defense is that damn bad, 20 % of the time the offense doesn't score because the offense is that damn bad, and 20% of the time the offense doesn't score because the defense is that damn good.