The Daily Pick And Roll (06/29/09)

June 29, 2009

*UPDATE*(07/01/09)

Yeah, so it is taking me much, much longer to go through the SEC recruits and pick out which ones I think are at the top of the pile, and then do enough research to write a solid tidbit on them.  I spent the last hour and 40 minutes or so working on it and only got about 5 guys down and I have at least 5 more to go.  So it is going to be another day on this…

*END UPDATE*

*UPDATE* (06/30/09)

I didn’t finish the recruiting breakdown last night… ok I’ll admit it, I didn’t even start it.  I absolutely will tonight though.  Won’t be able to work on it untill I get  home from work though because I am swamped tonight.

*END UPDATE*

Well, it has been a few days since my last post; and I just wanted to get something up here to show that the blog isn’t dead.  I have come to the conclusion though that daily updates, during the offseason at least, are just way too much work.  Believe it or not, with no headlines or games to discuss it is more work to come up with an idea for a daily post than it actually is to write it.

So until the season rolls around the Daily Pick And Roll isn’t going to be so daily.  I’m still hoping to do at least one special post each week though.  Closer to the end of the summer when the rosters are more final and schedules are released I am going to profile the SEC teams.

Tonight when I get home I am going to being work on, and might possibly finish and post, a quick look at the top recruits coming into the SEC this year.

Two things of note: UK has filed a motion to have Billy Gillespie’s lawsuit either dismissed or moved to the state of Kentucky.  Former Duke guard Elliot Williams has announced he is transferring to Memphis to be closer to his ailing mother.

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The Daily Pick And Roll (06/25/09)

June 25, 2009

 

The question of where Vanderbilt fell in the 09 Maui Invitational came up over on the SECFanatics forum, so I figured I’d take a stab and ranking the field.

 Ranking The 2009 Maui Invitational:

1st place: Maryland                   5th place: Arizona

2nd place: Vanderbilt                6th place: Cincinnati

3rd place: Wisconsin                  7th place: Colorado

4th place: Gonzaga                     8th place: Chaminade

 Maryland and Vanderbilt return key players and add talent.  Wisconsin, Gonzaga, and Arizona lose guys to graduation and/or the draft.  Cincinnati has just never taken off under Mick Cronin.  Chaminade belongs in the Big-12 just as much as Colorado does; or at least that is how it seems with the way Colorado has played over the past few seasons.  Of course all of this really depends on the initial pairings.

 

Hastily Made Cleveland Trade:  (if you haven’t seen the Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video then you need to)

 Changing gears a bit I’d like to say something about the Shaq trade in the NBA.  I’ve seen lots of people talking about this and questioning if Shaq is a good move for the long haul.  It’s obvious that he isn’t; but I don’t think the Cleveland brass is thinking about the long haul here.  They know James could be leaving next year, so it is their best shot at winning a title.  When you look at Cleveland from this past season the first thing you notice is that James was the only threat to score.  You could have played a box defense on James, leaving every other player wide-open and the Cavs still couldn’t have beaten most teams in the league.  It took James going every night and being the workhorse scorer.

 By bringing in Shaq you are bringing in a guy who can still put up 15 or 16 points a night and be a second focusing point for the defense.  That is 15 points a night that James doesn’t have to score for Cleveland to win.  This also helps Cleveland’s case for keeping James.  Sure, Shaq isn’t the long-term answer, but this shows that Cleveland is willing to do what it takes to help build something with James instead of on top of James.


The Daily Pick And Roll (06/24/09)

June 24, 2009

In honor of tomorrow’s NBA draft I have decided to use today’s Daily Pick And Roll to talk about a guy you’ve probably never heard of but should have.  His name is Lester Hudson and he played the last two seasons for the University Of Tennessee at Martin.  The 6’3” combo guard averaged over 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists per game.  He dropped 20 points on both Tennessee and Southern California.  Most guys learn to play the game, but Lester Hudson was born to play it.

Hudson can play at either the one or two positions, though his true ability as a distributing point guard is as of yet unknown- because he scored on the majority of his team’s possessions.  He isn’t a selfish player though, quite the opposite, he loves to make the guys around him better; there just wasn’t another dynamic scorer on the UTM roster. 

How he came to be at UTM is as inspiring as the numbers he puts up.  Hudson grew up in a rough part of Memphis, where he rarely attended school.  The coach at his high school found him in a gym class one day, he got Lester going to classes and playing on the team.  But Hudson was ruled ineligible to play his senior year because of age restrictions.  After losing basketball Hudson began to slip back into his old ways and eventually left school without a diploma.

