Valuing the Basketball and Every Possession

Loyola University Chicago men's basketball, 2017-18 MVC Champions.

Valuing the Basketball and Every Possession

Postby JCT » Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:44 pm

In our game against Fuman, Loyola scored .88 points per possession while Furman scored 1.22 points. Despite shooting over 56% at one point in the middle of the second half, Loyola trailed by 15.

The past two years, the Ramblers have not valued the ball like they did when they were often at a disadvantage in height, athleticism, or experience. The effort on the switch offs and double teams is not what it used to be. The focus on defense, valuing the ball, and making the most of an offensive possession is not there at all this year.

A lot of times when teams have success playing to value possessions, their stock as a program goes up. They win their conference. They beat some teams with four or five star draft picks. Maybe they have some success in the tournament. And then their recruiting aims change. Instead of getting the second or third best kid on the good high school team, they get the second or best one. Instead of getting 6'4" and 6'5" small forwards, all of a sudden 6'7" guys and transfers are interested.

Suddenly, there's no more room for the methodical, lunch-bucket, hustle guys who don't shoot or leap that well but play their ass off ALL THE TIME and compensate for their lack of physical ability by learning some tricks, hustling their ass off, or specializing on three-pointers, lock-down defense, steals, or a useful combination of all of the above.

Now you've got athletes-- top players on their high school programs who've had some offers to sit on the bench and practice at Power 5 schools. Now you've got guys who-- throughout their athletic experience-- could always kick it into a higher gear physically to blow past a defender, always had one or two inches over anyone in their high school conference, never got taken out of a game to think about a bad decision during their high school years, and played on an elite AAU team with some other D1 prospects.

I think the team needs to make a turn back to discipline, valuing the ball, making every possession important (or at least productive), and translating that collective resolve on the defensive side into points. Yes, we have better athletes now than we were able to attract six years ago. The trick is turning the great natural athletes-- to whom everything has come somewhat easily before getting to this level-- into hard workers on defense who revel in making the play rather than scoring the points.

In my opinion, that's what this team is missing. We have the pieces, we have the talent, we have the potential. But if we play well at home and get embarrassed on the road, it seems clear to me that we just don't have the solid/cohesive resolve.
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Re: Valuing the Basketball and Every Possession

Postby natetheskate » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:43 am

JCT,,,great discussion based on a really significant factor.....I think we are still trying to figure out why with apparently better athletes we are not performing as well as we liked...1. I think it is early still...2. I think with Richardson, Custer, Townes and Ingram we had guys who performed offensively with confidence. If I have it correct this offense to run effectively you have less than two seconds to make a decision, those guys knew how to use that two seconds and intuitively knew whether to drive, pass or shoot,,,and then intuitively whether to cut , screen or slide. This group looks like they are slow motion thinking their way through the process. I am also wondering how many of these guys especially Pipkens and Kennedy were used to having the ball in their hands 90% of the time? Some guys are so physically talented they dont have to depend on a system while others need the system.....we got a coach that runs a system...might take a while to meld,,,if it and they will.....or even if Coach adapts and runs some plays for the more non-system guys. Out of the new guys Wojik seems the most system orientated....should be interesting to see if offensive efficiency improves
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Re: Valuing the Basketball and Every Possession

Postby swellafelon » Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:34 am

I think the only time I ever disagreed with JCT more was in 2016 on Ramblermania's Off Topic Forum when he kept saying that Donald Trump would truly Make America Great Again.

Here, JCT sets up this phony False Dichotomy between the evil, selfish, lazy and RESOLVELESS elite 3 Star athlete and the good, hard-working, hungry, lunch bucket carrying, floor burn wearing, RESOLVEFUL 2 Star baller. One lousy star makes all the difference I guess.

JCT places the blame for our early season troubles squarely on the shoulders of our supposedly athletically elite newcomers and all their character flaws. According to JCT, having always been the best, these studs could rely on their innate ability and never had to learn hard work, discipline, or how to play defense or avoid turnovers.
To this I refer you to a prior post of mine which contains a list of synonyms for "drivel".

In my opinion, it is still way too early to draw any conclusions about the newcomers ability and willingness to play defense and value every possession. I've seen our two home games, one good and one awful, and in both games I saw no lack of effort or hustle. What I did see was players in the process of adjusting to the speed of the game and learning our offensive scheme.
What I didn't see (so far at least) was the supposed elite athleticism of our new recruits, Marquise Kennedy being the one exception. Our newcomers all show promise, but all except Kennedy seem to me to be well within one standard deviation of the mean of Loyola recruits over the last five years.
What will continue to plague us this year I fear will not be any so-called lack of grit or discipline or other character-related flaws, but rather poor three point shooting, which is skill-related. I still have hope that Tate Hall starts connecting on threes. He has such a pretty stroke.
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Re: Valuing the Basketball and Every Possession

Postby swellafelon » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:29 am

Allow me to run with the False Dichotomy baton myself:
While JCT's post was balderdash, baloney ... claptrap, crapola ...hokum,...malarkey ... trumpery, twaddle, etc., natetheskate's post was insightful, discerning, perceptive, prudent, sagacious, sage, sapient, and wise.

One interesting point nate brought up is that our offensive scheme requires the man with the ball to make a decision in 2 seconds whether to drive, pass or shoot and that on our Final Four team such decisions were intuitive. I think the reason they became intuitive was because the players had been drilled for so long in the system and learned it so well that they no longer had to consciously think about it. I am confident that with enough time our newcomers will reach that same level of understanding.

I didn't watch the Furman game. Was there any common theme to our 20+ turnovers?
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Re: Valuing the Basketball and Every Possession

Postby swellafelon » Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:48 pm

To be fair, while JCT has a habit of using the questionable rhetorical devices of False Dichotomy and Straw Men, I am equally guilty of using Hyperbole and Invective in my argumentation.

But Hyperbole is 1000 times better than False Dichotomy, and anybody who says otherwise is an &#%-hole.
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Re: Valuing the Basketball and Every Possession

Postby ahunte1 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:51 pm

If I could identify a common theme among the turnovers I saw Friday, it would be lack of awareness. The game looked too fast for several guys.
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Re: Valuing the Basketball and Every Possession

Postby JCT » Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:44 pm

I made a disjointed, slightly unclear post because I stopped in the middle to make dinner, and then when I saw the steaming food on the plate I wanted to post the damn thing and eat. So the point was not clear (I guess).

But it's fairly simple: the success we had in 2018 was made from emphasizing defense, perfecting help defense, controlling the tempo, dictating the flow of the game and taking care of the ball. I'm making the point that we've strayed from that. I don't know if it's because we believe that better athletes can do the same things without as much practice/emphasis, or if we're morphing into a different kind of team because of the higher talent level. I was trying (badly, I guess) to make the point that you can't just rely on the fact that we've got better athletes now to get that job done. It's got to be a point of emphasis AGAIN for the newcomers. That's on the coaching staff primarily, and on the players to realize it's the right way to go for long term success.
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