Posts Tagged ‘Kansas State’
This is a combo post of sorts, as I will be looking at Curtis Kelly but also showing how to be an effective shot blocker. Kelly is one of the best returning shot blockers and the reasons for that add up pretty nicely to a how-to post on blocking shots.
Kelly was the 51st ranked defender in terms of block percentage. With names like Hassan Whiteside and Jarvis Varnado moving on, Kelly is a top 10 returning shot blocker. At only 6’8″, how does he block 2 shots per game on average?
Kelly is athletic enough and has quick enough feet to contain most of the guards in college when he plays help defense on them. Watch the following clip of a pick and roll that features Kelly dropping off and staying with the ball handler on his way to the basket.
This athleticism allows him to be in perfect position to get a block shot on a smaller player. Since he is able to move his feet well enough to stay in position on defense, Kelly is then able to use his height to get the block shot.
Even when an offensive player gets by Kelly, his length is adequate enough to allow him to come from behind and block shots without fouling. A good reach is necessary to block shots on a consistent basis, as you need to be able to deflect shots that others cannot.
Kelly shows this in the following clip, as the Xavier offensive player gets by the defense, but Kelly comes from behind and deflects the shot.
In this second clip, Kelly is fooled by Gordon Hayward’s pump fake but he recovers and is long enough to get a piece of the jump shot. The key to this play is that when Kelly bit on the pump fake, he went straight up in the air with his arms extended straight up. The defender is allowed that space and even if Hayward would have leaned in, a foul may not have been called on Kelly.
Help Side Defense
Help side defense is probably the best way to block shots consistently. When the ballhandler gets by the initial defender, they can either let up on their way to the basket or they may not see the help defense. This gives the defense the advantage and can allow a good shotblocker to earn a few blocked shots.
It is a fine line between being smart in going for a blocked shot and being reckless. Start your leap too soon and the offensive player can dump the ball off to the open man vacated by the shotblocker. They need to pick their spots and challenge shots they think they can block, not just any shot.
Here, Kelly provides great help D as he realizes his teammate is beaten and anticipates the shot at the perfect time to get the block. The one thing I would like to see is to learn to block shots to teammates instead of volleying them out of bounds, but it is a minor critique.
Off the Xavier offensive rebound, Kelly again provides great help defense for Kansas State and protects the rim. The point to notice here is how he anticipates the shot and times his jump at the appropriate time to secure the block.
Kelly showed that he can block shots using several of his talents, from his adequate amount of quickness to his length to his ability to read the situation and time his block attempts. This paid off as he was one of the best shotblockers in the country for a very strong defense.
He did this all without getting in too much foul trouble. He committed 4 fouls per 40 minutes, while playing 62.5% of KSU’s minutes (25 per game). There is no point to be a good shotblocker if you foul at a high rate and cannot stay on the floor, but that is not the player Kelly was last year. He fouled out of zero games and was able to stay on the floor.
Is it sustainable?
I think that Kelly’s block rate will be sustainable this season. Looking through his blocks, he looks impressive in the variety of ways he can block shots, not just relying on his height and length. As long as he continues to be smart about not fouling, I think Kelly will be a premier shot blocker for Kansas State yet again in 2010-2011.
Last year, Jacob Pullen used 26.3% of his teams possessions while he was on the floor. There is no doubt this year he is their #1 scoring option, so I wanted to show some of the ways KSU works to get Pullen open. Some of these are called sets, some are free flowing action and some are motion actions that are a result of some of the sets KSU runs.
Here is the first set I saw that KSU runs for Pullen. With a box set with Pullen on the right block, he first sets a cross screen to open up the player in the post. He then has the option of using a double screen set at the foul line. Although Clemente dumps the ball into the post on this play, Pullen is one of the two main options on this play.
Here is a variation on that play, which has Pullen setting a cross screen for the post man and then receiving a single screen to get open at the top of the key. Again, the play goes to the post again, but Pullen is looking for a jump shot.
Here is another set they run for Pullen, which starts with him in the corner. He then gets two staggered screens set for him as he runs diagonally across the lane. His defender gets caught up in the first screen, as he is not sure how Pullen is going to use this screen. The second screener seals off his own man, allowing Pullen to get the open look.
As you will see throughout the next few videos, KSU loves to run Pullen off multiple screens and get him moving off the ball. Pullen showed he is willing to work off the ball and use screens in order to get open looks.
Running off multiple screens
As I said above, KSU loves to run Pullen off of two screens. In the following two clips, watch how KSU sets the staggered screens in various places on the court. In the first clip. we see it on the opposite side of the lane. In the second clip, we see it on the baseline.
The screeners did a great job of getting a piece of Pullen’s man as he was using the screens. Call it a moving screen if you want, but they were effective in getting Pullen open. As I showed in his scouting post, jump shooting is one of strengths and I am sure KSU will continue to run him off screens this season.
Pick and Roll
Pullen also runs the pick and roll for KSU, although I think he could become much more effective with this action this year. Watch this first clip and notice how he does not turn tightly around the screen but rather loops past it, ruining any chance of him getting to the basket. However, he does do a good job of finding the roll man for the basket but you can see how he is not really looking to create for himself.
When Pullen does use the pick and roll for himself, he likes to split the defense. Watch here as he comes around the screen and splits the defense to get to the lane.
From the other PNR sets I saw Pullen run, he usually loops around the screen and does not really use the screen that well. The PNR can be a major weapon for college teams, as most college big men don’t quite have the grasp on how to defend the entire action yet.
Now KSU does not run much isolation for Pullen, so that may be why he is uncomfortable creating off the PNR. I really hope this was a point of emphasis for him this summer, as he could become a much better offensive player if he felt comfortable creating off the pick and roll.
Harvard Sports Analysis recently broke down whether a team that is tied late in the game with the ball should call a timeout. After looking at the 2009-2010 season, he found that teams that did not call a timeout scored an average of 1.06 points per possession compared to .773 for teams that did call a timeout.
I have always been of this mindset for several reasons. The main point is that when the offense calls a timeout, the defense has time to catch its breath, regroup and set up for the possession. When you don’t call a timeout, the defense can be scrambling and the offense can take advantage of this.
Let’s take a look at one of the best examples of this from last season, Maryland-Michigan State: