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Thread: Two Observations - One O, One D

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    Default Two Observations - One O, One D

    Well, OK, two observations other than the Hawks game was a matter of "who sucks least"...

    OFFENSE: I tried very hard to watch the ball and player movement tonight to figure out why our shooting is so abysmal.

    I think I understand - we have no decent passers.

    Passes end up either above the shoulders, at the knees, or to the side at 3/4 arm length. All of these mean that there is no chance the shooter can get the ball in rhythm.

    Trying to force a rhythm, leads to missed shots. Trying to decide what else to do with the ball leads to challenged passes and shots because the defense gets in position.

    I begin to think that this tarnishes our PG abilities (though they are still head and shoulders above having an injured one). It also explains why Diener adds so much to the game - he has the ability to get a pass to the player in the right place. Unfortunately, by the time he is in the game, we've already lost our rhythm completely and it is hard to recover.

    When Travis is at full health, I'd not be averse to having him start a game or two to see what happens when they get in rhythm early.


    DEFENSE: An element of JOB's defense that has always been controversial has been his desire to defend the paint 100% at the cost of defending the perimeter. Early in the season, we seemed to have a handle on keeping the perimeter covered even while denying the lane. Recently, though (epitomized by the horrible decision to leave Joe Johnson wide open at the 3), we've fallen into the habit of playing position (get into or back into the lane on defense) rather than player. I saw more defenders turn and run away from the ball handler tonight than I have all season, all in the name of stopping a drive or pass but all resulting in an open shot.

    Is the team so concerned about playing help defense that they are losing sight of their own man? If so, is this coaching or player problems?
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    Default Re: Two Observations - One O, One D

    Quote Originally Posted by BillS View Post
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    DEFENSE: An element of JOB's defense that has always been controversial has been his desire to defend the paint 100% at the cost of defending the perimeter. Early in the season, we seemed to have a handle on keeping the perimeter covered even while denying the lane. Recently, though (epitomized by the horrible decision to leave Joe Johnson wide open at the 3), we've fallen into the habit of playing position (get into or back into the lane on defense) rather than player. I saw more defenders turn and run away from the ball handler tonight than I have all season, all in the name of stopping a drive or pass but all resulting in an open shot.

    Is the team so concerned about playing help defense that they are losing sight of their own man? If so, is this coaching or player problems?
    I wondered about this when that Johnson three sequence happened. Quinn suggested Johnson should not have been left. Yet in the replay it was clear that had Quis not dropped down, Atlanta would have had a player wide open under the rim.

    So what is he supposed to do there? Leave a guy open for a potential layup or remain high and outside to cover Johnson?
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    Default Re: Two Observations - One O, One D

    one big obeservation i have is that if this team learned how to finish around the rim the record would be a lot better....not saying defense isnt important but thats always mentioned....i cringe everytime hibbert tries to lay the ball in....instead of slamming the ball down.

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    Default Re: Two Observations - One O, One D

    Hopefully Mike will help with the passing problem. In fact, I think the offense will look much better when he's back if he's healthy.

    Defensively, if it's true that they are almost playing a zone in the name of help D in the paint, then the obvious suggestion seems to be to just go to a more traditional man to man defense and help less often.

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    Default Re: Two Observations - One O, One D

    Quote Originally Posted by D-BONE View Post
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    I wondered about this when that Johnson three sequence happened. Quinn suggested Johnson should not have been left. Yet in the replay it was clear that had Quis not dropped down, Atlanta would have had a player wide open under the rim.

    So what is he supposed to do there? Leave a guy open for a potential layup or remain high and outside to cover Johnson?
    Quis did precisely the right thing. I have no idea what Quinn was talking about and scratching my head as he was saying it. I suppose he would rather we lost on a uncontested dunk by Horford than an uncontested shot 23 feet from the hoop by Joe. Given how accurate and unflinchingly savvy Joe is, there was probably about an equal 100% chance they were both gonna be makes, but, still, you always would take a team having to make a three in that situation.

    And given how nice the pass was from Josh Smith, there was really no time to rotate (or really any expectation of a need to rotate) by Danny/Rush/whoever was near the top of the key. So it was purely the defensive failure of (I believe) Foster to stop Josh Smith's penetration that forced Murph to rotate to stop his layup and, thus, forced Quis to rotate down to the block that led to the wide-open, back-breaking trey by Joe.

