Thursday, August 12, 2010

First Look at Larry Drew's Motion Offense

Michael Cunningham watched Larry Drew run his assistants through the new halfcourt offense and provides the following observations:
There was lots of motion and ball movement, yes, but what stood out was how much of the action had players cutting to the basket. It seemed there always was an option for the next man in the sequence to either accept the ball while moving to his position or reverse field and look for a cut to the basket. Not everything happens on the strong side, either, so ball-watching and inattentiveness by defenders can mean backdoor baskets.

“It’s very difficult to guard,” [Lester] Conner said. “You have to be precise in your defensive schemes. You can be beat at any spot on the floor at any time. NBA teams don’t like to guard a lot of movement and screens. I’ve heard the guys [Hawks players] are all for it and are excited about it.”

For weeks L.D. has said his system would “force the ball to move” and I get that now. Things happen so fast there’s not much opportunity for holding the ball. The screens and cuts happen quickly and if the first option is not there then the ball quickly swings the other way, leading to move movement.

Not much possession time is spent on the one- or even two-man game. Each guy gets a chance to touch the ball at different spots on the floor. Decisions must be made quickly for things to flow correctly.

Some of my notes: "pindown screens with curl to free-throw line...dribble hand-offs, sometimes with roll man...backdoor cuts...high-post pick-and-pop...flare screens with roll man...ball reversal to quick weakside seal post-ups...high-low post-ups...”
Sounds great.

Lest anyone think Larry Drew isn't on a roll, his ideas for using Josh Smith at the 3 are not unreasonable, either:
"I won’t match him up against a lightning-quick guy where he would have to defend multiple screens. But he certainly will be able to play some 3. At the same time, he can be a tough matchup at the 3 as well. You play him at some 3, there is a high probability he is bigger than that three man, stronger than that three man. Certainly the way to take advantage of that matchup is to post him up. We will certainly try to utilize his ability against a smaller guy. It won’t necessarily be about us adjusting to what the other team does. We want to put the opponent in a position where they have to match up with us."
It's still a little more than six weeks until training camp opens (and another month until the regular season begins) but the excitement of the new* begins to work its magic.

*Make the other team adjust to the Hawks!


Drew Ditzel said...

I am glad I quit blogging. I have no reference point for how to talk about anything in this post.

Unknown said...

The first thing I've been excited about for the Hawks since Jamal dropped the game-winning three over the Suns in mid-January. I hope this plays out as well as it sounds.

Keith Box said...

My one concern is that I have heard nothing about what this team will do defensively. My hope is that we haven't gone to the polar opposite of what we had in Woodson, where Larry will be all offense and very little defense.

jrauch said...

I'm doubting Larry Drew is Norman Dale personified, but he at least seems to be saying all the right things about match-ups, movement with the ball, etc etc.

Makes me wonder how sideways we got as a team that creating mismatches is a new, novel concept.

Bret LaGree said...

Keith's summarized my next post.

jrauch said...

Well, even under Woody the team was never a lock-down defensive squad.

If the trade-off nets a largely middling defense with an improved offense, that's a bargain I'd take for this team. I think we all need a bit more Seven Seconds or Less in our basketball lives.

Unknown said...

This offense sounds great, assuming that ALL of the players buy into it and that no one player decides to go one on one with his defender.