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The future of center play in the NBA
#1
There has been lots of discussion recently about "possitionless basketball" and "small ball" and other misleading nomenclature. My observation is that much like every other analyzed subject in modern society, the debate tends to get broken down into two, needlessly limited viewpoints simply so that groups can form on one side or the other in order to oppose each other with as much gusto as possible. 

When it comes to center play, the debate has somehow become "big guys vs. not big guys" which is moronic and not at all where the innovation point lies. 

Here's Kevin O'Connor, doing a pretty good job of explaining what makes Bam Adebayo so freaking special:

https://youtu.be/dXvsnOVrWh0

Now, is that dude not big? I mean, relative to who? When compared to the prototypical 90's centers, no, he is not big. But this observation completely misses the point, and fails to provide context as to WHY this trend towards smaller "bigs" is happening. 

In the video, segments are devoted to how he impacts the game in the following ways:

  • half court offense: not only can he contribute in the traditional ways - setting screens, rolling hard, etc, he can handle the ball and facilitate for others, and not just standing at the elbow like Vlade Divac and Brad Miller used to, either. His "triple threat position" is actually a triple threat. 
  • transition offense: He can actually be trusted to bring the ball up, even in important moments of the game, and make good decisions. This is huge, because it puts the defense in an insanely awkward position, as they have exponentially less experience setting up their half court defense under those circumstances.
  • half court defense: he doesn't have to play drop coverage on the pick and roll against ANYONE, because he has the foot speed and athletic reflexes to hedge, blitz, whatever, and then recover to the paint to effectively defend the rim. Also, he has the ability (at the center position!!!) to SWITCH onto most ball handlers and still manages to bother them into taking low percentage shots. When post passes are thrown (not a very frequent occurrence anymore, but it does happen) he is more than capable of holding his own in those situations, too. 
  • transition defense: he's fast. And, he's smart. And, he plays hard all the time. I see this get glossed over by so many fans who assume that every NBA player is up to the task of going top speed for long stretches of the game, just because they're "pros." From what I've seen, this is far from the case, and sometimes a skilled player is rendered useless on any given night just because he can't keep up with the opposing team's pace. There's a commonly held misconception by NBA fans that the playoff game is less concerned with running and more focused on the half court game. This is false. These teams are still trying to run and get themselves easy baskets - they'd be stupid not to try. However, all of the teams who rely on players who can't keep up have been weeded out, and the deeper we go into the tournament, the fewer mistakes are made, resulting in more well guarded half court possessions. In fact, I'd go as far as to posit that this responsibility (running the floor relentlessly on transition D) might just be the primary thing coaches look for in their big guys, which is another way of saying it's like the "minimum basic skill" required to carve out a career at that position. 
The list of ways Bam impacts the game above is the dream. It's a much wider job description than that of any other era's center stars, and he's literally a step forward in the evolution of basketball. When trying to identify other current players who can affect the game in that many ways at the center position, I could only think of 3: Bam, Jokic and Davis. Interesting that they're all in the final four, isn't it? There might be others I can't think of right now, but all three of those guys are capable of doing all or most of the stuff listed above at an insanely high level. In my opinion, any team who is not trying to develop such a player right now is making a huge, huge mistake. 

Will there be more like those guys, or are they outliers? I think we'll see many more, and that this will be the norm, eventually. Hell, if you keep going down the list (past the top 3) of who's coveted around the league at this position, most of the names you'll see are guys whose teams are in the process of molding them into being worthy of inclusion with that group (see Porzingis).

Basically, if there's a way you can be played off the floor, then the good things you do don't really matter, because...well, because you can't be on the floor. Guys like Whiteside, Drummond and Adams look just as out of place today as Roy Hibbert did not too long ago. I will probably lose people here, but I expect that Rudy Gobert isn't too far behind them. 