    Quis done good.
    Last edited by JayRedd; 12-31-2008 at 12:56 AM.
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    Default Re: Two Observations - One O, One D

    every time you would give up the uncontested 3 point than the open shot under the bucket.
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    Default Re: Two Observations - One O, One D

    Quote Originally Posted by BillS View Post
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    Well, OK, two observations other than the Hawks game was a matter of "who sucks least"...

    OFFENSE: I tried very hard to watch the ball and player movement tonight to figure out why our shooting is so abysmal.

    I think I understand - we have no decent passers.

    Passes end up either above the shoulders, at the knees, or to the side at 3/4 arm length. All of these mean that there is no chance the shooter can get the ball in rhythm.

    Trying to force a rhythm, leads to missed shots. Trying to decide what else to do with the ball leads to challenged passes and shots because the defense gets in position.

    I begin to think that this tarnishes our PG abilities (though they are still head and shoulders above having an injured one). It also explains why Diener adds so much to the game - he has the ability to get a pass to the player in the right place. Unfortunately, by the time he is in the game, we've already lost our rhythm completely and it is hard to recover.

    When Travis is at full health, I'd not be averse to having him start a game or two to see what happens when they get in rhythm early.


    DEFENSE: An element of JOB's defense that has always been controversial has been his desire to defend the paint 100% at the cost of defending the perimeter. Early in the season, we seemed to have a handle on keeping the perimeter covered even while denying the lane. Recently, though (epitomized by the horrible decision to leave Joe Johnson wide open at the 3), we've fallen into the habit of playing position (get into or back into the lane on defense) rather than player. I saw more defenders turn and run away from the ball handler tonight than I have all season, all in the name of stopping a drive or pass but all resulting in an open shot.

    Is the team so concerned about playing help defense that they are losing sight of their own man? If so, is this coaching or player problems?

    If I'd only watched tonight, I'd come up with a similar opinion on passing, but tonight was an anomaly. I'd make the argument that we're one of the top 5 passing teams in the league, and in my opinion they're #2 behind Utah.

    Our entire offense is based on crisp passes from the high post, which we neglected tonight. 50.3% of our made baskets this year have come from within 3ft of the basket. Without a low post presence, a percentage that high should tell you how good our passing is (and we're ranked #3 in apg). Rasho is a great passer, Troy and Jeff are above average, and our backcourt usually hits players in rhythm, particularly on fast breaks.


    That being said, Travis easily has a spot in our rotation (without Dunleavy), which I was afraid to say during the preseason. He certainly solves any offensive stagnation and is our best decision-maker in the backcourt.


    Defensively, tonight may have been our worst game of the season. If Atlanta hadn't been ice cold early, they would've scored 130. Most of those misses were great looks.

    I think this is a player problem, but O'Brien blamed himself in the post-game, saying he's not doing a good job of coaching this since they practice rotations every day and aren't executing during games.
    Last edited by imawhat; 12-31-2008 at 02:01 AM.

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    Default Re: Two Observations - One O, One D

    Just a quick note here.

    The defensive rotations are exactly why I have been b!tching all season long about the short rotations.

    It's not just about up tempo offense, it is that our guys get no break on the defensive end either. To do this correctly each player will shuttle off of his man generally once per possesion. Thus everyone is supposed to shift as well.

    All of this constant movement, as well as a desire to push the offensive tempo, will put wear and tear on our players in particular our big players. Ever wonder why O'Brien likes to go small? Well the small guys usually don't wear down as fast as the big guys do.

    I say all of that to say this.

    Our defense would be better if you had

    a. better players
    b. more athletic players
    c. more energy players
    d. all of the above

    Obviously the answer is D., however inserting an energy player into the mix for a few min. a game couldn't hurt either. For that matter inserting Uncle Buck or myself into the game wouldn't have a worse result (a loss is a loss afterall).

    The fact that McBob is getting DNP-CD, after the games he had, is just astounding.

    When I look at Rasho who has already lost 3 streps since the season began and I see Foster wincing every now and then, I just have to wonder why oh why does he not play?

