Archive for the ‘Team Breakdowns’ Category
After scouting fellow sophomore Devin Thomas’ strengths and weaknesses, our attention turns to Codi Miller-McIntyre and will investigate whether he can be a point guard for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons this season or whether he is better suited to playing off the ball.
First, let’s review some of his statistical measures from last season to start determining about whether he should play more with the ball in his hands. Per KenPom.com, his assist rate was 19.4%, which ranked behind teammate Madison Jones’ 22.6% and 17th in the ACC. He struggled a bit with turnovers, turning the ball over 20.4% of the time, which is a poor mark, even for a freshman. Draft Express has his pure point rating at -0.64.
In the video, we see similar mixed results. CMM can attack the rim well with the ball off the dribble but he doesn’t always make the best decisions, which leads to turnovers.
Off the Dribble
In the first few clips below, you can see CMM penetrate off the dribble into the lane and finish at the rim or find a teammate for a layup attempt. He has a quick first step that allows him to beat the defense and get to the rim. One thing he can improve on for next year is drawing more contact in the lane, which would allow him to get to the foul line more often. Last season, he shot only 46 free throws (19.2% free throw rate) while shooting 56.5% on these free throws.
This sample size is a bit too small for us to determine if he is a poor free throw shooter but regardless, he needs to get to the line more. In the first two clips, you see him avoid the defense to attempt the shot instead of absorbing the contact to draw the foul. He can work on driving into the teeth of the defense, drawing contact and finishing or drawing the foul to make the offensive possession a successful one.
At the end of the clip, you can see where CMM struggles with turnovers. He is careless with the ball at times, which allows the defense to take the ball from him. If he wants to play with the ball in his hands more, he’ll need to cut down on these turnovers.
In Part 1, it was shown how Al Jefferson will immediately improve the Bobcats offense through his post skills, both his scoring ability as well as his passing prowess, which will open up opportunities for players such as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Ben Gordon.
Jefferson will also impact the way that the Bobcats run and utilize the pick and roll with Kemba Walker. Walker was the key to the Bobcats being ranked 3rd in the league in plays categorized as pick and roll ball handler, as the Bobcats scored 0.84 points per possession (PPP), while using this type of play 15.2% of the time. Their roll man stats weren’t as good, as they ranked 28th on only 0.84 PPP.
While Walker played a main role in the Bobcats being so good in pick and roll situations, Bismack Biyombo played just as integral a part in these plays. While it is no shock that Biyombo offers little on the offensive end, which was illustrated through his post game in the previous post, he offers some other aspects to the team. He is a great screener and it shows in the pick and roll game.
The following clips show how Walker was able to use these screens by Biyombo to get to the rim easily or take advantage of a matchup against a bigger, slower player. Biyombo takes pride in his screens and is less interested in rolling to the rim than he is in freeing Walker. By getting a piece of Walker’s man, Biyombo gives Walker the space needed to get to the rim.
The Bobcats made possibly their biggest free agent signing in their young franchise’s history by locking up Al Jefferson for three years, in what many critics see as a move to get the team from awful to simply mediocre. While it remains to be seen just how far the signing of Jefferson will be able to take the Bobcats, it’s clear he represents a major upgrade on the offensive end. His contributions (or lack there of) on the defensive end aside solely for the purposes of this article, the one thing that is nearly guaranteed because of this signing is that the Bobcats just got extremely better on offense and should see an uptick in their 28th ranked 101.5 offensive rating.
Jefferson brings his career 16.4 points per game on 50% field goal shooting to a poor offense and should anchor the offense on the block. It’s apparent that the offensive strategy of the Bobcats is about to flip completely, as offensive possessions ended by Jefferson, as logged by Synergy, ended in a post up 45.7% of the time,. while scoring 0.89 points per possession (PPP), 44th in th league. . Meanwhile, the Bobcats posted up only 7.5% of the time and were the 26th ranked team in terms of PPP, at 0.73.
