Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Phoenix Spurs

I am very happy to watch this series because Shaq-Duncan is fun. The teams are well matched.  The coaches are good and their adjustments clever. The players exciting and sound.   And most of all,  Two men enter, one man leave.  


Sony said...

Shaq was useful early on, playing Duncan to a standstill, even if he couldn't get over on help defense. But Shaq hasn't been capable of playing 30 minutes of NBA action in a long time.

He was so gassed by the fourth quarter, Kurt Thomas played him straight up and Shaq just passed out of the post (I remember that a lot from Detroit sweeping the Lakers).

If I was coaching, I'd play Shaq about 3-4 minutes a quarter and then let him have 10 in the fourth.

flyE said...

I started thinking about making a simple Basketball Scorecard -- something to keep my hands busy during a game. I realize that the typical play-by-play online just isn't very helpful since it is just a recitiation of stats (missed jumper, rebound, turnover, etc.).

What I would do is have an 'action' column, then one for rebounds/turnovers/fouls, and one for shots. The latter two are pretty much what you get now, but the first would be my big improvement.

'Action' would refer to the floor activity that results in a shot (or foul/turnover if appropriate). In general, this would be whatever gave the offense an advantage (or not) in getting a shot off. Top Actions from Suns/Spurs might look like:

Parker Pick&Roll Duncan
Shaq Low Post
Amare High Post
Nash Pick&Roll Diaw
Fast Break
Secondary Break

Many times someone involved in the Action isn't getting the shot -- Shaq gets doubled in the post and kicks out to Barbosa for the shot. Or help comes on the pick&roll and the ball is kicked out to a shooter.

Anyway, I was thinking about this while watching the Suns/Spurs last night. In the monster 3rd quarter, the Spurs would've looked like:

Finley Off-Ball Screen
Parker Pick&Roll Duncan
Parker Pick&Roll Scola
Manu Pick&Roll Udoka
etc., etc.

I should mention "broken play" or "1-on-1" as Actions, since that was half of what the Suns did in that quarter. They didn't even get many fast breaks, although they did get some secondary break shots.

So to Sony's point, was "Shaq Low Post" a losing play? I'm not so sure about that, although he was gassed. Frankly it was all bad D, just pick&roll after pick&roll with Shaq's man, and NO ONE coming to help so either the ball handler or the roller got the shot. That's unacceptable.

Sony said...

I really like that idea and I think if you do it, the experience of writing it down will fine-tune the "action" descriptions.

I think that an action that appears neutral (kick in to Shaq low post v. Kurt Thomas, stand still, kick out to first Sun that shows) is generally negative because it absorbs precious seconds off the shot clock. Not a bog problem for the suns.

You'd need an action for PGs that says, "strolls", menaing that it takes them 10 seconds to bring the ball up from the back court and into an effective position. Derek fisher collects those by the dozen & Nash's next one will be his first.

flyE said...

This was actually quite fun and enlightening. I scorecarded the Spurs/Suns Q3 of game 3 -- Spurs were up 61-47, then outscored the Suns 30-25 in that quarter.

Some stats. These are all 'scoring opportunities' so I didn't track plays that didn't lead to a shot or freethrows.

On-ball Pick - 10-17 FG, 3-3 FT
Off-ball Pick- 1-2 FG
Low Post - 1-1 FG
Zone Penetration - 1-1 FG
No Advantage - 0-1 FG

On-ball Pick - 4-7 FG, 1-2 FT
1-on-1 - 3-4 FG
Fast Break - 2-4 FG
Secondary Break - 1-3 FG
Off-ball Pick - 1-2 FG
Low Post - 0-1 FG
Off. Rebound - 0-0 FG, 2-2 FT

Totally by chance did I pick an interesting quarter for this... Parker and Manu just burning the Suns left and right with pick&roll action. Of the 18 scoring opportunities, 10 were Parker/Duncan, 3 were Manu/Duncan, 3 were Parker/Oberto, 2 were Manu/Oberto.

Now, I wonder why the Spurs would choose to use their center for so much pick & roll activity?

flyE said...

Also, here is my list of 'actions' so far, although I haven't done the Lakers yet:

1) On-ball Pick: picking the ball handler's man
2) Off-ball Pick: pick not involving the ball handler
3) Hand-off Pick: ball handler sets the pick
4) 1-on-1
5) Low Post
6) Mid Post
7) High Post
8) Fast Break: transition directly to a shot
9) Secondary Break: no direct shot, but offense takes advantage of mismatch caused by transition
10) Double-Team: Like 1-on-1, except double comes before any off. move is made (see: Kobe, defending)
11) Defensive Overplay: any advantage gained by defense overplaying a pass, fumble, etc.
12) Defensive Breakdown: e.g., two guys covering the same man on accident and leaving another player open
13) Cut/Flash: or any offensive cut or flash that creates an advantage on its own, e.g. back-door cut alley-oop
14) Zone Penetration: Any pass or dribble into the middle of a zone that creates an advantage
15) Zone Passing: Any reverse or over-the-top passing against a zone that creates an advantage
16) Offensive Rebound: like a tip-in, any off. rebound that becomes an advantage
17) No Advantage: nothing worked, just jack up a shot
18) Non-shooting foul: off-ball foul that leads to freethrows
19) Technical foul