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Steals, deflections & defensive strategy


infection

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So I watched portions of both the first games and a maybe half of last night's game, but the one thing that started sticking out almost immediately was how much more active we were with our hands, pushing for turnovers, and getting hands in passing lanes. It was pretty impressive. There have been a couple comments regarding it, which I think someone on the broadcast last night quoted Snyder as trying to play the passing lanes more. It's interesting because the past two years we've been pretty abysmal with forcing turnovers. We had 11 steals in the San Antonio game, 8 in the Dallas game, and 13 last night. To put this in perspective, last year our highest steal total was 12, and the year before it was also 12. Last year we averaged 6.6 steals per game, trailing only Dallas for worst in the league at 6.3. The year before we were dead last with 6.1.

I believe this is significant because it signals a change in underlying philosophy. We had attempted to make Rudy the one-man defense and willfully push people into going at him, leaving the other defenders with limited responsibility other than to lead them to Rudy. That's obviously exploitable (though not easily). This allows some of the pressure to be off Rudy and using Rudy as a reinforcement. I think this will find more success and be less exploitable. It's obviously preseason and you'd expect some of this effort to wane, but the fact that Quin appears to have developed some different thoughts here is pretty promising. If we are even average at forcing turnovers, this will be huge and it will be harder for the offense to plan around our defense if we're more disruptive. Having a luxury like Rudy gives you much more flexibility in being disruptive. If our guys suck at staying in front of their men, then let's at least take advantage of those passing lanes, which we appear to be doing well so far.
 


Handlogten's Heros

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2019 Award Winner
2020-21 Award Winner
So I watched portions of both the first games and a maybe half of last night's game, but the one thing that started sticking out almost immediately was how much more active we were with our hands, pushing for turnovers, and getting hands in passing lanes. It was pretty impressive. There have been a couple comments regarding it, which I think someone on the broadcast last night quoted Snyder as trying to play the passing lanes more. It's interesting because the past two years we've been pretty abysmal with forcing turnovers. We had 11 steals in the San Antonio game, 8 in the Dallas game, and 13 last night. To put this in perspective, last year our highest steal total was 12, and the year before it was also 12. Last year we averaged 6.6 steals per game, trailing only Dallas for worst in the league at 6.3. The year before we were dead last with 6.1.

I believe this is significant because it signals a change in underlying philosophy. We had attempted to make Rudy the one-man defense and willfully push people into going at him, leaving the other defenders with limited responsibility other than to lead them to Rudy. That's obviously exploitable (though not easily). This allows some of the pressure to be off Rudy and using Rudy as a reinforcement. I think this will find more success and be less exploitable. It's obviously preseason and you'd expect some of this effort to wane, but the fact that Quin appears to have developed some different thoughts here is pretty promising. If we are even average at forcing turnovers, this will be huge and it will be harder for the offense to plan around our defense if we're more disruptive. Having a luxury like Rudy gives you much more flexibility in being disruptive. If our guys suck at staying in front of their men, then let's at least take advantage of those passing lanes, which we appear to be doing well so far.
I hope so. The earlier years we had guys like Thabo, Ricky, and Joe was better back in those days. I think it is the right strategy for a couple reasons.

1- Rudy can clean some of these up... we are already funneling to him so why not gamble more often.
2- Offenses at the top of the league are so good that even if you bend their shot profile they can make enough to beat you regularly. Taking a few of those shots away through turnovers seems like a way to play better against the best teams. It likely hurts us against some of the teams on the lower end and in the middle of the league during the season.
3- As mentioned... a little more unpredictability.
 

Mongoose

Well-Known Member
What the hell was the strategy last year then? They sure as hell weren't staying in front of their man and they apparently weren't in passing lanes. I've wondered why they haven't been more active in the lanes since they had Tabo.
 

SoberasHotRod

Well-Known Member
How do you quote a post from a previous thread? I posted something similar a couple of days ago, but my basic premise is that with our guys like Donovan Mitchell, their risk/reward for playing passing lanes might be skewed vs someone capable of staying in front of their guy.
 

infection

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2018 Award Winner
2019 Award Winner
How do you quote a post from a previous thread? I posted something similar a couple of days ago, but my basic premise is that with our guys like Donovan Mitchell, their risk/reward for playing passing lanes might be skewed vs someone capable of staying in front of their guy.
You can go to the post and click reply then copy/paste that into a different thread.
 

KqWIN

Well-Known Member
What the hell was the strategy last year then? They sure as hell weren't staying in front of their man and they apparently weren't in passing lanes. I've wondered why they haven't been more active in the lanes since they had Tabo.