    I am sure we would hear long intellectual diatribes about missed spots on defense or not knowing the plays.

    The results are the same, losing.

    However, IMO, this is more dangerous because you are wearing down players who you really can not afford to wear down for the end of the year just in case some miracle happens and we do make a move to the playoffs.

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    Default Re: Two Observations - One O, One D

    Quote Originally Posted by JayRedd View Post
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    Quis did precisely the right thing. I have no idea what Quinn was talking about and scratching my head as he was saying it. I suppose he would rather we lost on a uncontested dunk by Horford than an uncontested shot 23 feet from the hoop by Joe. Given how accurate and unflinchingly savvy Joe is, there was probably about an equal 100% chance they were both gonna be makes, but, still, you always would take a team having to make a three in that situation.

    And given how nice the pass was from Josh Smith, there was really no time to rotate (or really any expectation of a need to rotate) by Danny/Rush/whoever was near the top of the key. So it was purely the defensive failure of (I believe) Foster to stop Josh Smith's penetration that forced Murph to rotate to stop his layup and, thus, forced Quis to rotate down to the block that led to the wide-open, back-breaking trey by Joe.

    Quis done good.
    This was my thought, too, obviously. I absolutely could not believe what I was hearing QB say on the broadcast.
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    Default Re: Two Observations - One O, One D

    Quote Originally Posted by ThA HoyA View Post
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    one big obeservation i have is that if this team learned how to finish around the rim the record would be a lot better....not saying defense isnt important but thats always mentioned....i cringe everytime hibbert tries to lay the ball in....instead of slamming the ball down.
    I wanted to give this one a big AMEN!

    Roy, you're the center. You're big, you're long. If you have the ball around the rim, DUNK IT! And dunk it hard. Not only will it go in, you'll get fouled. Both are good things. I hope I never see you shoot a lay-up again. EVER.

    Also, I know you can pass, but if you get the ball inside the "charge" circle, you better be taking the shot. Bang once with your body, pivot, and dunk. Easy points, man.

    And don't get me started on your rebounding. Or lack thereof. Last night you made Smits look like a great rebounder. At least a couple would fall into his hands a game. Don't give me a story about Foster and Murphy taking them from you. Smits had Dale taking boards from him.
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    Default Re: Two Observations - One O, One D

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
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    I wanted to give this one a big AMEN!

    Roy, you're the center. You're big, you're long. If you have the ball around the rim, DUNK IT! And dunk it hard. Not only will it go in, you'll get fouled. Both are good things. I hope I never see you shoot a lay-up again. EVER.

    Also, I know you can pass, but if you get the ball inside the "charge" circle, you better be taking the shot. Bang once with your body, pivot, and dunk. Easy points, man.

    And don't get me started on your rebounding. Or lack thereof. Last night you made Smits look like a great rebounder. At least a couple would fall into his hands a game. Don't give me a story about Foster and Murphy taking them from you. Smits had Dale taking boards from him.
    Fair points. I think he'll get there. He is a rookie after all, and I don't think he looks any more timid than Smits did in his first couple of years.
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    Default Re: Two Observations - One O, One D

    No doubt in my mind that the offense runs better with Travis running the point - put simply, he keeps the ball moving than either TJ or Jack.

    Last night as JOB explained after the game, the defensive rotations were horrible last night. There is a common misperception about JOB's defensive system. Yes he wants to defend the paint first and foremost, but after that he doesn't want to give up any open threes. He wants to give up contested long two point shots on the weakside - make the opponent pass the ball around, maybe get a deflection

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    Default Re: Two Observations - One O, One D

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Yes he wants to defend the paint first and foremost, but after that he doesn't want to give up any open threes. He wants to give up contested long two point shots on the weakside - make the opponent pass the ball around, maybe get a deflection
    Yes, that's the object, but if you don't have the personnel to complete both goals you sacrifice the secondary (forcing contested long twos) in favor of the primary (stopping the drive to the basket).

    When you can't manage to contest the long 2, opponents start turning it into the short 3.
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    Default Re: Two Observations - One O, One D

    I think the passing problem, while partially just plain old PG issues, stems mostly from the strategy which is heavily player decision based and on the fly. There are pieces you can string together to create a play as I see it, and definitely guys like Foster, Murphy, Quis and to a lesser extent Danny are able to handle it. Often you'll see a series of 2 man games strung together to create a "play", and these typically get you those looks at the rim (just had another Jeff to Troy last night in fact).