It's interesting to me that people in Dallas, specifically, don't seem to get what's happening. We just saw this same renaissance happen with the 4 position, and we all had front row seats for it. It started right here with our Mavs. Remember how the talking heads all thought Dirk couldn't win at the 4 because he wasn't tough enough, and that you needed an Anthony Mason or a Charles Oakley there? Then remember how guys like Dirk, Webber, Garnett, Wallace, etc all changed the game and how building your offense around a player like that became the arms race around the league? Now, it's just a given that you have to have at least one big on your roster who can do those things. Would anyone reading this really even consider putting Anthony Mason on the floor in the playoffs right now as the second big? Next to another unskilled big guy, to boot? Is it really so tough to understand that this evolution has spread to the 5? 

That's what is happening, and because we're early in the evolutionary process, there just aren't very many players who fit the bill. But everyone knows they have to start playing that way. To do otherwise would be a little like building an NFL offense around the wishbone. 

There will be another Shaq someday, but it's not going to happen until the guy in that body can do everything Bam can do. It's the requisite skillset that's changing, not the desired body type.

https://twitter.com/mikepradanba/status/...47040?s=21

Don’t ever let someone get away with posting something about defense in support of a center who can’t do what’s in the clip above, because that’s how defense is defined now.
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#2
Bam is pretty awesome. He is also on 23 yr old legs. At his weight I think he isn't going to be able to be that nimble forever.


#3
(09-17-2020, 06:53 PM)StepBackJay Wrote: Bam is pretty awesome. He is also on 23 yr old legs. At his weight I think he isn't going to be able to be that nimble forever.

He is also protected insanely good by Butler an Crowder, just look at the perfect little steps Butler takes to prevent Kemba from going around Bam.


#4
(09-17-2020, 08:42 PM)Mapka Wrote: He is also protected insanely good by Butler an Crowder, just look at the perfect little steps Butler takes to prevent Kemba from going around Bam.

Oh, I agree, Butler and Crowder are both defensive studs. And, Dragic is a sneaky good team defender, while Robinson and Herro play hard on that end. 

Just saying, though, I don't think they could get away with that approach without Bam and his ability to cover ground that quickly. 

But, to your point, you have to build the defense around him, and I give Spoelstra a lot of credit for that.

(09-17-2020, 06:53 PM)StepBackJay Wrote: Bam is pretty awesome. He is also on 23 yr old legs. At his weight I think he isn't going to be able to be that nimble forever.

He'll age just like everyone else, but just like other greats, it won't be the death sentence people are afraid of. 

These dudes can play at a super high level well into their 30's if they treat their bodies like pros should. Chandler was on the highly athletic side of the center position in '11, and he was pretty damn old at the time. An NBA player's "prime" seems to be somewhere in the 28-33 range, because that's the sweet spot where they can still perform physically (though it probably requires more work off the court to do so) and they've finally learned enough and experienced enough to know how to win.
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#5
(09-17-2020, 08:46 PM)KillerLeft Wrote:
(09-17-2020, 08:42 PM)Mapka Wrote: He is also protected insanely good by Butler an Crowder, just look at the perfect little steps Butler takes to prevent Kemba from going around Bam.

Oh, I agree, Butler and Crowder are both defensive studs. And, Dragic is a sneaky good team defender, while Robinson and Herro play hard on that end. 

Just saying, though, I don't think they could get away with that approach without Bam and his ability to cover ground that quickly. 

But, to your point, you have to build the defense around him, and I give Spoelstra a lot of credit for that.

(09-17-2020, 06:53 PM)StepBackJay Wrote: Bam is pretty awesome. He is also on 23 yr old legs. At his weight I think he isn't going to be able to be that nimble forever.

He'll age just like everyone else, but just like other greats, it won't be the death sentence people are afraid of. 

These dudes can play at a super high level well into their 30's if they treat their bodies like pros should. Chandler was on the highly athletic side of the center position in '11, and he was pretty damn old at the time. An NBA player's "prime" seems to be somewhere in the 28-33 range, because the sweet spot where they can still perform physically (though it probably requires more work off the court to do so) and they've finally learned enough and experienced enough to know how to win.

