Anyone remember Paul Westhead?
He's the man behind the phrase "Paul Ball" ...basically..the whole reason there is a system of Run and Gun. Thanks Paul.
Interstingly though, Paul Westhead was successful with this system. He's won in the NBA and won in the WNBA. (And his former assistant coach, and former point guard beat the Indiana Fever this season to win.) Because, there's more to the system than a "free for all" offense.
Quite frankly, Obrien..and maybe it's because he "hasn't had the horses" has only been doing the system half way. Regardles..he's doing it wrong. Because this offense IS fun to watch, when done right. I'm not sure if JOB is trying to run Paul Ball, but from the looks of it, and from what JOB often says..and how he refers to it as "the system" (which proponents of Paul Ball often do)..I'd guess he is.
The point of the offense, is to run in transition, and take the first open shot. Not the first "shot" not the first "kinda open shot" the first OPEN shot.
First lets talk about lineups. The recent WNBA won with a lineup, mostly consisting of.
Cappie Pondextor, Diana Taurasi, DeWanna Bonner, Penny Taylor, and Tangela Smith.
Now, as with that offense, they tried to do several things.
Push the ball
1. First open shot.
2. If no open shot immediatly, Look for Tangela Smith (Center) on the trailing 3
3. After about ten seconds of no open shot, try to run a play for Taylor (PF) or Taurasi (SG/SF)
4. If all else fails, Pondexter (Point Guard) tries to break down the defense..going one on one.
That's the offense in a nut shell.
What are the qualities of that lineup. Every single one of them can shoot the three. Yes, that is important. In fact, Tangela Smith, the Center, led the WNBA in three point field goal percentage..and she was soft and a terrible defender. (hmmm) More importantly they are all explosive offensive players. The Phoenix Mercury played the players that fit the system.
So What lineup fits that system.
Why Troy Murphy at center? Well, as said, he can hit the three. And as part of the offense I described, the "trailing Center" is a big part of it. It also does spread the floor well, and it's an unorthodox way to play. I"m not advocating not playing Roy (I'll get to that later) I'm just saying that for this system, Murphy is the best fit at Center.
Danny Granger at PF. Once again, I know many people hate this. But let's be honest. A. He's the best PF we have. B. Troy and Roy can't play together in the front court no matter what system, never mind a transition one. Hans and Tyler don't do what this system requires. C. This is his best fit for the system.
AJ at the point. I'm not saying this because obviously I'm an advocate of him, but because..in order for this system to work..it's necessary he's there. AJ can do things that Watson can't. He speeds up the game, is more assertive offensive, more versital offensively, and as I said..#4, he can break down a defense better than Watson. The more explosive offensive guy is the one needed. In this system. It's asking a lot. But quite frankly, if Obrien truly wants to play this offense, and not some half *** version, Price is the best option at point.
Dunleavy. Dunleavy is playing more of the "Taurasi" role. With screens and such to help him get open. He should obviously be one of the guys we focus on getting points. Using screens and looking for him in transition.
and Rush..like Bonner, just fits in. I put Rush here instead of Jones because Rush can hit the three. What can I say, it is important, particularly if you are using Murphy at the Center. Because the whole point is to not allow the defense to sag.
Substitutions. and Rotations
Rush/ Jones or Head Possibly Price if we're shooting for midget ball...which is a component of Paul Ball.
Dunleavy/ Rush or Jones
Granger/Hans...if and only if Troy is at Center
Troy/Hibbert or Murphy..both only if Granger is at PF
There are "offensive" (which means something a bit different) players: Granger, Roy, Murphy, Price, Head, Dunleavy
The "defensive" players: SJones, DJones, Watson, Hans, Foster, Roy (Yes Roy), McRoberts. (and Play McBob at Center.)
Then there are middle ground players: Rush. I seperated him because he's not in the mold of the "offensive guys" but he can play with any of them, like the "offensive guys" ..in fact..I'd play him more. I think he's an important part..because he does just "Fit in" and he's the best defender we've got.
If you'll notice, this is truthfully broken up into 3 point shooter who are aggresive scorers vs. non three point shooters and/or who aren't as aggressive, and Rush..who is a three point shooter that isn't aggressive.
The important part of this, is WHO you use together.
And it basically comes down to this, if you want to use a defensive player, the system works much better if the other players on the court are "offensive" players.
Do NOT play Watson and Jones together. Don't do it. Teams will sag, that's two positions on the floor that can not hit the three, (although Watson can, he's gunshy) You want to sub out Price, you leave Rush in or you put Watson and Head in.
In fact (wait for the screams) Don't play ANY of the "defensive" players together, or as little as possible. You can play the "middle" guys with "defensive" guys though, but it's better to play them with the offensive group.
As I said earlier. No Troy and Roy together. None. You'll suddenly be slow and the defense is terrible. In fact, Roy should be Troy's backup. Given plenty of time. There are some other defensive liabilities together. I wouldn't stick Head and Price together too much. Although neither is terrible defensively, they're both kind of short, and neither are defensive stoppers so that's a pretty big mismatch on the opposing team's shooting guard.
It's a pretty easy formula to follow. And in fact, many of the people who try to use "Paul Ball" are incredibly systematic. You'll notice JOB is incredibly into his statistics. He has certain players come into the game at certain times, no matter what. Corey Gaines is like that too, listen to him talk about basketball..and you'll think he's talking about Math.
But he changed a bit, and that's how his team won.
And Paul Westhead is different than the above, because he was an excellent adjustment coach. Knowing who to play when, is important. I laid out a bit of a formula, and the system needs for it to be followed. But adjustments are needed too. IF AJ's "acting like a rookie"...watson needs to play, and the #4 option gets handed to Danny or Rush. ect...it's those intuitive coaching moves..adjustments..that need to be made.
As for Defense. Westhead used a sort of "zone" with his team, which was the best form of defense for them. Because his center was a terrible defensive player. Basically, protect the middle. How was this done, well...Danny and Rush would be doing most of the work. Basically you sag into the middle. In general, Westhead's defense is pretty bad. And it'll rain threes. But it'd be good for this team to make SOMETHING difficult for an opposing team. *anything* and proctecting the middle is the best way to go.
This is an unconventional way to play basketball. I know that. And I'm not necessarily advocating it for this team..because I think we'd be better off playing with Roy as the focus..and getting rid of Murphy. It can be fun to watch, when done right. But it does rely on shooting, an off night and you will get blown out. But it's been successful before, and this system and these players are capable of bringing a better record than this.
However, as long as JOB is here, he's going to want to run his system. And if he's gonna run "paul ball" he needs to do it 100%, instead of this ...run down the court and shoot up a god awful shot..nonesence. That isn't this system. This is a mess. Either do it right, or don't do it at all. Because if you don't do it right, it..well..it looks like this.