The below clips shows the immediate impact Jefferson will bring to the Bobcats, as a player that can be relied on to score in the post. He does not show advanced footwork to beat the defender but has a nice array of moves that allow him to get past the defender depending on how they are playing him.
The most recent post showed how the Pacers were so great at forcing low efficiency long jump shots. Part of this focused on the pick and roll defense of the Pacers and how their strategy forced these long two point shots. Is there a way to exploit the strategy employed by the Pacers to consistently score?
The most effective way to exploit the Pacers pick and roll defense is to get Roy Hibbert more involved in the primary screening action. Hibbert rates as a good pick and roll defender, according to Synergy Sports, allowing 0.92 points per possession (76th in the league). However, further review of the video shows that on most of these plays, Hibbert was the help defender meeting the roll man at the rim and he was not defending the screener.
Teams will likely force Hibbert to defend the ball screen more often next season as they try to find a crack in the Pacers defense. As demonstrated yesterday, the Pacers sag the screener’s defender into the paint, which works in HIbbert’s favor. By not having to hedge, he can still control the paint and choke off any possible driving action.
Offenses can take advantage of this by using Hibbert’s man to set the ball screen, which forces Hibbert to be more involved in the action. This gives the offense a few good options to get high percentage shots. The open space on the court out of this action is usually centered around the foul line extended, which is where the Pacers want to force the offense in hopes of forcing a jump shot.
When Hibbert is guarding the roll man and not the rim, the Pacers are vulnerable. Hibbert is too slow to match up with a driving big man and there is no one left to protect the rim. Hibbert is comfortable in the paint, cutting off the dribble drive, but looks unsure of himself when he has to guard 15 feet from the basket. This allows the big man to cut to the rim or drive past Hibbert after receiving the kick out pass. It does take a skilled big man to be able to drive past Hibbert to the rim but it is one way the offense can find a seam in the pick and roll defense.
Indiana rode the best defense, in terms of points per possession, all the way to the brink of the NBA Finals. They posted a 99.8 defensive rating and one of the main reasons they were so successful was their tendency to force the opponent off the three point line and into long two point attempts.
According to HoopData, the Pacers led the league in forcing two point attempts from 16-23 feet, as opponents attempted 23.5 per game while making only 39.4%. They also led the league in opponents two point attempts from 10-15 feet at 7.6 per game, with opponents shooting 38.6%. Conversely. they allowed the second fewest three point attempts per game at 16.6.
One of the biggest factors for this is the Roy Hibbert effect. When you think of a defense led by a premier shotblocker, the tendency is to focus on the blocks or altered shots at the rim. However, this negates the effect he has on taking away the penetration to the lane or passes out of dribble penetration.
The clips below highlight this effect but it will also be prevalent in the other clips presented to show how the Pacers force long jump shots. Coming off a screen, Dwyane Wade looks to have a nice lane to drive into the paint. However, with Roy Hibbert patrolling the paint, Wade pulls up for a long two point attempt. Although this is an open attempt, the Pacers are happy with this attempt instead of Wade driving into the lane to create.
Georgia State is one of the early surprises so far this season, as Ron Hunter is leading a team that has reeled off 11 straight wins, including three in the Colonial Athletic Association after dropping the first three games of the season. They are doing it with defense, as they have a 87.1 overall defensive efficiency, 11th in the country, and a 67.6 efficiency in the country, putting them at the top of the conference.
They play mainly zone defense and they show several different looks, including a 1-2-2 zone defense and a 2-3 zone, among other variations. One of the main reasons their defense has been so strong and a key to their current winning streak is their three point defense, as opponents are shooting only 30.9% against them. In their three opening losses, all three teams shot the ball above their current average from beyond the arc. In the 11 games since then, only three teams have shot better than their average from behind the three point line.
While some teams put their guards at the foul line and sit back in their zone defense, Georgia State extends the zone and forces the offense to initiate their sets from several feet beyond the three point line. With the guards pressuring the ball at the top of the key, the rest of the defenders often match up out of the zone and pack the paint.
