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Thread: Beneath the Screen: 3-Point Defense

  1. #1
    Gerrity Joe Joe Gerrity's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
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    Beneath the Screen: 3-Point Defense

    In a recurring post throughout the season, Jake will take a look at the inner workings of the Hornets’ offense and defense–what works, what doesn’t and why, as well as how the Hornets can improve.
    In this week’s edition, Jake takes a look at why the Hornets are giving up so many open 3′s.
    The Hornets have developed a problem recently: Giving up uncontested 3-point jumpers. It’s been killing the Hornets in games they could otherwise keep close or win.
    And it’s also driving me absolutely crazy.
    If you follow me on twitter (@nolajake), then you may have seen (read?) me losing my mind during the Knicks game on Tuesday. I can’t remember ever being that frustrated during a sporting event. It was so bad that I needed to take the next night off from watching the team.
    So what’s going on? In his recap of the Pacers game, Ryan noted two problems. First, that the defensive rotations were brutal. Second, that the Hornets lack enough speed on the perimeter to close out well on open shooters. This is absolutely correct and when combined, like they are with the Hornets, yield terrible results. There is also a third factor which I will get into later.
    To the Madistrator!

    Here Felton brings the ball up against the Hornets with Vasquez defending him. Everything is fine right now.

    Felton passes to Kidd and Vasquez starts to move that way to provide help defense if needed. Against a great shooting team like the Knicks, I’m not a huge fan of the strategy but no Hornets are committing any sins yet–plus Monty is paid to be a coach and I’m not. But notice a gap is developing between Vasuqez and Felton.

    Kidd passes the ball to Anthony in the post and cuts to far side of the court. Vasquez moves even lower to be in better position to provide help defense on Anthony. Seeing this, Felton slides closer to Anthony to provide an outlet pass.
    And this is what drives me crazy.
    Vasquez isn’t doubling teaming Anthony; he’s just standing there. And by just standing there look at the distance he would need to cover to close out on Felton. Vasquez isn’t fast enough to do it. Instead of just being in position to help, Vasquez either needs to commit to the double team or be better positioned to close out on Felton. Right now he’s stuck in a no-man’s-land.
    What makes it even worse is that Lopez, Rivers and, to an extent, Anderson are also in position to help defend Anthony. To sum it up: Vasquez just does not need to be there.

    Because this is what happens. Anthony kicks the ball out to Felton, who has tons of space to shoot, on an easy pass. Kidd is also wide open for 3, but at least that would have been a tougher pass to make. That is just one example above, but trust me the past handful of games are filled with situations just like it.
    I’ve been having nightmares filled with uncontested, open 3′s.
    So why is this happening? Part of it is just poor rotations and slow speed. Another factor is the absence of Anthony Davis. Against the Knicks, the Hornets seemed incredibly worried about giving up points in the paint. Davis, while not playing at an elite defensive level yet, is athletic and tall enough that he causes most players trouble on the block. Without him against the Knicks, the Hornets resorted to putting all five players down low.
    In last week’s Beneath the Screen Gerry V left the following comment, “protect the rim is the rule….a jumper is what you want to force, don’t allow the gimme.” This is absolutely correct. It’s smart basketball to defend inside out. A layup is much easier to make than a three.
    However, I think the Hornets are taking this idea a little too seriously. After the Pacers game, Aminu said the Hornets would “rather give up uncontested threes than easy twos.”
    I’m with packing the paint and contesting everything when the opponent goes inside. Make them take it out of there and force a jumper. But against certain teams, uncontested threes are gimmies. Like the Knicks. Hopefully, when Davis returns, the Hornets still feel comfortable with him providing help defense in the paint and contesting every attempt while still allowing for strong perimeter defense.
    Beneath the Screen is a*reoccurring*series throughout the season run on Fridays. See past editions*here.


  2. #2

    Re: Beneath the Screen: 3-Point Defense

    This is the best series of articles. Love it. Keep up the good work!

    Sent from my DROID3 using Tapatalk 2

  3. #3
    A Soulful Sports Fan Contributor Eman5805's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    When you have so much committed to help defense, it means we aren't confident in our ability to guard a player one on one on the perimeter to keep them from getting inside as well. I've discovered that Aminu is great off ball and coming weak side. But put him right in the thick of it and he stumbles because the head on his shoulder is shaky.

    Gonna be a long work in process. Hope

  4. #4
    Max Contract Contributor AD23forMVP's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    I still agree with the inside out method. I've said it before, teams are hitting a abnormal amount of threes against us in the last five games.

    Raymond Felton is a career 33% shooter from beyond the arc, and is shooting something like 35.6 percent this season without the game against us. I wouldn't expect him to make 83% of his threes against us, even if we were slow to rotate.

    With that said, it's almost like this team doesn't read scouting reports. How do you leave Kevin Martin, Kevin Durant, Mike Dunleavy, etc open so many times?

  5. #5
    A Soulful Sports Fan Contributor Eman5805's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Kevin Martin especially. He's ALWAYS gotten 3s by the bushel against us. I'd much rather we force him to drive. 2 is better than 3 even if it means fouling him. Hell, pretty much everyone on the Rockets save the couple bigs that don't play much can drain 3s.

  6. #6
    Hall of Famer Ceedee M's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
    Down da bayou
    Without him against the Knicks, the Hornets resorted to putting all five players down low.

    Great analysis! And this drives me absolutely nuts. It's like 5 on 1 defense. In one of those pics, there were like four open men for the Knicks. I think the perimeter D was a little better in the Pacers game, despite Paul George's career night. They seemed to be at least bringing pressure that game because Paul George shot his 3s quickly. I can't say the same for the Rockets, Thunder, Bucks, and Knicks game. The Beard, Kevin Martin, some no-names, and Melo were just wide open to where they had nothing but time to follow through on their 3 point shots.

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