He is the same kind of "star" like Draymond. He pushes a good team to greatness, but wouldn't make a average team good. 

That's perfectly fine. And I would love to have someone like him. 

And wow do the heats look good. And wow did they fleece the Grizzlies.


#6
Give a big like to your post because it's well researched and supported.  Smile 
Now here's why I don't agree with you. 

Let's grant you that a guy like Bam is the prototypical ideal center of today's ideal NBA team.  
Thinking that everyone has to go copy Bam is thinking in a box.  It doesn't take into account the variation of talents and it ignore the realities of actually winning and losing. 

How many Bam's will you find that are as good as Bam in the same areas that Bam excels in?  
Answer not many. Dallas for example played Maxi Kleber our best bam imitation as a mobile athletic center that can move in space, hit from the perimeter and defend in general. 

Of course Maxi is not Bam.  In fact most teams Bam lights are not going to be good enough to beat Bam at his own game.  Thinking in the box, which you and Rick Carlisle do, is always trying to out-Bam Bam even if you don't have a Bam. 


Now let's suppose you have a player today who is the newest incarnation of Shaquille O'Neal.  
Are you going to try and use him like Bam Adebayo because of the way the game is played today? 
Are you going to bench Shaq today and just give him token minutes?  
Are you going to cut him as useless and just find the closest guy to Bam you can find even if he turns out to the the 20th best Bam like player in the league? 

Are you going to sit Shaq out on the perimeter and make him an overgrown screen setter like most other centers? 

I suggest that thinking out the box means you have to use Shaq differently today.  He won't be able to dominate the game the way he did in his day BUT a Shaq is still an absurdly high % 2 point shot whenever you need it.  
THAT still has value, especially at certain points in the game. 
How about if you play your Bam and I play my Jokic, or my McGee/Dwight Howard combo because that's what I have in my hand.  


#7
(09-17-2020, 10:25 PM)Dahlsim Wrote: How about if you play your Bam and I play my Jokic

You didn't read very carefully. Jokic is mine, too. 

The Earth is round.
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#8
(09-17-2020, 10:36 PM)KillerLeft Wrote:
(09-17-2020, 10:25 PM)Dahlsim Wrote: How about if you play your Bam and I play my Jokic

You didn't read very carefully. Jokic is mine, too. 

The Earth is round.

Your flat earth joke is tired  Undecided and just a cop out from addressing a real point. 

Yeah, now that Jokic plays well, you can play captain hindsight and say "yeah, that works too!". Doh. 

What do you do with Shaq today genius?


#9
(09-17-2020, 10:48 PM)Dahlsim Wrote: What do you do with Shaq today genius?

Assuming he makes it to the NBA with the same game he had when he played, which I don't believe he would, since all players are being expected to develop a wider range of skills now, even at lower levels, I'd play him in spurts when I could, as long as he wasn't getting spread pick and rolled to death. When that starts, you really have no choice but to yank him. 

But, the point of my post was that the next version of Shaq won't be the last version we saw. We'll see another player with that body, eventually, but I don't think he'll be nearly as limited as Shaq was. And if that limited player exists, you'll never see him make it to the league. This is just my opinion. The job requirements have changed. 

Jokic isn't on my list because he's playing well right now, nor is he on my list because his style of play is all that similar to Bam's. He's on the list because he's a competent basketball player who is obviously a center, and not to be confused with a "tweener" like PJ Tucker, for example. Tucker is a great, great player, but not a center. I think Bam is a center. I think Anthony Davis is a center. KP...etc. 

Now, I'll agree with your point that you must tailor your strategy to the players at hand (seems obvious to me, not "outside of the box") and I'm not suggesting that treading water until you can clone Bam (or any one player) is the way to go. In fact, I don't think Bam, Jokic, Davis or KP are really all that similar in play styles, and I don't think they should be used the same way at all.

