Years ago

Are most coaches like sheep?

Looking at the NBA in particular, all the rage is about shooting 3 pointers and playing at a very fast tempo, ie, wanting to run.

This rage has taken off in particular the last season. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind the major cause of this is the Golden State Warriors and the success they have had with this brand.

It seems that coaches have looked at the Warriors and said "to win in this league, that is how you have to play, shoot plenty of plenty of 3s and play at a very fast tempo.

It seems that it doesnt really matter what skill set the coach has at this disposal, he just wants to play that style because if they want to win, that is how they have to play. Ie, "that is how the Warriors play, thats we have to do".

Many teams are trying this. The biggest problem is that not every team, in fact, most teams dont have the skill set anywhere near what the Warriors have. Dont coaches realise this?

You have arguably the greatest shooting back court in the history of the sport and in particular Curry who i think will never be a better shooter.

2 teams in particular that exemplify this problem.

1. Bulls. Last season they got a new coach who preached pace and 3 point shooting. 1 problem, they didnt have the personnel to succeed at this style of play. Rose is NOT a good shooter, Butler is not a natural shooter. They had Gasol who is not a natural 3 point shooter. What happened? They didnt even make the post season. If you look at the Bulls, there strength was post up (Gasol) and more slashing (Rose, Butler).

2. Pelicans. You have a franchise player in Anthony Davis. He is your best player. His strength is the paint, play around the basket. There guards are Holiday and Evans who are NOT natural shooters especially from the arc. There coach is Gentry who came from the Warriors. I have no doubt his intention was to mimic the Warriors. Only problem is, he doesnt have the personnel to succeed at that style, so why are they doing it?

Remember back in the early-mid 2000s with the Spurs? There franchise player and focal point was Duncan. His strengths were post ups and attacking the paint. They realised this and played a very very slow game that suited there personnel. They didnt have really any great 3 point shooters and played to there strengths and guess what, they were extremely successful.

It seems that coaches, NBA coaches in particular are mostly just sheep, adapting to the "whats in" style like the latest fashion even though they dont realise they dont have the personnel to succeed at it.

Dont coaches/management who get paid millions a year realise this?

Topic #40164 | Report this topic

Young Gun  
Years ago

you might be onto something there (sorry, but I've skim read most of what you've written :) )

that's why guys like Pop are a rung above the rest, who seem to get the stars working together & the team has great processes in place to uncover players like Patty Mills, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli and Jonathon Simmons.

Reply #604546 | Report this post

Young Gun  
Years ago

it is kinda funny when NBL coaches follow NBA trends without the level of knowledge & number of assistant coaches... when Chicago's version of the triangle was all the rage, one of the Brisbane Coaches implemented the triangle.. I remember them getting flogged by the Magic. Brian Kerle's comment as a commentator just said "I think Brian Gorjian knows a lot more about the triangle than David Ingham does.

Reply #604548 | Report this post

Years ago

Are not the very best coaches those who are in fact a little more contrarian by nature, willing to lead rather than follow (like sheep), use what they have to the best advantage and be proactively ahead of the pack rather than just go along with what is popular or has been proven to work once for another team?

I agree, Coach Popovich is a better example, still one of the best at getting the best from his players.

You can't expect success coaching a team based on what has worked for another team, you must use what you have and if that isn't what the Warriors have then you would be a pretty average sheep to try and imitate it IMHO...

'Sheep' style of coaching will more often than not result in reactive and fear of losing attitudes to build within the team that will cause frustration in the coaching and probably not a championship win, rather more like a losing season or at the very least an average one!

Reply #604554 | Report this post

Duke Fan  
Years ago

A sheep would be smarter than any coach who tries to run a system that doesn't suit their players. The best coaches have a basic philosophy of how they like to play but tweak their systems season by season to suit their personnel. Or they get lucky and manage to recruit guys who suit their system

Reply #604556 | Report this post

Years ago

GSW's defence has as much to do with their success as their pace and shooting %.

The Pelicans' aren't successful because they don't have 3 pt shooters, they aren't successful because outside of Davis the rest of the team is trash..... most WNBL teams could stop the Nuggets from scoring 100+....

Reply #604557 | Report this post

Years ago

My point is, why dont teams play ACCORDING to the personnel they have?

The pelicans franchise and BEST player is Davis. Everything should run off him. Is he a pure shooter? Does he have range OUTSIDE 18 feet? No

His strength is INSIDE the paint to 18 feet.

They dont have guards that are pure shooters, ie Holiday and Evans, so why are they playing at such a furious pace?

Are coaches that dumb? OR do they just want to be seen as "fashionable"?

