wall_glizzy wrote:I'd be interested in talking about the ongoing development of NBA strategy, both in terms of positional fixations ("playmaking wings" seems to be the new one) and possible contrarian approaches which might allow us to get surplus value from signing certain out-of-fashion player/positional archetypes and/or allow us to exploit more widely-adopted "modern" strategies. We'll leave it for a future thread!
(From the trade thread discussion on Myles Turner and whether defense shows up as a quantifiable box score stat on â€˜shots deterredâ€™)
Iâ€™m always up for looking at the shifting game behind the game. Not just the tactics of Xâ€™s and Oâ€™s In coaching but seeing what inefficiencies are being unexploited in team building and what areas of the game are not being emphasized.
For a while Iâ€™ve been banging on about how the rise in 3pt shooting leads to many more rebounds, and that a team that can snatch those boards and score with a 50%+ 2pt efficiency will be able to manage and control the outside gunning streaky pace and space strategy.
Then the Bucks and Spurs began emphasizing the methodology. And Kawhi won a chip with the North doing exactly that.
With 3pt shooting you get a chance to win even if youâ€™re the lesser team. Any squad can get hot. But interior scoring is more reliable. Even the best outside gunning team still misses 6 out of 10 shots.
Now. Those are long bounces. You need decent rebounders at all positions. Or a dominant rebounder who Hooverâ€™s boards outside of their area. You need smart box outs by all players. Yes, teams with tall rangy active outside defenders who force a miss on that 3pt shot will have an advantage. As will any team with Giannis. Kawhi. Who can snatch that board on either side of the game and also score unstoppably from the midrange.
Teams have begun to notice. The Rockets yearly flame out on Moreyball ended up jettisoning their last couple coaches. The teams that have ascended in the playoffs have true Bigs playing a real role.
In fact I suspect we begin to see a new role ascendant. The role of the play making skilled Big. Nuggets. Lakers. Miami. All have sweet passing big men who help direct the action from their gun tower height. People overlook that even the small ball success of the Warriors was captained by a master of the P/R in Draymond who controlled the game from the interior with smart choices and sweet passing.
This is not a new concept. Bill Russell won a double handful of rings running his team from the high post on both ends. European teams commonly have won with the so called Princeton offense that was borrowed from those same Celtics dynasties.
The unicorn you are looking for here is not an outside shooting small ball center who drifts to the outside, but an active, mobile, smart decision maker who passes well from the pivot position. Yes it helps if they can hit a jump shot from the free throw line and out. (Or hey, a skyhook like Kareem. Another forgotten skill.) But it helps more if they can recognize the cutter on a back door. Pass to the aerial lanes on a lob dunk. And make the pinpoint pass to the open sniper on the outside.
And on the other side you need that player to defend like Myles Turner. Not necessarily a dominant rebounder. But a guy who can play defense from the pivot position. That is: he can cover the screen and still recover to block the shot on the interior. Ideally corralling it for his squad. Or when possible swatting it towards the far basket to initiate the break.
I think smart Bigs are the next shiny player that teams will spend for in the arms race. Not stretch Bigs. But passing ones.
Until we get a big man who can teach this play the best place to find them is still Europe. Especially Eastern Europe in particular where the senior Sabonis is revered as a demigod and basketball academies teach fundamentals and passing from infancy.