How To Build A Team Around Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin Before The 2014-15 Season

Over the past few seasons, Blake Griffin has started the process of transforming his style of play in anticipation of a decline in athleticism. During his first four NBA seasons, the Los Angeles Clippers used Blake in the low post or as a screener in the pick and roll. For instance, the point guard will bring the ball up to the three-point line and passes it to Blake Griffin in the low post area. Once that happens, the Blake Griffin 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. However, there are instances where Los Angeles Clippers used Blake Griffin as a screener in the pick and roll. For example, the point guard would bring the ball up to the three-point line and then Griffin would set a screen. Once the pick was set, he would analyze how the defender chooses to defend him. For instance, if his defender decided to come up and cover the point guard, he would roll to the basket in hopes of dunking the ball. On the other hand, if his defender chose to stay back, he would pop out to the free throw line and stand there until the possession was over.

Blake Griffin During And After The 2014-15 Season

However, there was a significant difference in Blake Griffin’s style of play during his fifth season. Blake decided that he was going to reduce the number of dunks to shoot more mid-range jumpers. According to Basketball-Reference, Blake took 37.8 percent of his shots from 16 to 22 feet which was an 11.1 percent increase from the previous year. On the other hand, only 8 percent of his shots were dunks which was a decrease of 6.2 percent from the previous year. The change was most visible when Griffin played the role of a screener in the pick and roll. For example, he would perform a slide step or pop out to get in position for the jump shot instead of rolling to the basket to attempt a dunk. Over the next few years, Blake Griffin continued to extend his range to the point where he feels comfortable shooting from behind the arc now. According to Basketball-Reference, Blake took 32.3 percent of his shots from behind the arc this past season which was a 20.7 percent increase from the previous year.

Not only has Blake Griffin become more of a jump shooter, but he has also become an adequate playmaker. For example, Blake would grab the rebound and run down the court to get the attention of the defense. If this occurs, he will look to kick the basketball out to one of the players running down the wing. On the other hand, if it doesn’t happen, he will continue driving to the basket looking to get around the defender for an open shot or draw a foul. However, there were instances where he would hold or repeatedly dribble the ball in an attempt to draw a double team. If this occurs, he will pass the ball to the open player on the perimeter to shoot a three.

How To Build A Team Around Blake Griffin

Due to the transformation of Blake Griffin, he should be in a system similar to LeBron James where he can be the primary ball handler because it allows him to analyze the defense to determine what is the right play. In this offense, Blake would walk the ball up until the three-point line and evaluate how the defenders are positioned. For instance, if a defender is playing off of a three-point shooter, he is supposed to pass the ball to the wide-open shooter. On the other hand, if all the defenders are staying close to their man, he is expected to evaluate the size of his defender. If the defender is smaller than him, he should post up in the mid to low block and back him down until he can to a spot where he can shoot a jumper. But if his defender is the same size as him, he should use his speed and strength to get around him to attack the basket. However, there will be some instances where the defense will collapse on him, and he should pass the ball to the perimeter for the wide open three. Furthermore, on occasion, the team may have to use some different sets within the LeBron’s playbook to prevent from becoming a predictable offense. For example, the team may have Griffin act like he is going to post up at the free throw line and have him pass the ball to a teammate doing a backdoor cut to the basket.

As a result, a team would have to surround Blake Griffin with players who can catch and shoot or know how to move without the ball. However, not only will a team have to acquire three-point shooters but they need to find players who are outstanding defenders. This is because he will use defensive possessions to catch his breath to have enough energy for the next offensive possession. As a result of this, a team should target players like Matthew Dellavedova, Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Tony Snell and Paul George. All of these players shoot above 36 percent from behind the arc for their careers and are known as excellent defenders. For example, these players will crowd the space of the ball handler forcing them to pick up the dribble and turn sideways. Once this happens, they will go for the steal or run to a spot on the same side the ball handler is looking at to cut off the potential pathway. After this happens, the ball handler has two choices, take a contested shot or pass the ball.

In conclusion, if a team were to fill out the roster with those type of players, it would give Blake Griffin an opportunity to reach the second round or possibly the Conference Finals.

