Archive for the ‘Player Breakdowns’ Category
If you want a more complete look at Doug McDermott’s offensive skills, you can find a breakdown here. McDermott has many strengths but his post game may be his best feature. He is in the top 10% in the country when it comes to efficiency on possessions described as post ups and the following clips will show why. It starts with McDermott gaining great position on the block and ends with his ability to finish in a variety of ways.
McDermott is often able to gain such favorable position on the block that he does not even need to make a move to score, as he already has his defender sealed. McDermott uses his body to put his defender on his back and not allow his defender to get around him and deflect the pass. This creates a passing lane for the post entry pass and opens up a lane to the rim for McDermott to pivot and finish uncontested. That position can be seen in the frame below.
Despite having the 48th highest offensive rating in the nation before the Notre Dame game at 1.29 points per possession, Cody Zeller was taking only 20.6% of the team’s shots while on the floor, 5th on the team of Indiana players using at least 20% of possessions. A major reason for the lack of shots by Zeller is the inability to get him the ball in the post. Despite what Dick Vitale has been screaming at you, it is not entirely the fault of the guards and I would argue that Zeller deserves the majority of the blame by not making himself open enough and demanding the ball.
When Zeller posts up, he often is not assertive enough when he is on the block and does not give the passer a large enough target to make the pass into him. That can be seen in the first frame below as Zeller has Davis pinned behind him but he needs to do a better job of backing him down to gain better position and making himself wider to give a target for the entry pass.
Of course, some of the blame must be assigned to the guards for not being able to make the entry pass. With no Indiana player in the corner, the ball handler should take a dribble or two to his right and he would be in perfect position to make the entry. However, he remains still and does not have a great angle to make the pass.
There is no doubt Jared Sullinger is the primary offensive option for Ohio State when he is on the floor. However, he is now battling injuries, having missed the Kansas game and playing only 6 minutes in a game against South Carolina. It is unknown how many games he will miss but Deshaun Thomas has stepped up in his absence in a big way. In the two games against Kansas and South Carolina, Thomas scored 49 points on 20 of 30 shooting from the field.
The following videos will show all 20 made field goals by Thomas in these two games, totaling 45 points, as 4 points came from free throws. Thomas has some clear offensive tendencies, which are very different from those of Jared Sullinger but work nicely in an offense possibly playing without Sullinger. If Thomas can continue to produce offense at the rate he has in these two games, Ohio State will be just fine in Sullinger’s absence.
Mid Range Game
Thomas’ bread and butter is his mid range game as Thomas scored 14 of his 45 points (31%) by creating his own mid range shots. Thomas often chooses to pull up and shoot a one handed mid range shot instead of getting all the way to the rim. This is shown in his free throw rate of 23.9%, proving he does not draw contact at the rim very often.
Thomas is capable of taking a few dribbles, pulling up and hitting the mid range jump shot or shooting off the catch. He is comfortable starting with his back to the basket or facing up before he makes his move. His agility allows him to stay on balance and not turn the ball over while his length allows him to shoot over his defender. Although he does not get to the rim, Thomas’ ability to play the mid range game sufficiently will continue to make him an offensive threat.
Draft Express currently has Mouphtaou Yarou going 23rd in the 2012 NBA Draft, mainly based on his physical attributes and his tenacity on the glass. Yarou struggles with both the offensive and defensive aspect of the pick and roll, which was evident in Villanova’s loss to Missouri. Until he improves on at least one side of this, it is hard to see him being a regular contributor to an NBA team as so many of the offenses are based around the pick and roll and Yarou has trouble with running it on offense as well as defending the action.
The first area of improvement for Yarou on the offensive side of the pick and roll is his screen. He comes to the ball handler at a bad angle and doesn’t set himself for the screen, which doesn’t allow him to get a piece of the defender. By not screening the defender, the play is easily defended from the outset. He needs to take his time on the screen and ensure he gets a piece of the defender. Some of this is on the ball handler but Yarou has to set up his teammate to use a strong screen to initiate the pick and roll.
The current leader in offensive rating for players who have used at least 28% of their team’s possessions is Creighton’s Doug McDermott at 127.2, as he has contributed 24.4 points per game as the Bluejays have started 7-0. McDermott is still somewhat under the national radar but he has shown he is one of the best offensive players in the nation early in the season, posting a true shooting percentage of 71.6%, 20th in the nation. He has a polished offensive game and can score in a variety of ways. As Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Eisenberg noted, he makes the game look effortless on the offensive end.
While UNC’s Tyler Zeller is current holder of the best big man in transition title, McDermott can give him a run for his money. When Creighton gets a defensive rebound, McDermott immediately sprints for the opposite rim and often finds himself beating everyone down the floor. While Creighton does not have Kendall Marshall at point guard, they have capable distributors who can find McDermott ahead of the pack for the easy finish. This gives McDermott many easy baskets and illustrates how Creighton’s offense is running at a high level early in the season, as it currently ranks 10th in the nation in offensive efficiency.
8 games into his freshman campaign, Anthony Davis has all the traits of a superstar in the making. His offensive rating is 121.3 while using 20.8% of Kentucky’s possessions while on the floor. His true shooting percentage is 65.8% (92nd overall and 17th among freshmen). He grabs 12.3% and 21.2% of available offensive and defensive rebounds, respectively while his overall rebound rate of 18% puts him 9th among freshmen. He is making a major impact on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. (If you haven’t made the investment in a kenpom subscription yet, go there now).
