Several nba head coaches

The Basketball Assembly Line : The Problem with NBA Coaching And The Inability To Adapt

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Over the past few years, there has been a growing trend around the NBA where head coaches force players to play in their system instead of creating a system suited for the critical players. For instance, New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek has implemented an offensive system that is centered around the pick and roll and post-ups. For example, the point guard would bring the ball up to the three-point line and then a big man would set a screen. Once the pick was set the point guard would pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action, for instance, if the defender went under the screen, the point guard would go over it and take the wide-open shot. On the other hand, if the defender went over the screen, the point guard would go over it as well and drive towards the basket where he would score or pass the ball to the player next to him or to the perimeter depending on whether he was double teamed or not.

However, there are occasions when the New York Knicks send a big man into the mid to low block to post up. For instance, the point guard will bring the ball up to the three-point line and passes it to a big man in the low post area. Once that happens, the big man will attempt to back down the defender with one of his shoulders to get within comfortable range to shoot a jump hook. Another example of this is when the point guard will bring the ball up to the three-point line and passes it to another perimeter player. The second perimeter will either dump the ball into the post or pass it to a third perimeter player, and he will throw it into the post to start the process of attempting to get a jump hook.

Unfortunately, the post up aspect of the New York Knicks offense has prevented Kristaps Porzingis from reaching his full potential this season. This is because Kristaps hasn’t been able to add enough muscle mass to his body frame to back down the defender on a consistent basis. As a result, every time Porzingis is told to post up he is forced to turn around and shoot over the defender because he can’t back him down. Due to this, the team should abandon the Kristaps Porzingis post up and strictly use him as a screener in the pick and roll. Kristaps playing the role of a screener allows him to pop out or roll to the basket depending on what the defender does. For instance, if his defender decides to come up and defend the point guard, he can roll to the basket. On the other hand, if his defender decides to stay back he can pop out to the three-point line. The strategy will increase the likelihood of Kristaps Porzingis getting more wide open looks at the basket.

New York Knicks vs Utah Jazz – Jan 19, 2018

Another example of head coaches refusing to adapt to the skill sets of essential players is Quin Snyder and Ricky Rubio. Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder has implemented an offensive system that is centered around ball movement. For instance, the point guard will bring the ball up to the three-point line and passes it to another player. Once this happens, the second player will give it to a third player and the third player will call for a screen.  Once the pick was set, the third player can pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action, for instance, if the defender went under the screen, the third player can go over it and take the open shot. On the other hand, if the defender went over the screen, the third player can go over it as well and drive towards the basket where he can score or pass the ball to the player next to him or to the perimeter depending on whether he was double teamed or not.

Another example of the Utah Jazz’s ball movement is when the point guard will bring the ball up to the three-point line and passes it to a player in the mid to high post area. Once this happens, the player will hold the ball until the point guard comes back to him or the player standing in the corner comes to him; to start a dribble handoff sequence. As soon as one of the players gets close him, that player will hand the ball off and stand in place as a screener. After that happens, the player who has the ball will go over the screen to start the process of the pick and roll again.

Unfortunately, it is safe to say that the Utah Jazz made a mistake in acquiring Ricky Rubio this off-season. This is because Ricky Rubio has been described as a player who possesses exceptional court vision and passing ability. In fact, according to DraftExpress, Rubio has an “ability to deliver crisp, perfectly timed passes directly into the hands of a cutting teammate for an easy basket is uncanny… into the net for them”. Due to this, a team who owns his services should develop an offensive system where he would be the primary ball handler; and is allowed to analyze the defense to determine what is the right pass. For instance, the traditional pick and roll offense would be an ideal system for him because he can bring the ball up to the three-point line and ask for a screen. Once the pick was set Rubio can pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action, for instance, if the defender went under the screen, Rubio can go over it and take the wide open shot. On the other hand, if the defender went over the screen, Rubio can go over it as well and drive towards the basket where he can score or pass the ball to the player next to him or to the perimeter depending on whether he was double teamed or not.

However, the team is using Ricky Rubio as a typical point guard within a ball movement offense. For instance, he brings the ball up to the three-point line and passes it to another player on the wing or to a player in the mid to high post. Once this happens, he stands behind the three-point line as a spot up shooter which is his biggest weakness as he has a career three-point shooting percentage of 31 percent. As a result, the team dramatically diminished his ability to pass the ball which is one of the main ways Rubio can profoundly impact a game.

In conclusion, NBA head coaches should attempt to use the two month period between the end of free agency to the beginning of training camp to analyze the skill set of their best player. During this period, the coach should determine what is the player’s best skill and design an offense that emphasizes that ability as much as possible. However if the coach refuses to do that, he should talk to the front office about what type of player fits in his system. In both scenarios, players and coaches will have more success because coaches will continuously be emphasizing a players strength instead of their weakness

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