His coach got him into a junior college where he earned his GED but failed to meet the core requirements for graduating.  An assistant at UTM, and an acquaintance of Hudson’s high school coach, brought Hudson onto campus.  Unfortunately since Hudson hadn’t graduated from junior college, he had to sit out his first year at UTM and take out a student loan to pay his own way.

Now as a senior he is entering in to the NBA draft where he is most likely a lock in the second round.  I personally am hoping Hudson comes in his rookie year and lights it up.


Offensive Breakdown: The DDM

June 23, 2009

*Disclaimer: This is my understanding of the basic concepts of this offense.  There are literally more individual variations of each offense than there are separate offensive sets.  I don’t claim to be an expert at any variation of said offenses, I just do my best to understand the basics.*

The Dribble Drive Motion offense (DDM) has taken the basketball world by storm. Much like how the spread offense has penetrated every level of football, elements of the DDM are now being used by everything from club teams to professional teams. Unlike more traditional offenses that rely on advancing the ball via the pass the DDM, as the name would imply, uses dribble penetration.

At first glance understanding how the DDM works seems like a daunting task. In reality the offense in the half-court is based on a few simple concepts:

-Attack from the weak side.
-Everyone rotates to fill the open spot when the ball moves forward.
-The ball handler has the option to dump to the post, kick out to the wing, or score.
-Always keep proper spacing.
-The post player always dives to the opposite side of the lane.

Basic Continuity

In this very simple diagram you can see the basic continuity that makes up the offense. The Point Guard (1) drives the ball looking for the lay up. He has to read the defense to determine what to do. If the post defender helps over to stop him then he should pass to the Center (5). If the wing defender helps over to stop him then he should kick out to the Wing (3).

You can see that the Shot Guard (2) rotates over to fill the PG’s spot and the opposite Wing (4) moves up to fill the Shot Guards empty spot. This movement also opens up a back pass to the SG. After the PG gets rid of the ball he moves over to fill the spot left open by the opposite Wing. Now looking at the floor it looks nearly identical to the original set. You now simply rinse and repeat.

This is the most basic continuity that makes the offense work. Of course things are added to this, but this shows off the underlying concepts that everything else utilizes.

The DDM relies very heavily on the players being able to read what the defense is giving them. If you have a very skilled post player who has the advantage over his defender you can start the play the reversing the ball to the SG at the top of the key. The post player can then post briefly allowing the SG time to attempt a pass. If that pass isn’t there then the post player moves to the other side of the floor to switch the strong and weak sides. The play could then be run with the SG making the first drive.

Moving Without The Ball

On top of the basic concepts, you can also add rules for how to move without the ball.

1) Never move toward the ball. This destroys spacing.
2) If the ball is dribbled towards you around the outside then you either:

a. Cut backdoor
b. Set a screen

Again, reading the defense is key here. If your defender is over playing you then setting a screen would simply clog things up; and if your defender is sagging way off then going back door is useless.

This is the DDM broken down into a simplified dribble penetration continuity offense. I know it isn’t much, but honestly I don’t know what else to talk about. If you have any questions feel free to post them in the comments section. I am more than happy, no in fact I would be ecstatic, to answer your questions to the best of my ability.


The Daily Pick And Roll (06/23/09)

June 23, 2009

It is the offseason, and the headlines reflect it.  Nothing really to report on today other than ESPNU is playing college basketball games again tonight, and I believe they are also replaying the 1998 Powerade Jam Fest.

 

Since there isn’t much to cover today I’m going to start a segment called Controversial Call where I will give my opinion on a basketball related hot topic making its way around the internet. 

*Update: I also hope to start working on a breakdown of the DDM offense tonight when I get home from work.*
 

Controversial Call

 

The so-called one-and-done rule has inevitably changed the face of college basketball.  Talent that used to go straight to playing in the NBA now spends a year haphazardly attending college classes and pouring in points during the NCAA tournament.  Now, I don’t want to paint all one-and-done players with the same brush.  I know that not all of them take junk classes and skip so much that they kill their teams APR.  Some of them even end up sticking around for more than one year; but lets be honest about it, most of them wouldn’t be in college if it wasn’t for the rule.

This has been a boon for low-major and mid-major programs.  Talent that used to find its way onto the floor in Lexington and Chapel Hill now plays in Starkville and Spokane.  There is a real sense of parity in college basketball these days.  Being a big proponent of mid-major schools, I think this parity is great as a spectator of the game.  One has to ask himself/herself then if parity is worth making a sham of higher education.  Does having players who don’t want to be there watering down what used to make college basketball so great?