Reply #604559 | Report this post

Years ago

I don't want to invalidate your entire point. So many pro leagues are copy-cat leagues and your overall argument is valid.

But, Davis shot 35/108 from three last season. You'd think that a number of those would have been forced late in the shot-clock. I'd say his range is fine, its just a waste because of how good he is closer to the basket.

Reply #604563 | Report this post

Years ago

Pelican's do run their offence thru Davis, but they still need a perimeter game to give him space/more space to operate. Their perimeter isn't great, but Davis is, so he can overcome a lot. Ultimately if they don't get production from other players they wont go anywhere.

They play at pace because with a dominate rebounder like Davis they can get out into transition real quick and/or go at defences that haven't established their structure.

Space isn't fashionable, it's fundamental. The 3 ball has become popular because players have become better at shooting. Most of the time a 3pt shot is a higher %, more rewarding shot, than a mid range jumper.

Reply #604584 | Report this post

Years ago

I agree with the fact there is a sheep approach.

Classic example was OKC last year vs. Warriors. They would beast Warriors for possessions here and there when they went inside..but then they resorted to the long game.

I'd love to see a team come out and say 'these Warriors have nothing inside'..lets go at them inside for the full 48. But it seems every team is too scared too do that.

I think its because people see the inside game as 'old'. What they're failing to understand is that 'old' doesn't necessarily equal wrong.

Reply #604587 | Report this post

Years ago

If you're so much more knowledgable than these coaches why aren't you up there coaching instead?

Reality is that to win you need to play that style, Cleveland won last season using the exact same base theory as the Warriors, so it very much appears that you need that style to win. Gregg Popovich employs the same method as well with fast pace, floor spacing and the 3 ball.

Floor spacing is the way to go, bigs that are smaller and have perimeter skills are preferred over the dinosaur bigs of the past. There is always a need for a big that can protect the paint, but this is what makes the likes of Davis, Towns and Embiid so much more valuable than the Gobert's and Jordan's of the league.

Reply #604590 | Report this post

Years ago

without Bogut the Warriors biggest issue is that inside presence on D, and his outlet passing on D.

The game also evolves with rule changes, the 'old' inside game doesn't work with 3 second rules etc. Which is why we've seen a decline in the NBA of the traditional centre type position and the growth of the small 5/stretch 5. But space has always been part of the game.

Following a trend, following what is successful isn't being a sheep though. Again, the move to 3 is more because of the efficiency of modern shooters, compared to the inefficiency (risk V reward) of the mid range shot.

I don't think Cleveland followed GSW's style at all. Surrounding LBJ with shooters is the similar model as to what happened in Miami, where they perfected the small ball. There's a lot of drive and dish/inside out stuff.
GSW's offensive (a lot of the time) relies on extraordinary shooters shooting off the dribble extraordinarily - and it works. They also use a lot more off ball screening than the Cavs. So while they both shot alot of 3's, the way they get the 3's is different.
I should add that the Cav's take more mid range shots than GSW who take most of their attempts at the rim or at 3.

I think Gobert is very valuable. Mobile rim protectors, rebounders and finishers at still a vital part of the equation - e.g. TT, Gobert, even Dwight. Jordan is a liability only because of his FT%.

Reply #604595 | Report this post

Years ago

I've always admired Gordie McLeod for managing to get so much out of so little. I've even appreciated Fearne at times too.
To me, they're coaches who assessed their players' strengths and weaknesses, and got the most out of them rather than following trends.

Otherwise, you need to hope you can introduce a style which everyone learns quickly, buys into and executes well (such as Andrew Gaze has done).

Reply #604607 | Report this post

Duke Fan  
Years ago

If any team ever comes across another Shaq (who can shoot free throws) you can bet their post game will be featured.

Reply #604611 | Report this post

Years ago

Something that must always be remembered is that the way such organisations are run is often very counter-intuitive.
As fans, we look at a team and assume that the #1 priority of everyone involved is simply to win. Unfortunately that assumption is dead wrong.
At the top you have an owner, or ownership structure. Sure, many owners are very pragmatic and simply want the glory of success. But for others the actual #1 priority is often to see things done and run in a manner they approve of. Such owners tend to surround themselves with sycophants.

Below them, the #1 aim of EVERYBODY else is to keep their job. Now sure, one of the best ways to ensure that is to win, but particularly for teams that are going to be middle of the road at best, you also need to suck up to the boss.
So yes, when the boss says "look at GSW, why can't we be more like them" the coach has to listen.

This can lead directly to "sheep-like" behaviour. If you buck the trends and win the ring, you'll be hailed as an innovator. But finish middle of the road and your head will be on the block.

The other problem this generates is internal conflict and politics.