Look at the guards pressuring the ball out past the three point line. This makes it difficult for the offense to get the ball to the weak spots in the zone, such as the high post or short corner and forces the wing players to move higher up the floor to create passing lanes for the ball handler.
The Murray State Racers are here to stay and will continue to be in the national spotlight as long as they stay undefeated. While their overall strength of schedule is not very strong, they do have a good win over Memphis to accompany some solid victories over Southern Mississippi and Dayton, proving that they are for real. Their offense is the bread and butter to their success, as they have an adjusted efficiency of 109.8, 39th in the nation. They have had only one game below one point per possession, their win against UAB where they only managed 0.95 PPP.
The offense is dominated by guard penetration, led by Isaiah Canaan, who has an offensive rating of 125.5. Murray State runs few sets but relies on pick and rolls and dribble penetration to open up the floor. They space the floor with shooters who shoot 43.5% from beyond the arc (6th in the country). This allows their guards to find lanes for their dribble drives, which helps them shoot 51% on two point shots.
Here is a shot from a drive by Zay Jackson (the second clip in the video below). You can see one of the defenders scrambling out to Canaan, a dangerous three point shooter. With no help, Jackson is able to slice through the lane to the rim. Murray State also keeps a forward on the block, who opens up to the middle of the floor when his teammate drives to be available for the dump off pass.
Over the past few seasons, Michigan State’s Draymond Green has earned endless praise for his basketball IQ, which is well deserved. However, one player with a significant amount of basketball IQ who does not get as much credit for it is Pitt’s Nasir Robinson. Nothing he does is flashy, but his moves on the court are calculated and intelligent. This fast break shows that, as Nasir Robinson recognizes the opening and exploits the defense for a layup.
After the missed shot by Notre Dame, Pitt pushes the ball down the floor and leaves three Notre Dame defenders behind the ball. The key here is that Pitt moves the ball by the way of the pass, instead of the dribble (illustrated in blue). This moves the ball quickly down the court and allows Pitt to play three on two in the frontcourt.
They have flown under the radar so far, but I have been impressed with the start by Loyola (MD), as they currently sit at 8-1, with their only loss coming in their opening game to Wake Forest. While they don’t have a signature win, they have 2-0 in MAAC conference play so far and look ready to challenge Iona and Fairfield for conference supremacy. While those two teams are still the favorite, the Greyhounds should be able to give them a run for their money.
Their adjusted offensive efficiency for all games is 102.0 (123rd in the country), while their efficiency through two conference games is 106.0, 4th in the conference. They rely on two aspects for their offense: scoring from Dylon Cormier and offensive rebounds.
Dylon Cormier dribble drives
Loyola (MD) has a near perfect allocation of possessions, as their most efficient player (who plays at least 60% of minutes), Cormier, uses the most possessions. Cormier takes 25.7% of shots and has the highest offensive rating on the team at 118.5, which is first in the conference for players using at least 24% of possessions.
Cormier averages 17.9 points per game, while posting a 57.7% effective field goal percentage, sixth in the conference. He gets a majority of his points by penetrating to the rim and finishing in traffic. The defense is surrounding him in the following frames as Cormier drives to the rim, yet he is able to finish the close range shot with several opponents surrounding him.
Against Boston University, Villanova was frustrated into an offensive efficiency of around 0.9 points per possession, well below their average of 110.6 coming into the game. Much of this was due to the zone defense of Boston, as Villanova struggled to dribble penetrate against the zone and settled for a large number of three point shots. While the offense of Boston was not enough to keep them in the game, they showed that a zone defense could cause Villanova to struggle on offense.
While some credit has to go to Boston for taking away dribble penetration, the inability of the Villanova guards to penetrate into the penetrate to open up space for the offense is a bit troubling. The defense did do a great job of not allowing penetration, as you can see from the following frame. Look at the defense shaded toward the ball, to take away the driving lanes.