How MIles Bridges Can Become A Successful NBA Player

How MIles Bridges Was Used At Michigan State

Throughout the 2017-18 season, the Michigan State Spartans primarily used MIles Bridges as an off the ball perimeter player. For instance, MIles would jog up one of the wings as another perimeter player brought the basketball up to the three-point line. Once this happened, Bridges would station himself behind the three-point line anywhere between the wing and corner. He would stay in that spot for most of the possession unless the perimeter player could not find an open angle or lane to pass the ball into the post successfully. If this happens, the perimeter player passed the basketball directly to MIles Bridges, or he would pass it to a second player who was in charge of giving the ball to Bridges. After MIles received the basketball, he would analyze the defender to determine the next course of action. If the defender gives him space, he would shoot the three-pointer. On the other hand, if the defender plays him tight, would either pass the ball to a teammate or drive towards the basket for an easy basket, to draw a foul or attract a double team. However, if the perimeter player found an open angle or lane to pass the ball into the post successfully, MIles Bridges would stand behind the three-point line as a bystander.

How MIles Bridges Should Be Used In The NBA

As a result of this, MIles Bridges should be selected by an NBA team that has an offensive system similar to Michigan State or a player who can suck in the defense. This is because Bridges spent the majority of his college career as an off the ball perimeter player that it is the quickest way for him to have an impact in the NBA. However, if the team wants him to be more of a playmaker, he would need a minimum of a few months to adjust the new role. For example, MIles would need a significant amount of practice to see if he could improve his court vision, ball handling and passing ability to the point where he becomes an above average playmaker on a consistent basis.

The Greatest Of All Time: A Term That Should Not Be Used In Team Sports

Introduction

Over the last two to three decades, sports pundits have been on a quest to determine which athlete is deserving of the moniker greatest of all time. For instance, Emmanuel Altenor formerly of Bleacher Report stated that we’ve seen many great players throughout NBA history “but which players in the game’s history stand out above the rest?”. However, one can argue that it is impossible to determine who is the greatest of all time because a substantial amount of players were subjected to different systems and responsibilities. Those responsibilities fundamentally altered how they approached their respective sport. A perfect example of this is Jason Kidd and Chris Paul; they are regarded as two of the greatest point guards in NBA history. Unfortunately, it is impossible to accurately compare them because they spent the majority of their careers in two different systems.

Jason Kidd

Throughout the NBA career of Jason Kidd, he had to play in offensive systems centered around ball movement. During his tenure with the New Jersey Nets, Kidd would bring the basketball up to the three-point line and passes the basketball to a big man in the high post area. Once this happened, the big man would analyze the defense to determine the next course of action. For instance, if the defense double covers the player posting up in the low post, he would enter a dribble handoff with a perimeter player. On the other hand, if the defense single covers the player posting up in the low post, he would dump the ball into the low block to start the process of shooting the ball. Another example of this is his tenure with the Phoenix Suns, Kidd would bring the ball up to the three-point line and pass the basketball to a teammate. Once this happens, the teammate will analyze how the defender chooses to defend him. If the defender gives him space, he will shoot the mid-range jumper.  On the other hand, if the defender plays him tight, the teammate will give the ball to another player who is going to restart the process of analyzing the defender. The process would continue until they found an open shot or the shot clock wound down. Due to this, Jason Kidd found himself standing behind the three-point line as a bystander or running all over the court trying to get open. The only time Jason had an opportunity to dominate the game was when the opposing team missed a shot. Once this happened, his team got the rebound and gave the ball to him to start the process of a fast break. During the fast break, Jason Kidd threw an outlet pass down court or ran down the middle of the court to get the attention of the defense. If this occurs, he will look to kick the basketball out to one of the players running down the wing.  On the other hand, if it doesn’t happen, he will continue driving to the basket looking to get around the defender for an open shot or draw a foul.

 

 

Chris Paul

On the other hand, Chris Paul got the opportunity to play in offensive systems centered around the pick and roll as well as post ups. For instance, Paul would bring the ball up to the three-point line and then a big man would set a screen. Once the pick was set Paul would pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action, for instance, if the defender went under the screen, Paul would go over it and take the wide open shot. On the other hand, if the defender went over the screen, Paul 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 were instances where Chris Paul would throw the ball into the mid to low block for a post up. For instance, Chris would bring the ball up to the three-point line and passes it to another perimeter player. The second perimeter player would immediately give the ball to him to dump it into the low post.  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 Paul would bring the basketball up to the three-point line and passes the basketball to a big man in the high post area. Once this happened, the big man would analyze the defense to determine the next course of action. For instance,  If the defender gave him a few feet of space, he would pull up to shoot the wide-open mid-range jumper. On the other hand, if the defender played him tight, he will attempt to drive towards the basket for an easy basket, to draw a foul or attract a double team.

Conclusion

Due to the difference in systems, Chris Paul has averaged more points and assists per game than Jason Kidd during his career. According to Basketball-Reference,  Paul averages 18.7 points per game and 9.8 assists per game. On the other hand, Kidd averaged 12.6 points per game and 8.7 assists per game. As a result, people should only compare great players who played the same position in the same system.

