Yesterday, I looked in depth at some of the cleverness that makes San Antonio so deadly in their half court execution. Today, I want to give the same treatment to the Wizards. It seems slightly churlish to be critical - they did just have an enormous Game 1 victory over Chicago. But, I don't think it was their offensive execution which paved the way: Nene made a lot of midrange shots - 7/12 from areas where he shot 43.4 % during the regular season, and the Chicago offense (like the Chicago offense does) sputtered.
I've talked before about the difference between physical tools and the ability to "make a play," and have done so specifically in the context of reading the pick-and-roll. The Spurs, despite having a somewhat clunky offensive game by their standards, still put on a master class in pick-and-roll execution. By comparison, despite their victory, the Wizards young guards clearly have things still to learn. In this post, I'll look at what the Spurs guards do well, and in the next, I'll tackle where the young Wizards guards sometimes fail (though not the Professor Andre Miller as if there's one guy who knows how to win without speed...)
Since I stopped following college ball much (the one-and-done rule and the overly high ratio of physicality to skill has robbed that version of the game of much of it's aesthetic appeal), I don't have a ton to say about this year's crop of prospects, other than I LOVE Joel Embiid. However, as a sort of meta-commentary on the prospecting and projecting, I do want to say that I think people are focusing far too much on "measurables."
Ricky Rubio and the Ripple Effect (Point Guard O Series)
Last night in twitter convo with Alex from Gothic Ginobili, he pointed me to this post concerning the best game theoretic way to maximize the value of an offensive possession. (Warning, wonky!) A subtle point of the post is that even if a given option in a play isn't an especially effective means of scoring, having that option as a threat at all increases the overall play's effectiveness.
The Pelicans came into this season with high hopes, counting on an improved and more experienced Anthony Davis, a healthy Eric Gordon, the addition of Tyreke Evans and the "upgrade" (note possible scare quotes) at point guard from Grevis Vasquez to all-star Jrue Holiday at the point to make a serious playoff run. Despite a ridiculous early season from Davis, the 'Cans have been a mild disappointment, starting 5-6 despite a fairly soft early schedule (of their opponents only the Pacers and possibly Grizzlies look like playoff teams).