The answer, to me at least, is that yes it is ruining what used to be special about college basketball.  The top players in the country no longer care about winning national titles.  They no longer have the same passion for their school or hatred for their rivals.  They are simply there to bid their time until the end of June.


2009/10 SEC Predictions

June 23, 2009

Here are my very, very early SEC predictions. Individual team profiles will come later.

SEC East:

Kentucky

Tennessee

Vandy

South Carolina

Florida

Georgia

SEC West:

Mississippi State

LSU

Arkansas

Ole Miss

Alabama

Auburn

Overall SEC:

Kentucky

Mississippi State

Tennessee

LSU

Vandy

South Carolina

Arkansas

Florida

Ole Miss

Alabama

Auburn

Georgia

Kentucky and Mississippi State are obviously the two front-runners this year. Both have legitimate shots at deep runs in March. Kentucky has gotten the most media attention this off-season, but if things click for the Bulldogs then they can be just as legitimate of Final Four contenders as the Wildcats. It isn’t often that talk of the nations best frontcourt begins and ends in the same conference, but between Patterson/Orton/Cousins and Varnado/Riek/Sidney no other team in the country is going to have the same talent under the rim as UK or MSU. (And that is leaving out both teams reserves like Perry Stevenson from UK and Romero Osby from MSU- both of whom were four-star players coming out of high school.)

Tennessee checks in next. They basically return the same super athletic team that was a bit of a let down for Vol fans this past season. If you look at the Volunteers 13 losses last year as a bolt of lightning, then I’m betting lightning won’t strike the same team twice.

Not far behind UT is LSU. LSU doesn’t have the same firepower a lot of the SEC teams, including several other West teams; but what LSU does have is coach Trent Johnson and small forward Tasmin Mitchell. Both of those guys are the real deal. I’m not sure if they are just that good, or just that lucky, but when you put one of them on the sidelines and the other on the floor they are going to beat good teams going away.

I have LSU picked to finish fourth in the league, but nipping on their heels—and probably with more media attention—is Vanderbilt. Kevin Stallings may look like Bill Kirchenbauer from “Just The Ten Of Us” but he coaches at times like Red Auerbach. With returning experience and incoming talent (most notably shooting talent) Vandy is a team that should stay in the polls all year.

South Carolina is an X-factor type of team. They have the talent in the backcourt to be a great team, but the question is can they produce the wins consistently enough? Even with a season similar to last season they will receive a bit more national respect simply because the perception of the conference is up.

Arkansas, Florida, Ole Miss, Alabama, and Auburn are the logjam of the conference. I personally thing Arkansas and Florida will rise above the rest and be bubble teams at the end of the year. That said I honestly couldn’t pick Ole Miss, Alabama or Auburn to have bad seasons. Ole Miss might have the best guard duo on the conference. Alabama has a solid talent base and a coach who could work magic. Even perennial last place pick Auburn had success last year under Jeff Lebo.

Georgia sits solidly in last place. As a team without much talent and a new coach they will have to win games with heart and effort. Mark Fox should spend most of the year simply recruiting. With the recruiting hotbeds of Atlanta and Birmingham right at his doorstep a quick turnaround isn’t out of the question for Fox, but this year is going to be pretty rough.


The Daily Pick And Roll (6/22//09)

June 22, 2009

Not a lot going on in the world of college basketball today, but I guess that is to be expected in late June- what great time to start a basketball blog, huh?  There are a few things of note though:

 

1)      ESPNU is running a College Basketball Cram Session full of games from this past season.  I stumbled across it last night in time to watch the end of the Memphis/Gonzaga game.  It ends tonight at 10:30 CST; but they will be replaying the NBA Combine at 2AM.

 

2)      Doug Wojcik has agreed to a six year deal with Tulsa.  His record with the Golden Hurricanes isn’t stellar, but they have won at least 20 games the last three seasons.  With Memphis presumably taking a bit of a step back, and Wojcik’s teams improving every year, Tulsa is looking to make some noise in C-USA.

 

3)      The NBA draft fast approaches and everyone and their mother seems to have a mock draft.  The one thing everyone seems to agree upon though is that Blake Griffin is the number one pick; but after that things get hazy.

 

Well, like I said, not a lot of headlines today.  Check out this video that is making its way around the blogs.  I think the kid got really lucky, but that is still something to be able to brag about!