    But Jack, Rush, Roy and maybe even TJ aren't handling it well, and I think Danny also struggles with this part. What you get is these guys out on the perimeter having to stop and think about what to do next and by the time they see it so does the defense. You get very telegraphed passes or you get the mid-air junk from Jack or you get the wildly off-target stuff you mentioned in your first post.


    There are 2 sides to the improv coin. It's great to let players read and react, it's tougher to scout and plan against. BUT there is a lot to be said to running a set of plays so well that it doesn't matter if the defense knows what's coming. This was the Reggie baseline screens into wing curl catch and shoot. We saw it 500 times a season, but it just kept working. And part of that was that the screens were dead on, the curl was tight and precise and the pass would always be right on the money and right on time.

    I've always fallen on the side of a strong playbook over "freedom" or read/react offenses, and this is a big reason why I always defended Rick and still like him as a coach.

    Fair points. I think he'll get there. He is a rookie after all, and I don't think he looks any more timid than Smits did in his first couple of years.
    I agree, though he just may be a worse rebounder than Rik. I mean there was one play where it went out on Atlanta and the only reason for this was that 2 Hawks lept well above Roy and then lost control of it themselves. This despite the ball coming right down to him. Troy is three times the atheltic leaper that Roy is.

    Also as I worried in the prospect thread, Roy's just slow and it hurts him getting the ball in the post as well as finishing it in a hurry when needed. Roy has strengths and if you set the game up to be a bit more deliberate he can take advantage of guys. But I've already decided that I'm going to have to plan on hunkering down for a long wait on Roy's game.

    I like him, especially for a #17, but right now he's going to have to play and it's going to be bad.
    Last edited by Naptown_Seth; 01-01-2009 at 05:46 AM.

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    Default Re: Two Observations - One O, One D

    McBob - I agree. It's just dumb now. If he's not being a major a'hole at practice then his not playing 5-10 per game makes zero sense. It's got nothing to do with tanking, giving up or just forcing development.

    He's shown he can have some pretty positive impact on games and the other bigs have shown that the season is starting to kick them in the rear.


    Quote Originally Posted by JR
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    I have no idea what Quinn was talking about and scratching my head as he was saying it.
    I have this moment 2-3 times every single game he does color on. This is nothing new. I think he makes half of it up after the fact based on the results.

    Quis played Joe as well as possible and was a big reason why Joe struggled early on. He forced Joe away from his comfort moves and stayed tight on him coming off screens. In contrast Rush, the guy I love, got stonewalled on screens far too often and ended up letting Joe get loose and then create havoc whether it was for his own shot or someone else.


    When Travis is at full health, I'd not be averse to having him start a game or two to see what happens when they get in rhythm early.
    Seeing how things have gone lately I'm inclined to agree here. It's not that he hit timely 3s, it's that he seems to grasp his role in this offense better.

    In fairness in the post-game thread I said the guys that seemed to understand things the best were Foster, Quis, Granger, Troy and Diener. What do they all have in common that the rest of the team doesn't? This isn't their first season with JOB coaching them.
    Last edited by Naptown_Seth; 01-01-2009 at 05:59 AM.

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    Default Re: Two Observations - One O, One D

    Bill S:

    Your offensive observation about the Pacers players consistently making passes to one another that are slightly off target is a great thing to have noticed, and brings up some interesting (at least to me) discussion points.

    One of the things this reminded me of was a particular team I was on the staff for a few years ago at the high school level. This was a very successful team that went 18-4, so we had some talent, especially for a smaller school.

    This entire team had a problem in this exact skill however. We just realy struggled to make passes EXACTLY on target, and we struggled shooting perimeter shots or making plays in general when passes weren't delivered on time and on target.

    This group of players wasn't selfish, they just struggled with accuracy...like a quarterback who always makes the right read on where to throw but delivers it slightly behind or low or high to his reciever.

    I even did a lot of tape/stat work with that team, charting our shooting percentages after on target passes vs our percentages when recieving a pass slightly off line. Then we broke it down on film and showed our kids this, along with the statistical breakdown.

