Fixing the offense | Syracusefan.com

Fixing the offense

SWC75

Bored Historian
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
32,746
Like
63,054
Last' night's loss was not a fluke: it was the product of the way we've been playing for several games. The same problems were there. We knew that we couldn't keep playing this way and keep wining, despite the miracle finishes. We didn't think it would happen vs. Boston College, a team that expected to be pretty good but has been having a horrible season. But it did. But the fact of a loss in a low-scoring ugly game shouldn't shock anyone. The question is, what needs to be done to fix it.

Depth is obviously a major problem. Rebounding has been a problem in recent games But the primary culprit was our dysfunctional offense. This should not be a bad offensive team: we have five guys in the starting line-up that can score every different way you can think of. But putting the ball in the basket has been an enormous problem since the Duke game. Yes, we were scoring with good efficiency before that (1.167 points per possession), but we have dropped quite a bit since, (1.043). And its getting worse, (0.933 vs. NC State and 0.937 in this one). Tot translate those numbers, we had 63 possessions in this BC game and scored 59 points. If we'd averaged 1.167 points per possession, we'd have scored 74 points and won 73-62. 26-0, baby! BC, for all their three pointers, scored 62 points in 62 possessions, 1.000, slightly better than our defensive average of 0.959 going into the game.

So how do we fix the offense? After 26 games, we can't expect a player to become something we haven't seen. Michael Gbinije isn't going to become the player we saw in that high school highlight film all of a sudden. What can this team do that we've seen them do that will turn this around?

1) Obviously we need to make open jump shots when they are there. That might solve the problem right there. But it's not the only thing.

2) The offense has become too CJ centric. We see what appears to be a mis-match so we funnel the ball to CJ and expect him to "take his man". Except the defense then collapses on him and he's not going one on one any more. We've got 5 guys who can score. We need to make the defense guard all five guys equally.

3) Another obvious thing: when CJ is double-teamed, he's got to hit the open man, inside or out. But that applies to the whole team. When we drive to the basket, our players seem determined to score all by themselves. They get tangled up in the defense and flip up wild shots that don't go in. We need to be a little less determined to score on our drives and instead use them to set somebody up.

4) Related to that, other teams have had great success against us but getting the ball inside and going right back outside for open jumpers. Not only are the shots open but the shooter is already squared to the basket and his shooting percentage is much higher. We almost never seem to use a drive to set up a jump shot.

5) Trevor Cooney is not Gerry McNamara or Andy Rautins: he doesn't have to be at the three point line to score. He can drive to the basket and score. He could then use that to set up his man for a pull-up jumper. He doesn't have to just hang out at the three point line or run off of screens. He's an all-round scorer. He started to drive to the basket in the late going last night. i want to see much more of that.

6) Tyler Ennis seems to be content to be a distributor until the game is on the line. Then he tries to take over the game, (and usually does). There were several times last night prior to that that he had an open jumper or a lane to the basket and gave it to to keep passing the ball to someone else. A point guard is at his most effective if he forces the defense to guard him and then uses that to set up his passes. It sounds good to have a "pass first" point guard but you've got to throw the jab to set up your other punches.
 
we need to establish Cooney/Grant/Ennis earlier before forcing it to CJ
 
And number 2/3 is huge. That is what many people here have been trying to say-- you just happen to be much better at the english language and expressing it in a way that doesn't seem like you are attacking anyone :).
 
Nice post. I agree the offense works more smoothly when CJ operates "in rhythm" as opposed to forcing the action his way. This requires more dribble-drives by Cooney and Ennis, more post feeds to Rak, etc. There would probably be more turnovers but perhaps a more efficient offense.
 
It's funny, his first 3 years here Fair was the board-anointed most consistent player in SU history.
 
Great post. Ennis plays like Chris Paul or Isiah Thomas or how any ideal PG will play. Which is he plays the first 35 minutes looking to get everyonelse offense and then he takes over in the last 5 minutes for himself. This great for his NBA stock because it shows how unselfish he truly is, but this coaching staff needs to tell him to be a little more assertive when he can in the earlier parts of the game. Ennis doesn't need to jack shots, but if he has an open shot then take it.