But, what they do all have in common is that they can affect the game on both sides of the ball, and in ways that create space for others. Yes, a dominant post player can do that on offense (even if that's all he can do) - I'll admit that. But, getting those sets right, getting the right position, and even throwing the post pass consistently is easier said than done. Defenders have become ungodly skilled at fronting, doubling to take away the pass, etc. If the triangle Lakers were playing today, they's spend 18 seconds trying to get Shaq the ball, then there'd be a double, and then Rick Fox would get a catch and shoot attempt that a good rotation could make pretty difficult. And he wouldn't have the option of passing, because the shot clock would be down to 2-3 seconds. 

Frankly, the league doesn't WANT their product to be that way anymore, which is why they've slowly changed the rules and the way the game is officiated. It's clear they've wanted to model the NBA game after the international style of play, which the majority of basketball purists seem to think is more fun and aesthetically pleasing. The only people I see/hear/read begging for a return to the NBA of the 90's is, well, retired players who played in the 90's. 

Basketball SHOULD BE PLAYED played inside/out - you're right about that, but you don't seem to realize that it's being played MORE inside/out now than ever before. There are TWO ways to accomplish this: 1) the post pass or 2) dribble penetration. I'm no stats guy, but I'd wager quite a bit that there are just as many points being scored in the paint now as there were in the 90's...maybe MORE! That's because there's SPACE for drivers (and again, on good teams, multiple drivers) to easily beat their main off the dribble. So you see, they're still playing the same game, only now they're doing it in a way that logic dictates they believe is easier, more efficient, and more easily tailored to their rosters (which again, I agree with you that they should do). 

Think about it: how many ball handlers right now can get into the paint literally ANY time they want? Not even Jordan could make it look as easy as maybe 20 guys do today, routinely. This is BECAUSE their center isn't there, giving the opposing center a free pass to stand between the ball and the rim like a hockey goalie. You think none of these coaches have thought "Gee, what if I just leave my big guy there anyway?" OF COURSE THEY HAVE. It doesn't work anymore, because eventually, that ball is going to find the guy not being guarded, and he's going to knock down shots like he does in practice, when nobody is contesting them. 

And let's say that I'm completely wrong about the inefficiency of building your offense out of the post. I'm not, but let's say I am. Can you honestly say that you believe Boban, Shaq (can't believe we're even comparing the two, tbh) could handle getting out to the perimeter that way these guys have to defend now? There used to be one guard who could handle and shoot (two, if a team was VERY lucky) and the forwards would be one mediocre shooter and a rebounder who literally just clogged things up (for the offense more than the defense, ironically). This resulted in a lot of 1 on 1 attempts, with the center being asked to box out and rebound. Nowadays, everyone is a threat to shoot, and the good teams have several threats to handle, so if a team wants, they can involve the center in the play defensively 20 feet from the basket on literally every play. I'm sorry, but that's just the reality.

And, just to show you that I understand where you're coming from with this, let me say that while Jokic and KP are way, way on my list of skilled players, I don't think either of them are ideal, defensively. But, if the other defenders and the schemes are developed just right, in a way to complement them, you can live with them on defense, because they play hard and there are defensive circumstances in which they can positively affect plays. Those dudes are so transformative on offense that you absolutely have to find a way to make it work with them. They can run, drive, pass, shoot. They can post up OR play out of the triple threat!

I'll repeat the most basic and blatantly true component of my post now: If you can be played off of the floor, then the good things you do don't matter, because you can't be on the floor during important moments. It's not the PRESENCE of size or even a good post player that I object to, it's the ABSENCE of skills that I consider requisite to playing at that level! Would you play a guard who couldn't dribble? 
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#10
Man, Killer is back. My basketball daddy is coaching us up.
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#11
(09-17-2020, 11:47 PM)fifteenth Wrote: Man, Killer is back. My basketball daddy is coaching us up.

Haven't seen you in like a week, pal. Been busy?


#12
(09-17-2020, 11:32 PM)KillerLeft Wrote: We'll see another player with that body, eventually, but I don't think he'll be nearly as limited as Shaq was.