    Interestingly to our staff, our very best player seemed ot be the one most effected by an inaccurate pass, and also the most likely player to MAKE a slightly off target pass himself.

    We did alot of work on this. That particular team was 1-2 at the time and frustrated, so maybe the kids were even more willing to listen to us, but I really felt like those next 7 practices before our next game, particularly those practices on Saturday (we had film and light work on early Saturday morning that day, then brought them back in the late afternoon for a short but full session) were some of the best I've had as a coach. That team fully bought in that day, and it fully soaked in over the weekend. It was a really neat coaching experience.

    Anyway, we didn't think it was a talent problem. We came to believe it came down to some different issues our kids had making super accurate passes rather than mediocre ones: Concentration, conditioning somewhat, our recievers showing a target earlier on where they wanted the pass thrown to them, and communication.

    On the concentration front, that was largely a mental thing for our kids. They had to be shown how important it was for them, and being a smart savvy group, in large part the stats we came up with for them largely handled that. We also had to work on their conditioning some, because as a group in general we were smaller/skinnier/weaker, so we felt like fatigue played some role. On a short term basis, we tried to substitute more frequently, not going deeper on our bench necessarily, but playing kids in shorter bursts. We started doing basic passing drills, just to work on our fundamental form of basic passes....very basic skills that had eroded a bit in our mind. Then lastly we had to demand more accuracy in practice, be detailed in our thinking, and start emphasizing it much more.....we had to punish inaccurate passes in order to change the behavior. When the kids started seeing their shots go in more frequently, and their turnovers go down, they all really started to believe in what we were doing, and soon us as coaches didnt have ot say much.....that group of seniors really took over as leaders among themselves emphasizing in all our drills, even in ones not really meant to practice that particular skill.

    Not as severly on that team, but at least somewhat another fundamental problem existed, which was our players/cutters RECIEVING the potential pass didn't always put a TARGET HAND(S) out to tell the passer where they wanted the pass thrown to them. We were able to show our kids on film making cuts (particularly a couple of our main scorers) making the proper decision where and when to cut in our motion offense, and therefore being open....but cutting with their hands down, so our passers struggled on reading where they were going to be. Often, these guys would cut well and get open, but SHOW NO TARGET, so our passers either ignored them altogether or made a pass slightly behind them, or low, or whatever, squandering scoring chances.

    Now, we coached our kids to not deliver a pass to someone cutting who didnt present a target, so that was ok on the passers part. But we had to really work on our cutters or post up guys to present their hands out as they were coming off a screen so our kids passing to them knew exactly where to hit them at.

    Our before mentioned best player (who did go on to play at a smaller successful Indiana college) was a fantastic reader of screens, particular off of a flare or down screen situation. He could suck his own man to ward the goal, and pop back out behind a screen with excellent footwork perhaps better than anyone I saw that year. But then he would stand with his arms at the sides, so our players neither knew what he was doing, or even at times couldnt even see him. As we taught the game, a player with his arms down wasn't open in reality!

    So, we had to implement some new drills, and go back to some older ones from our youth group feeder program about showing a target coming off a screen, putting your lead hand out telling the passer where you were going. We had to work in it first without any defense, then with defense eventually, and just go back and re-drill it into them.

    Lastly, we had to learn to communicate better verbally. We worked on this alot defensively (like most teams) but we had to really go back and do it offensively too. We had our kids yell out what type of cut they were making, we had them yell out who they were screening for, and we had them yell out for the ball coming off screens. We had always ephasized this on our man to man halfcourt defense, but we really started to emphasize being verbal and loud on offense too. Again, to build it into habits, we had to do alot of verbal communication stuff in all of our drills, even if it wasnt a drill specifically to work on this.

    So, there it was. We solved that particularly problem of inaccurate passes with some coaching creativity, and going back to fundamentals of the game.

    So, let's watch the Pacers a little closer offensively, and see which of these issues (if any) are are the culprit behind the inaccurate passes. I bet it is, like it was with my high school team that year, a combination. My initial impression after very little study on this issue is that the Pacers cutters are not showing very good targets, with perhaps fatigue coming in second.

    Good observation BillS.....

    Tbird

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