We need to give the ball to Christmas more in the post. Rak isn't Rick Jackson yet, but he has improved and giving him those paint touches would give our spacing on offense better rhythm.

Grant/Fair need take advantage of all smaller defenders by driving the ball. Fair is a way better jump shooter so I would give him an unlimited green light as he is a smart player. Grant should average 6-10 FTA a game with his athleticism.

Cooney is a hot/cold player. I love Cooney and he is our legit outside threat right now. He needs to work on his non-catch and shoot offense, but he is only a Sophomore and I expect he will get better at that in his next 2 years.
 
It's funny, his first 3 years here Fair was the board-anointed most consistent player in SU history.


That's because he was. This year he's trying to play a different role. But he's not Carmelo Anthony. The whole offense doesn't have to go through him.
 
Another issue has been the rebounding.

We are tied for 50th in the NCAA in rebounding margin, outrebounding our opponents by an average of 4.3 rebounds per game. Last night we were out rebounded by BC a team that is 305th in the NCAAs in rebound margin. They average a 3.8 rebound per game deficit on the season.

In a game where both teams shot horridly we should have had an even greater advantage on the glass, yet we were out rebounded by a team that isn't a particularly good rebounding team.

Over the last 5 since Duke, we've been pretty mediocre on the glass.
-3 against BC
+1 against NC State
-11 against Pitt
-2 against Clemson
-5 against Notre Dame
+5 against Duke
+20 against Wake (how did we not crush them?)
+15 against Miami
-11 against Pitt
+4 against BC
+6 against UNC
+16 against Va Tech
+ 2 against Miami

Maybe we need to show a renewed commitment to getting on the glass. It should help the offense.
 
Another issue has been the rebounding.

We are tied for 50th in the NCAA in rebounding margin, outrebounding our opponents by an average of 4.3 rebounds per game. Last night we were out rebounded by BC a team that is 305th in the NCAAs in rebound margin. They average a 3.8 rebound per game deficit on the season.

In a game where both teams shot horridly we should have had an even greater advantage on the glass, yet we were out rebounded by a team that isn't a particularly good rebounding team.

Over the last 5 since Duke, we've been pretty mediocre on the glass.
-3 against BC
+1 against NC State
-11 against Pitt
-2 against Clemson
-5 against Notre Dame
+5 against Duke
+20 against Wake (how did we not crush them?)
+15 against Miami
-11 against Pitt
+4 against BC
+6 against UNC
+16 against Va Tech
+ 2 against Miami

Maybe we need to show a renewed commitment to getting on the glass. It should help the offense.
Our rebounding is at its best when we have bigger guards that can help with the long rebounds from 3 pt shots. Christmas/Keita, Grant, Fair are a great foundation for rebounding on this team. MCW was the best rebounding guard we have had in a long time last year, but Ennis/Cooney don't help on the glass as well as Triche/MCW/Scoop have recently. We need more possessions and I agree cleaning up the defensive glass would help, but the zone leads to some offensive rebounding opportunities for the opponent and I don't bemoan that. I hate the fact every freaking game recently outside of the Duke game the opponent is milking 20-25 seconds each possession before even beginning their offensive sets, and that is shortening the game and giving our decent offense very little margin for error.
 
Our rebounding is at its best when we have bigger guards that can help with the long rebounds from 3 pt shots. Christmas/Keita, Grant, Fair are a great foundation for rebounding on this team. MCW was the best rebounding guard we have had in a long time last year, but Ennis/Cooney don't help on the glass as well as Triche/MCW/Scoop have recently. We need more possessions and I agree cleaning up the defensive glass would help, but the zone leads to some offensive rebounding opportunities for the opponent and I don't bemoan that. I hate the fact every freaking game recently outside of the Duke game the opponent is milking 20-25 seconds each possession before even beginning their offensive sets, and that is shortening the game and giving our decent offense very little margin for error.