Defensive strategy was simple effect. Let your guy get past you, everyone stay home on their shooter, and then leave Rudy in a 1v2 versus the big and the ball handler. It’s a great bait. They won’t go at Rudy and there’s no 3 pointer available. All you’re left with is a floater or mid range.

Unfortunately that doesn’t work if Rudy has to guard the rim and the corner 3 at the same time. I totally agree with changing up our defensive strategy to prepare for playoffs. The steals and deflections are obviously good, but it reprograms our players to be active and engaged on defense.

A big part of the problem has been the blow bys on the perimeter. But equally as important is that there is zero concept of rotations outside of Rudy. It wouldn’t have been as bad against the Clippers if someone would have rotated down to Mann and then someone else help the helper. But our players did nothing besides stay home because that’s what they’ve done all year.
 

infection

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Staff member
2018 Award Winner
2019 Award Winner
Defensive strategy was simple effect. Let your guy get past you, everyone stay home on their shooter, and then leave Rudy in a 1v2 versus the big and the ball handler. It’s a great bait. They won’t go at Rudy and there’s no 3 pointer available. All you’re left with is a floater or mid range.

Unfortunately that doesn’t work if Rudy has to guard the rim and the corner 3 at the same time. I totally agree with changing up our defensive strategy to prepare for playoffs. The steals and deflections are obviously good, but it reprograms our players to be active and engaged on defense.

A big part of the problem has been the blow bys on the perimeter. But equally as important is that there is zero concept of rotations outside of Rudy. It wouldn’t have been as bad against the Clippers if someone would have rotated down to Mann and then someone else help the helper. But our players did nothing besides stay home because that’s what they’ve done all year.
If we addressed that issue, played passing lanes, and were able to make rotations, then we should be next level, even despite guys not being able to stay in front of their man.
 

KqWIN

Well-Known Member
If we addressed that issue, played passing lanes, and were able to make rotations, then we should be next level, even despite guys not being able to stay in front of their man.

Yup. Fact is, nobody can really stay in front of their man these days. Some guys provide more resistance, but at the end of the day the defense is going to have to send some kind of help and then recover. The best playoff defenses are the defenses that are well connected and move on a string.

If you look at all the past champions it’s a DPOY level defender usually surrounded by all defense level defenders. We don’t have that defensive talent so I don’t think we’ll get there against the tougher matchups. But we can score on anyone at an elite level. If we can just get to average and not historically awful on defense we have a chance.

Mitchell has the most to gain from playing passing lanes and being active. He does have great defensive talent, but we’ve made him into a statue. Need to convince Mitchell that the only way he can be a truly elite player is to be a great two way player.
 

SoberasHotRod

Well-Known Member
You can go to the post and click reply then copy/paste that into a different thread.
Thanks!
My random thought for the day:

Maybe Quin should have the team play the passing lanes more. You have Gobert back there to erase everyone's mistakes. If our perimeter guys can't stay in front of their man anyway, maybe they should go for the play with the potentially higher reward.

This has been my random thought of the day.
 

framer

Well-Known Member
Yup. Fact is, nobody can really stay in front of their man these days. Some guys provide more resistance, but at the end of the day the defense is going to have to send some kind of help and then recover. The best playoff defenses are the defenses that are well connected and move on a string.

If you look at all the past champions it’s a DPOY level defender usually surrounded by all defense level defenders. We don’t have that defensive talent so I don’t think we’ll get there against the tougher matchups. But we can score on anyone at an elite level. If we can just get to average and not historically awful on defense we have a chance.

Mitchell has the most to gain from playing passing lanes and being active. He does have great defensive talent, but we’ve made him into a statue. Need to convince Mitchell that the only way he can be a truly elite player is to be a great two way player.
Some points in transition after turnovers wouldn't suck either.
 

Saint Cy of JFC

Well-Known Member
Yup. Fact is, nobody can really stay in front of their man these days. Some guys provide more resistance, but at the end of the day the defense is going to have to send some kind of help and then recover. The best playoff defenses are the defenses that are well connected and move on a string.

If you look at all the past champions it’s a DPOY level defender usually surrounded by all defense level defenders. We don’t have that defensive talent so I don’t think we’ll get there against the tougher matchups. But we can score on anyone at an elite level. If we can just get to average and not historically awful on defense we have a chance.

Mitchell has the most to gain from playing passing lanes and being active. He does have great defensive talent, but we’ve made him into a statue. Need to convince Mitchell that the only way he can be a truly elite player is to be a great two way player.
It's not just staying in front, it's staying attached. Yeah, most guys are going to get beat to some degree, but you can't just let a guy blow past you flat footed and give up. Guards got to stay attached to the hip to put pressure on ball-handler as they drive towards Rudy so they can't just make easy decisions.
 

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