Hello, my name is Zion Williamson Smile
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#13
(09-18-2020, 12:04 AM)omahen Wrote:
(09-17-2020, 11:32 PM)KillerLeft Wrote: We'll see another player with that body, eventually, but I don't think he'll be nearly as limited as Shaq was.


Hello, my name is Zion Williamson Smile

Haha, I thought of that, and almost wrote it. Great minds.


#14
(09-17-2020, 11:51 PM)KillerLeft Wrote:
(09-17-2020, 11:47 PM)fifteenth Wrote: Man, Killer is back. My basketball daddy is coaching us up.

Haven't seen you in like a week, pal. Been busy?

Not quite as regular as I used to be. Different stage of life and all.


#15
So you’re saying Bill Russell is the new prototypical center?  Smile
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"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."


#16
2011 Tyson Chandler is forever
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#17
(09-18-2020, 09:03 AM)ItsGoTime Wrote: So you’re saying Bill Russell is the new prototypical center?  Smile

I don't think so. I mean, maybe, because while I'm familiar with the man's accomplishments, I haven't actually been able to see him play much. Not quite old enough. 

Could he play smothering defense on the perimeter (I guess there wasn't a 3 point line when he played) and then recover to affect a shot into the paint on the same play? 

Could he face the basket (triple threat position) from anywhere on the court and put pressure on the defense by passing, shooting or driving? 

My understanding is that he could do NEITHER of those things, but again, I could be wrong, because he was before my time.

I know that he was a winner, and within the game as it was played at the time, he contributed to winning basketball in much wider variety of ways than other centers did, so in a way, that will always be the prototypical center.


#18
(09-17-2020, 11:32 PM)KillerLeft Wrote:
(09-17-2020, 10:48 PM)Dahlsim Wrote: What do you do with Shaq today genius?

....

Well now we're getting somewhere! An intelligent thoughtful debate. 
I was starting to think it wasn't possible. Big Grin
Quote:Assuming he makes it to the NBA with the same game he had when he played, which I don't believe he would, since all players are being expected to develop a wider range of skills now, even at lower levels, I'd play him in spurts when I could, as long as he wasn't getting spread pick and rolled to death. When that starts, you really have no choice but to yank him. 

Wait a minute.  You're NOT saying that Hall of Fame, top 5-ish ever center Shaq wouldn't even make it to the NBA today are you?  Would Wilt Chamberlain make it?  Would Kareem make it?  

Lol, ok, I know you didn't say that exactly so let me put your statement back in context.  You're saying Shaq would have to change his game today.  I agree.  So yeah, we actually agree Mr. Round Earth. 
On the other your remarks were not as fair to me.  You took me out of context.  I've said that Shaq would NOT be as dominant the same way today so I didn't say or imply that he would have the 'same game' or be used the 'same way' today.  
My point is, and maybe you just don't get it, he SHOULD be used and he would be VERY effective in the 'SPURTS' to use your word that he is most effective in. 

My argument is about what those spurts should be, could be and when consensus 'box thinkers' are NOT maximizing his skills and talent. 

A high % near guaranteed 2 point shot that also has a strong chance of drawing a foul for example is a VERY effective tool when used in the right SPURT of the game. 
Let's say for example when you have a significant lead and time is running out in the game.  The other team has to not only score but they MUST stop your normally high powered offense from scoring too. (Sound Familiar?). 

Shaq could pretty much seal your win in that SPURT of the game, shooting 60% and higher from the paint and forcing a few fouls too, not mention securing rebounds.  
Do you have a problem with that reasoning? 

I'm saying that some 'brilliant' coaches are NOT doing this simple thing because they are so deeply entrenched in the modern game analytics (in the box) they can't utilize the old school talent in the right spurts. 