I think you missed my point. I wasn't saying that our rebounding has been poor all year. I was saying our rebounding appears to have dropped off recently, and was especially poor yesterday against what was by all appearances a poor rebounding team. On the season we've have average a rebounding edge over our opponents. That is with two clunkers against Pitt throw in. So how do we all of a sudden allow a poor rebounding team like BC to eat our lunch on the glass. And I believe that going from an average 4 point margin against our opponents to a 3 rebound deficit against a weak rebounding team is allowing them to eat our lunch.
 
another issue with rebounding is we dont even try to get the rebound from our missed free throws .. usually only 2 players at the line .. I know its to set up the zone but we seldom have a rebound there
 
That's because he was. This year he's trying to play a different role. But he's not Carmelo Anthony. The whole offense doesn't have to go through him.
CJ is a good player being asked, and trying to do, too much. He is not particularly good at going iso and beating his man off the bounce. Hence his questionable NBA standing. He is a very good slasher when there is a lane and he gets to the rim with one or two dribbles or has open mid range shots. He is most effective when he lets the game come to him. The team needs to get back to the kind of ball movement it had earlier in the season. The offense has become very stagnant with way too many forced bad shots by both CJ and Grant.
 
I don't think there is a seismic shift coming in what we do. I think there are a few things we can do (and some that you touched on) moving forward:

[ ] Attacking the rim early and often. Grant gets fouled every time he attacks the rim. He doesn't get the calls consistently because he isn't consistently taking a volume of his shots at the rim. When he attacks, he gets fouled.

[ ] Tyler Ennis needs to attack more as well. Ennis isn't going to turn into a volume/high percentage three point shooter. But he can get past a first line of defense pretty well. He has a nice floater, he seems to understand angles and, again, I think he would get more fouls called and get to the line.

[ ] I would love to see Trevor 1) take even more 15 footers and 2) take the hit when he gets defenders in the air and get to the line (you see where I'm going with this overall). I think Trevor works his a$$ off cutting and moving. Last night number 20 or 21 was constantly riding him and should have been called for fouls - it's the free movement that college bball absolutely needs. If the refs aren't calling that, he needs to come off those curls with the intention of driving hard immediately or pump faking and driving hard.

[ ] Rak needs to get more touches - if for nothing else, to keep the defense honest

[ ] CJ has to stop attacking from near the three point line. He doesn't have the handle or, quite frankly at this point, the lift to consistently get buckets or get fouled. CJ has been asked to do a lot this year. His career has been amazing. He's on of my favorite all-time players. But he needs to recognize his location on the floor and understand what he can do.

With all this said, I'm not worried too much about the loss. IMO, if you have 5 losses or less during a season, including the conference tournament, that is a pretty damn good season gets you a top five ranking if you are a P5 school. My hope is we go at least 2-1 over the next three, keep everyone healthy and get some guys a bit of rest.
 
I'd like to see Patterson given some minutes on nights when Cooney is not shooting it well. MG plays some nice defense and his passing/assists have been pretty good but he doesn't take shots or score any points. You can't have games where your SG gets single digits and we get zero bench points.
 
Our rebounding is at its best when we have bigger guards that can help with the long rebounds from 3 pt shots. Christmas/Keita, Grant, Fair are a great foundation for rebounding on this team. MCW was the best rebounding guard we have had in a long time last year, but Ennis/Cooney don't help on the glass as well as Triche/MCW/Scoop have recently. We need more possessions and I agree cleaning up the defensive glass would help, but the zone leads to some offensive rebounding opportunities for the opponent and I don't bemoan that. I hate the fact every freaking game recently outside of the Duke game the opponent is milking 20-25 seconds each possession before even beginning their offensive sets, and that is shortening the game and giving our decent offense very little margin for error.


Ennis had 8 rebounds last night.
 
Ennis had 8 rebounds last night.
He played well on the boards last night, but overall on the season was my point. Ennis is a first team All-American IMO I am not questioning his all-around game. However, he isn't 6'6" like MCW was and MCW was our best rebounding guard in a while. Ennis isn't poor on the glass he just isn't as strong as MCW or Triche were last year.
 
It's the lack of a secondary pass. No SU player other than Ennis and Gbinjie average more than 1.8 assists per 40 (and since the starters pretty much plays 40, that's pretty accurate). No one makes the extra pass. It's dribble down 15-20 seconds, wait to see if Cooney can get open, if not try a dribble drive. One dimensional, very basic offense with not a lot of second chances. They play low-possession ball and usually only get one look at the basket.