You only have to look at Phil Jackson's departure from the Bulls. He won 6 freaking rings, but it wasn't enough. There was conflict between him and the GM, who was presumably better at sucking up to the owner(s). The irony is that if he had focussed less on winning, and more on currying favour with the GM and ownership, he would have kept his job. Fortunately he was either very stubborn, or just had too much integrity.

Reply #604620 | Report this post

Years ago

and the graveyard of coaches is filled with those who tried to coach the triangle!

Reply #604633 | Report this post

Years ago

The Spurs changed also after the 2003 season.. the NBA is being played the same way as international now instead of the usual American style. How many 3'a get launched in NBL? These are the best athletes and players on the planet. A 3pt shot is just like any other shot for those players..doesn't take any more or less effort to shoot them but they count for more so why not shoot it? Steph curry shooting a 3 is like most NBA centers shooting a free throw. It's time to let go of the stigma about the 3. It is now the same as a free throw, a lay up, or a mid range jumper .. every player should be able to shoot them if they are open. Percentage wise you can't beat a lay up or free throw but after that shoot the 3

Reply #604641 | Report this post

Years ago

Shooting the 3 @ 30% is just as good as shooting the 2pt @ 45%

Reply #604644 | Report this post

Years ago

Have a look at this. It is true. Teams are copying them,

Reply #604695 | Report this post

Years ago

It's a copycat league for two reasons:

a). you see success right in front of you and you try to emulate it

b). you have to stock up certain players to stop the top teams' top guys. Everyone wants to stop the warriors so you need mobile bigs to switch P&Rs. Just like when Shaq was at his peak every big man was trying to put on extra weight to guard him, and teams were signing fat 7 footers to ridiculous contracts just for their sheer size to throw bodies at Shaq. Now you need heaps of versatile guys (ie. stocking up on wings and mobile bigs) so you can switch everything to stop all of the elite shooting. Those kinds of guys (wings and mobile bigs) are generally good shooters themselves too, so it feeds back on itself.

It's all cyclical though. Once Embiid, Davis, KAT, Drummond and Cousins all hit their primes, you'll see a shift - even if those guys are pretty mobile, they're still most effective near the rim, and you won't be able to guard them with Draymond Green or Kevin Durant at the five.

Reply #604740 | Report this post

Years ago

I think in almost in any league in any sport, the trend is to try and follow what works. It's the keeping up with the Jones's theory. Even in the AFL, Clarkson was the first to implement a zoned defensive scheme and now every team does it. Agreed though in that you must play to your strengths, and if you are strong in areas that you don't think will win you games, you need to develop players into other areas or recruit accordingly.

Reply #604832 | Report this post

Years ago

so lets look at this from a statistical point of view.
3s are worth more then 2s yea? ok
if you work out the shooting % per area eg shoot 60% inside the paint you get 1.2 points per shot
that is the NBA average
the NBA average for corner 3s is like 40% which also is equal to 1.2 points per shot.
but then you look at mid rangers and teams shoot around 45-55% on mid rangers which brings the points per shot down below that of a 3pt shot!
so basic maths makes you say, ok if we shoot more corner 3s, get more dunks and get as many free throws as possible statistically you improve your chances on winning offensively and if you limit those and force as many long 2 pt shots as possible you are more likely to slow other teams down on offence
There thread ended

Reply #604967 | Report this post

Years ago

I was right all the time.

Nuggets coach Mike Malone said this recently

"In the NBA there's a herd mentality. Golden State's doing it, so let's do it; San Antonio is doing it, so let's to it," Denver coach Michael Malone said. "We don't want to be a team that follows the current trends. We look within, see what are strengths are and what allows us the best chance to have success. The team that comes to mind is Memphis. Memphis is the outlier. They play two bigs, and they've had tremendous success with that."

I just find it hilarious, even though a style may be at complete odds to the roster a team has, they will still adopt that style because its the "latest fashion" and we have to be seen wearing the latest clothes.

Reply #606974 | Report this post

Years ago

@fatguy, basing any sporting argument on statistics like you have done would be fine if we used robots and there were no exceptional circumstances, no errors and no broken play to deal with.

Seriously flawed post that ends nothing...

Reply #612829 | Report this post

Years ago

Memphis play two bigs?

Anyone who's watched them recently would know they don't do that anymore.
Part of the reason Zach Randolph comes off the bench nowadays.

Reply #612835 | Report this post

Years ago

Every NBL team runs the horns offense and full court presses. Pressing is a waste of time

Reply #612837 | Report this post

Years ago

A well executed full court press can turn the tide of a game in 2 minutes. It's a great thing to have in the playbook.

Reply #612839 | Report this post

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