All that said, Davis is not yet a finished product, which is perfectly normal for a freshman. Let’s take a quick look at how he can improve on his defensive rebounding and allow fewer offensive rebounds. As shown above, Davis is already a great defensive rebounder, thanks to his incredible length and athleticism. His defensive rebound rate of 21.2% ranks 182nd overall and 8th in the SEC (second among SEC freshmen, behind Johnny O’Bryant of LSU).
The way Davis can become a better rebounder is to become more physical on the defensive glass and use his body to push his defender out of the play. On most plays through the first 8 games, Davis simply gets himself to the front of the rim and relies on his length and jumping ability to grab the loose ball instead of boxing out his opponent. It is a very simple concept but one that Davis needs to work on this season.
Let’s take a look at some of the plays where Davis corrals the defensive rebound. Watch how Davis simply stands in front of his opponent (if one is in the area) instead of pushing his defender away from the rim and grabbing the rebound by being more athletic than his opponent.
While getting to the front of the rim and trying to out leap opponents is a good strategy on the offensive glass, it is not a skillful play on the defensive glass. His inability to push defenders back will allow players to out rebound him as they push him under the basket, fight for better position undeterred or simply time their leap better to grab the loose ball.
You can see several examples of this in the following video. With Davis not using his lower body to push his opponent back, he has a tendency to give up offensive rebounds as he allows the offensive player to stay in the play and fight for the rebound. He can get more space to grab the rebound while taking his opponent out of the play if he focuses more on boxing his opponent out and driving them away from the rim.
Davis is already a great rebounder and as a freshman, it is no surprise he has yet to master the boxout, as he has been able to get away with relying on his natural abilities to rebound in his playing career up to this point. If he works more on his box out on the defensive glass, he will quickly turn from a great rebounder into an elite rebounder.
In the scouting report for Terrell Stoglin, one thing that was noted that he needed to work on was his ability to stay under control in the half court. In their game against Alabama, Stoglin struggled in the half court, shooting 0-9 from the field as Maryland stumbled to a 72.4 offensive efficiency. Partial credit has to go to the suffocating defense of Alabama but Stoglin still needs to work on his ability to stay under control in the half court.
In this first play, we see Stoglin blow by the full court press of Alabama. He has a full head of steam going into the paint but cannot control himself to finish at the rim. JaMychal Green does challenge him at the rim, forcing a tough attempt, but Stoglin needs to do a better job of collecting himself when he gets into the lane to put up a better shot or draw a foul.
Through 2 games, God’s Gift Achiuwa is shooting 12-17 from the field, many of these shots coming from inside the paint. St. John’s has only played two games, both against weaker non-conference opponents, but let’s take an early look at Achiuwa’s post game.
Achiuwa’s post moves are not very refined at the moment, as he has relied more on his strength and athleticism to score in the opening two games. To be successful, he needs to get great position on the block in order to make it easy for him to score. However, he does not always focus on getting good position and the guards cannot feed him the ball. The Red Storm will struggle shooting from the outside (6-24 from 3 in two games) so it is imperative they get the ball inside to help their offense. Achiuwa needs to be more cognizant of fighting for favorable position, so that he can get open to receive the pass.
In the following two clips, watch Achiuwa battle in the post and how he doesn’t always work to get around the defender in a position where he can catch an entry pass.
Our next scouting report will look at Khyle Marshall of Butler, a 6’7″ forward who will be partly responsible for picking up the lost production of Matt Howard. Although they will miss Howard, a frontcourt of Andrew Smith and Marshall has the potential to be just fine in the Horizon League. Marshall showed several good things in flashes last year but still has several areas to work on as a sophomore.
Finishing at the rim
Marshall’s biggest strength is his ability to finish at the rim, even in traffic. When he gets the ball under the rim off a catch or rebound, he is able to keep himself under control and finish the tough layups near the rim.
Marshall effectively uses his body to prevent defenders from blocking shots, as he often sticks his lower body out which leaves defenders unable to challenge the shot. When there is a defender challenging his shot, Marshall has the ability to finish under pressure and often draws a foul, as evidenced by his 43.6% free throw rate last season.
Butler might not have a player who can create their own shot this season. This makes this skill incredibly useful, as Marshall will need to be able to convert these tough layups at the rim to help Butler put points on the board, either in open plays or off offensive rebounds.
Terrell Stoglin was Luke Winn’s top pick as a breakout sophomore player and I see little reason to disagree. Stoglin had several great games last season as a freshman, with 4 games over 20 points. He should see an increase on his 53.8% minute percentage last season while becoming one of the main offensive threats on a guard oriented Maryland team. Let’s take a brief look at some of his strengths and his areas where he could improve. Remember, this is not a comprehensive scouting report on his entire game.
Stoglin is arguably the fastest player in the ACC and he knows how to use his speed in the open court. He is great at leading the transition game and can read the defense and know when to attack the defense and when to find the open teammate. When he gets in the open court with the ball, few players can keep up with him and slow him down.
This first sequence will show Stoglin in the open court attacking the rim. He is not the biggest player (he is listed at 6’1″ but I estimate him more in the 5’10″-5’11″ range) but his speed allows him to beat the defense down the court and get a layup at the rim before the defense can challenge his shot.