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Thread: Some thoughts about our low APG numbers

  1. #1
    All Hail CJ Watson! Nuntius's Avatar
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    Default Some thoughts about our low APG numbers

    As most of you know the Pacers are last in the league in APG at a lowly 18.1.

    Some people attribute this to Darren Collison not having the court vision of a pass-first PG (he certainly tries to be pass-first, though). Others attribute to the simple offensive system that our 1st unit runs. Others attribute to a multitude of things (mainly on the lack of ball-handling skills in our team and on the fact that our starting front court is slow).

    But let me try to analyze this statistic.

    I'll start by a personal observation (and I'm sure that a lot of you have noticed this as well).

    When one of our players receives the ball, their first thought is to pass the ball unless they are wide open. And that's good because they do not force a shot early in the shot clock but instead get what the defense is giving them.

    Currently we only have 2 players in our roster that their first thought is to shoot the ball when they receive them. Those two are Lou Amundson (he will shoot it if he gets the ball within 10 feet) and Leandro Barbosa. Everyone else will look to find the open man first and when they don't (cause we are really bad in moving without the ball) they'll put the ball on the floor and try to create a shot (usually by getting the ball into the paint).

    Here's another interesting point. Post ups do not net assists most of the time. Wings that drive to the basket do not assists on a consistent basis either. What do they net? FTs.

    So, how do we rank in the FT statistics? We're in the top 3 in all FT statistics except for one (FT%) in which we are tied for the 5th place. Also, we are 1st in one of the most important FT statistics. What's this statistic? Percent of Points from Free Throws. We are first with 21.2% of our total points coming from the FT line. OKC is second with 20.6%.

    It is true that the Pacers do not move the ball well (we are capable of doing this as we proved in our last game in the play that led to a DC three) but they make up for it by going to the line and hitting their FTs.

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  3. #2
    crazy shinaniganz BringJackBack's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some thoughts about our low APG numbers

    This is all true. Our big men are post up guys, we are an unselfish team by default, and we make up for our assist disparity in most cases by getting to the line. And Darren is a fine player. He is a good scorer, he's quick as hell, and he doesn't turn the ball over.

    However, if we had the flexibility to be able to run plays, as in having a point guard who could give us other options on offense, we would be much better off, and we wouldn't be last in the league.

    If we had a good distributor and passer at the 1, we could change the offense to not be so isolation heavy. We could run pick n rolls with David West, as DW is a guy who is known to stuff the stats of most starting point guards with his pick and pop/pick n roll ability. If we had a distributor at the 1, we could run Paul George and Danny Granger off of screens to get open shots, as they both have the ability to shoot off of screens (Now, it could be argued that Roy can't set a well enough pick to get them open, but David can, and I say that the main reason we can't run screens at all is because Darren can't find the man moving without the ball.)

    Not to even mention, with a passive point guard, our transition buckets wouldn't consist of 60% DC full speed lay-ups (Which admittedly is good when he is on, but when he's struggling the force-feeding offense is frustrating). If we had a guy who could see the open floor in transition we could have one to three more assists per game as a team.

    Our offense is simple, no doubt. It's either David or Roy posting up as the primary option, secondary a pick and roll, and third option an isolation. We would benefit from having a distributor because we could add many more dimensions to our game, thus improving ball movement, field goal percentage, and poise down the stretch.

    Now let me be clear, it's not all on Darren at all. When Tyler, Lou, Barbosa (His shooting is justified because that is his specific role and it does help offensive flow), or Roy (He is excusable too because he's good) get the ball, they are looking to shoot first and create off the dribble which is not helping offensive flow. Danny needs to cut hard to the basket and be a little bit quicker when moving without the ball, as he is never an option to pass to off of a cut. Paul George needs to be more assertive and have a little bit more 'Barbosa' in him, as his passive offensive play stagnates our flow at times.

    It's a collection of things, but with good coaching we can fix the small things in time. Regarding the starting point guard spot, we just disagree, but I see what you are saying and I agree with the gist of your point. I don't think that Darren Collison is the devil, he's frustrating, but he's a solid player. If we really want to take the next step forward, we have to find a different fit at the point guard spot.

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    All Hail CJ Watson! Nuntius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some thoughts about our low APG numbers

    I agree on most of your points. We would surely benefit with having a pure distributor in the point. Our offense looked quite good when AJ was out there and played as a pure distributor. Although, this could happen because the second unit moves better without the ball (Lou in particular is much better off the ball than Roy).

    Anyway, the point of the thread was not to make an argument in favor or against DC. My point was to highlight the way we run our offense and how this affects our APG and FGAs.

    I simply think that there is a direct correlation between our offensive plan, our APG and our FGAs.

    We would surely benefit from better ball movement and it would also improve our APG. However, we wouldn't benefit from shooting the ball upon reception. It would improve our APG but it would clearly hurt our chances of winning the game.

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    Member naptownmenace's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some thoughts about our low APG numbers

    Great post. I was just looking over the APG rankings yesterday. I didn't bother to look up FT%. That explains why they are still a team that is 10 games over .500.

    Joe Wolf and the play-by-play announcer (don't remember his name or care to look it up) for the Bucks game Saturday, made the comment of "how can a team with a record like Indiana's be last in the NBA?" He then went on to say that if they were in the middle of the pack they'd probably have one of the top 4 win/loss records in the NBA. They eventually settled that they Pacers must make up for it with their rebounding and defense so they missed the FT impact as well.

    The team has a lot length and size so rebounding, defense, and attacking the basket are essential for this Pacers squad because they don't have a true PG on the team and the passing abilities of most players on the team are average at best. Major props to Frank Vogel and his staff for coming up with a winning style of play based on the personnel of the team.