Compared to the best team in the country*, who have four players who average more than an 2 assists per 40.
 
It's much simpler than that.

1. Fewer CJ iso's and/or 1-1's until he gets his stroke back.

2. More "set" plays for Cooney's 3 instead of Cooney always having to run around like a maniac brushing off players to get open.

3. More pick and rolls. Rak sets a lot of high picks for Ennis and then rolls to the basket, but Ennis doesn't look for the roll. Often, Rak is in the lane open.
 
One point I made a time ago was that this team has made a specific effort to slow the ball down to run a half court offense. They only run with a clear break. Now with most rebounds they pass to Ennis who walks the ball up court. And if anybody does push the ball, they stop and give it to Ennis who pulls it out. Why not push the ball more. They want a faster pace, then move faster even in the half court. Look at the one time Ennis took the ball early and went right to the hoop. Why not more of that?
 
It's much simpler than that.

1. Fewer CJ iso's and/or 1-1's until he gets his stroke back.

2. More "set" plays for Cooney's 3 instead of Cooney always having to run around like a maniac brushing off players to get open.

3. More pick and rolls. Rak sets a lot of high picks for Ennis and then rolls to the basket, but Ennis doesn't look for the roll. Often, Rak is in the lane open.


Ding, ding, ding.
 
It's much simpler than that.

1. Fewer CJ iso's and/or 1-1's until he gets his stroke back.

2. More "set" plays for Cooney's 3 instead of Cooney always having to run around like a maniac brushing off players to get open.

3. More pick and rolls. Rak sets a lot of high picks for Ennis and then rolls to the basket, but Ennis doesn't look for the roll. Often, Rak is in the lane open.

Rak is open so much off the roll, I pointed that out a few games back. He needs the ball. Just lob it up. Rak is silly athletic.
 
It's much simpler than that.

1. Fewer CJ iso's and/or 1-1's until he gets his stroke back.

2. More "set" plays for Cooney's 3 instead of Cooney always having to run around like a maniac brushing off players to get open.

3. More pick and rolls. Rak sets a lot of high picks for Ennis and then rolls to the basket, but Ennis doesn't look for the roll. Often, Rak is in the lane open.

Really good post, Bees.

You fix this offense by playing smarter, not by trying to get more shots/possessions.

What is "smarter?" How about:

1. Fair needs to understand that BC baited him into trying to take his much smaller defender off the dribble. This is not his strong suit, not by a long shot. He needed to work off of screens with the mindset of getting the same mid range jumpers that he typically excels at, knowing that he will be shooting those shots over a much smaller defender. And, he needed to crash the offensive glass - this is where you punish teams for using a G on Fair.

2. They need to get the ball inside more often to Rak. Teams need to have to defend a threat in the post. Rak has evolved enough to be that threat. Don't need a steady diet of this, just the threat. And Rak needs to attack the rim when he does get it.

3. More pick and rolls, but set those screens with Fair or Grant, rather than BMK or Rak. They would be much more difficult to defend because teams would be reluctant to double the ball and leave Fair/Grant open.

4. More designed plays for Cooney to shoot 3s

5. Ennis needs to shoot more and/or break his man down off the dribble more.
 
I'd like to see Patterson given some minutes on nights when Cooney is not shooting it well. MG plays some nice defense and his passing/assists have been pretty good but he doesn't take shots or score any points. You can't have games where your SG gets single digits and we get zero bench points.
Unfortunately, we were given the impression that the the recruitment class was in the top ten. Based on their playing time,I think not! We have a tough time scoring...Yet,silent J is is our sixth man. Are we to assume that Patterson,J.B.,and Roberson may not be ready till their Jr. & Sr. years.-- Fat chance! I wander if anyone is contimplating the transfer route??---I would not blame them...Go Cuse !!
 
It took til mid-senior year for Kris Joseph to pass to a teammate while on the drive before encountering trouble. He only made that pass a handful of times. CJ needs to at least try. This tunnel vision to the hoop has plagued many in recent memory.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
167,977
Messages
4,741,646
Members
5,936
Latest member
KD95

Online statistics

Members online
268
Guests online
1,436
Total visitors
1,704


Top Bottom