Michael Jordan And LeBron James Should Not Be Compared

Introduction

Throughout the past 15 years, the mainstream media has constantly compared LeBron James to Michael Jordan. For example, Jerry Brewer of the Washington Post stated that he “grew up watching Jordan and grew wise (I hope) watching James, I still think it’s easier, at this point, to laud Jordan as basketball’s invincible hero”. However, it is unfair to compare these two players when their style of play is/was vastly different.

Michael Jordan Vs LeBron James (Offense)

Over the course of 8 years, the Chicago Bulls successfully implemented Phil Jackson’s triangle offense. In the triangle offense, one of the perimeter players would bring the ball up to the three-point line and passes it to another player posting up in the mid to low block. Once that happens, the person with the basketball would shoot a turn around jumper. Another example of the triangle offense is when one of the perimeter players would bring the ball up to the three-point line and passes it to another perimeter player. The second perimeter player will either dump the ball into the post or give it to a third perimeter player, and he will throw it into the post. After this occurs, the individual in possession of the ball would hold it for a couple of seconds to see if a teammate can successfully cut to the basket. The teammate who was supposed to cut to the basket usually came from one of the wings or corners. For instance, if the teammate came from the corner, the individual in possession of the ball would perform a backdoor pass. On the other hand, if the teammate came from the wing, the individual in possession of the ball would perform a drop pass. However, if the teammate weren’t able to successfully cut to the basket, the individual in possession of the ball would shoot the ball or kick it to the perimeter.

As a result of this system, Michael Jordan never had a defined role within the Chicago Bulls offense. Before his first retirement, Jordan alternated between the roles of a bystander, cutter, isolation and low post player. There were some possessions, where Michael received the ball on the wing or corner, and he would dump it into the post. Once that happens, Mike immediately cut to the basket in hopes of getting the ball back. If he were successful, Jordan would attempt a layup, dunk or shoot a short jumper. If he were unsuccessful, Michael Jordan would either fight thru the crowd to get in position to box out for the rebound, or he would go to the perimeter in hopes of getting the ball back. On the other hand, there were possessions where Mike would isolate the defender after the team got an offensive rebound or when the low post player passed the ball back to the perimeter. When this occurs, he will pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action. If the defender gave him a few feet of space, he would pull up to shoot the wide-open mid-range jumper. But, if the defender played him tight, he will attempt to drive towards the basket for a score, to draw a foul or attract a double team. However, when Mike returned from his first retirement, he became more of a post up player. For example, Jordan would jog to the mid to low block and post up to call for the basketball. Once this happened, Michael Jordan would usually attempt a turnaround or fadeaway jumper.

On the other hand, LeBron James has played in a completely different system to that of Michael Jordan. Throughout the past seven NBA seasons, teams who obtained the services of LeBron James have incorporated an offensive system; that is meant to showcase his ability to pass the ball and get to the basket. As a result, he usually walks the ball up until the three-point line and evaluates how the defenders are positioned. For instance, if a defender is playing off of a three-point shooter, he is supposed to pass the ball to the wide-open shooter. On the other hand, if all the defenders are staying close to their man, he is expected to evaluate the size of his defender. If the defender is smaller than him, he should post up in the mid to low block and back him down until he can to a spot where he can shoot a jumper. But if his defender is the same size as him, he should use his speed and strength to get around him to attack the basket. However, there will be some instances where the defense will collapse on him, and he should pass the ball to the perimeter for the wide open three. Furthermore, on occasion, the team will break out some different sets within their playbook to prevent from becoming a predictable offense. For example, the team may have LeBron act like he is going to post up at the free throw line and have him pass the ball to a teammate doing a backdoor cut to the basket.

Michael Jordan Vs LeBron James (Defense)

As a result of LeBron’s playmaking duties, he has neglected the defensive side of the floor over the past few years. This is because LeBron uses defensive possessions to catch his breath to have enough energy for the next offensive possession. For instance, James will take the weakest offensive player on the opposing team and stand near the painted area until a shot is taken. Once the shot is taken, he will move towards the rim to get the rebound and start the next offensive possession. On the other hand, Michael Jordan kept his defensive intensity because he didn’t have to be a playmaker on every possession. For example, he would crowd the space of the ball handler forcing them to pick up the dribble and turn sideways. Once this happens, he would go for the steal or run to a spot on the same side the ball handler is looking at to cut off the potential pathway. After this happens, the ball handler has two choices, take a contested shot or pass the ball.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is unfair to compare Michael Jordan and LeBron James because they played in two different systems which fundamentally changed their approach to the game.