    With that said, the last 4 games the Pacers have improved their ball movement which is more important, IMO, for their style of offense. They're forcing the defense to react and in the process, they're getting better shots.

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    Default Re: Some thoughts about our low APG numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by naptownmenace View Post
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    With that said, the last 4 games the Pacers have improved their ball movement which is more important, IMO, for their style of offense. They're forcing the defense to react and in the process, they're getting better shots.
    100% true.

    Quote Originally Posted by naptownmenace View Post
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    I didn't bother to look up FT%. That explains why they are still a team that is 10 games over .500.
    It's not only about FT%. There are a lot of FT statistical categories. Per teamrankings.com (which is the site I get most of the stats I use but I'm sure that there are other sites as well) there are 7 different statistical categories about FTs.

    I'll go ahead and name them:

    1) Percent of Points from Free Throws

    2) Free Throw %

    3) Free Throws Made per Game

    4) Free Throws Attempted per Game

    5) FTA per FGA

    6) FTM per 100 Possessions

    7) FTA per Offensive Play

    Let's see how the Pacers rank in each one of them:

    1) Percent of Points from Free Throws: 1st

    2) Free Throw %: 5th (tied with Boston)

    3) Free Throws Made per Game: 2nd (tied with Denver)

    4) Free Throws Attempted per Game: 3rd

    5) FTA per FGA: 3rd

    6) FTM per 100 Possessions: 2nd

    7) FTA per Offensive Play: 3rd

    When it comes to anything FT-related we're an elite team. This is why we have the record we have despite being last in APG.

    Ultimately, what Vogel said about smashmouth basketball is true. Offensively, we do not shy away from contact and go to the line a lot. Defensively, we're among the teams that commit the most fouls. We average 22.0 fouls per game (3rd in the league for most fouls commited), we foul in 23.1% of the opponent's possessions (tied for 2nd for most fouls commited again) and we foul in 20.6% of our defensive plays (tied for 3rd for most fouls commited again).

    To make a comparison between us and our likely opponents (Philly).

    The Sixers are dead last in 6 of those categories. In the only category in which they are not last, FT %, they are 23rd.

    Yeah, I like to harp on that

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    Artificial Intelligence wintermute's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some thoughts about our low APG numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by Nuntius View Post
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    We would surely benefit from better ball movement and it would also improve our APG. However, we wouldn't benefit from shooting the ball upon reception. It would improve our APG but it would clearly hurt our chances of winning the game.
    That would be true only for those assists that result from taking challenged jumpshots, for example.

    A really good passer would make a pass that would put the receiver in a good position to score, e.g. a layup or dunk or open jumper. In such a case, improving APG would definitely improve our offensive efficiency.

    And yes, the Pacers lack good passers. It's not all on Collison, as other key Pacers (notably Granger and Hans) are also below average passers. The blame just falls on him more since as the PG, he's expected to be a better passer.

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    Default Re: Some thoughts about our low APG numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by wintermute View Post
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    That would be true only for those assists that result from taking challenged jumpshots, for example.

    A really good passer would make a pass that would put the receiver in a good position to score, e.g. a layup or dunk or open jumper. In such a case, improving APG would definitely improve our offensive efficiency.

    And yes, the Pacers lack good passers. It's not all on Collison, as other key Pacers (notably Granger and Hans) are also below average passers. The blame just falls on him more since as the PG, he's expected to be a better passer.
    I'm not talking about assists resulting from challenged jumpshots.

    I'm talking about assists resulting from a shot-happy offensive system. The Warriors and the Sixers are prime examples of this. They'll happily shoot upon reception if they have a good look. They'll not take the ball inside and they'll not attack the rim. This will net them more assists than us but far fewer FTs than us.

    I'm not saying that we don't need a good passer. We certainly need one. But we have to keep our philosophy of attacking the rim and looking to get as good of a shot as possible instead of taking the first good look that we get.

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    Default Re: Some thoughts about our low APG numbers

    We'd see the PnR a lot more if we had players that ran it efficiently. There's a reason it's the best play in basketball. Vogel deserves credit for playing to his strengths, but if he had the personnel that could run a good PnR we'd see a different offense IMO. Of course we'd still throw it down to the big fellas, but we'd be a lot less predictable and harder to prepare for.

    All you got to do is re watch the Suns game to see what a good passer can do for your team. We shot the ball well, but we just couldn't keep up. All because of the most simple and effective play in the game.

    Having poor ball handlers on the wings and bad passers in the starting unit is the main reason our assist total is last in the league IMO. We rarely get an easy bucket off of a creative play, and we can't run the break very well. Because of these things, Frank is forced to play a plodding style of half court offense. A lot of dump downs and set plays.

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    All Hail CJ Watson! Nuntius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some thoughts about our low APG numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ Jones View Post
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    We'd see the PnR a lot more if we had players that ran it efficiently. There's a reason it's the best play in basketball. Vogel deserves credit for playing to his strengths, but if he had the personnel that could run a good PnR we'd see a different offense IMO. Of course we'd still throw it down to the big fellas, but we'd be a lot less predictable and harder to prepare for.

    All you got to do is re watch the Suns game to see what a good passer can do for your team. We shot the ball well, but we just couldn't keep up. All because of the most simple and effective play in the game.
    Believe me, I know that it is the best play in basketball. That's the reason that some clubs have dominated the Euroleague in the recent years (yeah, the NBA is differet but it still is basketball).

    As you said, we don't have the personnel to do this. And it's not only on DC (although some of it is on DC as well). Hibbert is slow and this simply does not help. We run the PnR when Lou is in the game.

    Actually, our first unit has replaced the PnR with a criss-cross play that creates similar weaknesses.

    I'm talking about this play:


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