Posted by brianxavier on 7/4/2012 9:53:00 AM (view original):
I am curious, since billy_g seems to be checking this thread out: how do you approach match-ups against the press? For example, I have rotated bigs or guards (when I can) to hopefully exploit a weaker PF or Center with my better PF or Center. Do you think this helps vs. the press, considering the player is going against a trapping defense vs. M2M? [ I realize the press has the technically has the weakness of 'no double teams' so a good offensive player may be able to exploit that to some degree]
I also wonder how to best exploit the zone... besides jacking up more 3s vs. the 2-3 zone, which almost always seems to be effective (especially since it is very rare to see coaches switch to 3-2 zone). Any tips or approaches you take?
Lastly, I have lately wondered if it's better to stretch out the defense with + 2, 3, etc. even if a guy doesn't take a lot of 3 pointers - but does have major of guards as scorers. Do you think that helps?
great questions, really, these are 3 tough ones, and i don't have definitive answers to any of them. but i can try :)
so, matchups vs the press. first, let me say, man is the golden standard on shifting matchups to exploit weaknesses. but some people often get frustrated - depending on your opponents rotation and yours - you may only be up against their starter 60% of the time, or it could be 85% of the time. im just saying, who your starter is attempted to defend, or be defended by. on top of that, the game doesn't really simulate pick and rolls, but the concept is in there that you may face any man on the floor. watch the PBP - your guards will score against players at every position on the floor, and i DONT think that is just window dressing!
so, in man, you really could put your best guy at SG to exploit a weak defender, and maybe only half his playing time, he is taking shots on that SG - maybe hes actually facing the opposing SG 70% of the time, and only actually shooting against the listed SG say 75-80%. im not terribly confident on the real figures but thats probably in the right ballpark. anyway, 70% times 75-80% is right around 50-55%. also keep in mind, as the game goes, with distro and the opposing defenders, your players will shoot more if more weakly defended, there is no doubt in my mind on that one (thats why gentle distro adjusting is needed - a 10 distro is not a 10 distro, when you go from a strong defense against your player to a weak one. your player will naturally step it up or back, so often, jumping to a 12 against the weakest defenders is as far as you want to go). so your SG might be against the weak SG half the time, and take 60% of his shots against him, or something like that.
so, knowing the golden standard for exploiting single weak defenders, m2m, only has you shooting against the other starter maybe 50% of the time, then press and zone will be less. but there is still a concept of preferred matchups. in press, you are generally going to get traps from the 1-3, thats where speed is the money maker in the press. the 4-5 players trap much much less. so your C is probably going up against their C only slightly less than in man defense. and your guards, say your PG, sure hes getting defended more often by their 2 or 3 than in man - but still, the 1 is there the most. and often you are trying to get teamed by 2 players, and in that case, the guy across from you is 1 of them (if you are a 1-3 player).
i think many coaches who get frustrated because m2m doesnt result in exploiting a weak defender as much as they like, just assume theres nothing in the press at all. but there is. with the understanding of the flow of press as described above, if you expect to shoot against the opposing player 75-85% of the time or so, then in press, maybe its 60-70% of the time. it really might only be slightly lower than the press, if you take out the open shots when nobody is guarding you. so anyway, then if you pick say 2/3rds of the time as your guess for how often you shoot the opposing player in the lineup - if the rotation pits your starter against theirs 70% of the time, you are still looking at about 45% of the time, being defended by the opposing starter.
at that clip, its still worth making adjustments for strong and weak defenders. its just not as worth it. if you have a guy who is really a strong traditional pg, and their pg is a moderately weaker defender than their pg (say, 20 def and 10 ath or spd less), you aren't going to want to make a lineup change to get your sg shooting against their weaker pg. hes still going to face that pg a decent % of the time playing sg, and you don't want to throw away the strong fundamentals in your base setup for a small chance to exploit a minor weakness. but i have often moved my 4/5 particularly in the press (because, like i said, i feel the 4/5 are more like man than anything else in the press is), to exploit a weaker defender.
as far as zone goes, zone is really the one off/def i know the least about. its intended to not let you pick off weak defenders, so i always figure like, you have to look at the body of players as a whole, guards vs bigs, and see how they work defensively, and adjust off of that. usually my teams are shooters, and therefore are inherently strong against zone, so i havent had to analyze zone defenses that much playing against them, and have played zone less myself than anything. last time i played was a year and a half ago maybe, played a zone/fast break over at CSU northridge... i had a pretty good club, only coached maybe a half dozen seasons, but i ended by bringing them to the elite 8 and lost by 1 or 3 to a hall of fame coach with 9 of the 10 most talented players involved. in that run, i finally was able to wrap my head around the zone, but by no means am the expert. maybe somebody else can weigh in?
so anyway, with zone, yeah jacking up the 3s is the way to go, it seems. otherwise, i feel like zone is the defense that you have the least ability to game plan against. however, zone teams thrive on taking advantage of their starters. two deep teams, one playing zone and one playing anything else, the zone team is typically at a significant disadvantage. but if you have a few players way better than others, zone gets them a lot more playing time. and there is nothing you can do to tire them out. so the best thing you can do in zone is pay attention to what makes them strong, and see if there is anything you can do to counter act it. if you play man, great! all the more important to try to match up a strong defender with leading scorers when your opponent plays zone (regardless of their offense). its kind of a weird way to think about it, using your defense to counter act the strengths of the zone, but it can definitely help.
ok, last question. so, if a team has a lot of guard scoring, but not many 3s, they usually fall into 2 categories. case 1, they have a lot of lp guards and are taking advantage of that driving. in that case, - settings are in order. case 2, the other team has good per but is not really using it to take 3s. this strongly disadvantages the team and is a major mistake, so this is a good case to be in. the answer is not really a simple one, it is very situational. for starters, i would probably almost never consider playing more than a +1 against this kind of team. if they have strong bigs too, i would almost definitely play a - setting, compared to my "base" setting. but if their bigs have poor LP, you have little to gain with a -, so you can play you base setting or a +1-2 off your base setting. i am trying to put it in relation to base setting because in these cases, the fundamentals of your base setting often outweigh your choices. with a team who doesnt shoot 3s and has poor lp, there is not much reason to go plus OR minus, to deflate their offense - its already going to suck, most likely :) so if you are usually playing a -2 because you really need the reb or a +2 for whatever reason, those reasons can definitely outweigh the +/- to counter act their offenses.
there is sort of a 3rd case, where the opponent just has a really ****** team, not that they have good per and aren't using it, nor do their guards have good driving skills. in this case, my advice is about the same as when your opponent has good per, but doesn't use it for 3s, and doesn't have LP - you can adjust a little if you want but if you have strong fundamental reasons to favor a certain +/- setting, that will often outweigh the incentives to change.