BTW just food for thought KL, at one time the Flat Earthers were the majority of 'scientific' thought, which meant the Round Earthers were the Flat Earthers of their day. 
That's if we use your sense of term and just tend to think the consensus of thought alone dictates that something must be right. 
Ok. carry on.  Wink

(09-18-2020, 12:04 AM)omahen Wrote:
(09-17-2020, 11:32 PM)KillerLeft Wrote: We'll see another player with that body, eventually, but I don't think he'll be nearly as limited as Shaq was.


Hello, my name is Zion Williamson Smile

Dodgy  While you guys pat each other on the forum back, let me just point out that it has nothing to do with the original point I raised.  Yes I thought of him too, but Zion is 'Shaq like', he's not Shaq. 

The question was what do you do with Shaq today, not can you use a 'Shaq like' but significantly different type player today.   Carry on.


#19
(09-18-2020, 10:12 AM)Dahlsim Wrote: BTW just food for thought KL, at one time the Flat Earthers were the majority of 'scientific' thought, which meant the Round Earthers were the Flat Earthers of their day.  
That's if we use your sense of term and just tend to think the consensus of thought alone dictates that something must be right. 
Ok. carry on.  Wink

Yes, and much like you are doing in this conversation, they plugged their fingers in their ears, refusing to acknowledge what's right in front of them. Yours is the most "inside of the box" thinking on this entire forum, as you can't seem to imagine a style of play that you haven't seen for years and years. That's fine, but you're intentionally condescending about it. You keep accusing others of refusing to deal with your points, yet you literally spew one, single point over and over, never addressing anything anyone else brings up. What's worse is that yours is the most surface level, obvious component of the conversation.

I admit that I skim some of your stuff, because it's always so needlessly long, repetitive and full of weird emojis, so push back on me if this is incorrect, but have you ever actually addressed the reason Boban isn't played more? How would you guard the spread pick and roll stuff with him on the floor?  Until we have an answer to that question, the conversation is over. The post players you mention from the past were all not only serviceable defensively in the game styles of their day, many of them were actually difference makers on that end, too. Boban, defensively, might be one of the 5 worst defenders in the sport, were he played as much as you want. 

So many people make the mistake of thinking Carlisle chooses his minutes based on the 1 on 1 matchup. The truth is that he tries to play the dude (to take advantage of all the things you seem to think only you can see) in situations where he believes Boban is less likely to be involved in the pick and roll. The fact that when Boban is out there the other coach doesn't immediately go to this strategy is, in my opinion, a huge win for Carlisle, tactically, and demonstrates that he has chosen his spots very well.

(09-18-2020, 10:12 AM)Dahlsim Wrote:
(09-18-2020, 12:04 AM)omahen Wrote:
(09-17-2020, 11:32 PM)KillerLeft Wrote: We'll see another player with that body, eventually, but I don't think he'll be nearly as limited as Shaq was.


Hello, my name is Zion Williamson Smile

Dodgy  While you guys pat each other on the forum back, let me just point out that it has nothing to do with the original point I raised.  Yes I thought of him too, but Zion is 'Shaq like', he's not Shaq. 

The question was what do you do with Shaq today, not can you use a 'Shaq like' but significantly different type player today.   Carry on.

Yes, and I answered that question in my first paragraph. My dude made a sidebar comment on a sentence from another paragraph, which was making a different point. You realize that not everything anyone thinks or writes here has to be about your weird agenda, right?


#20
(09-18-2020, 10:12 AM)Dahlsim Wrote: My point is, and maybe you just don't get it, he SHOULD be used and he would be VERY effective in the 'SPURTS' to use your word that he is most effective in. 


My argument is about what those spurts should be, could be and when consensus 'box thinkers' are NOT maximizing his skills and talent. 

A high % near guaranteed 2 point shot that also has a strong chance of drawing a foul for example is a VERY effective tool when used in the right SPURT of the game. 
Let's say for example when you have a significant lead and time is running out in the game.  The other team has to not only score but they MUST stop your normally high powered offense from scoring too. (Sound Familiar?). 

Shaq could pretty much seal your win in that SPURT of the game, shooting 60% and higher from the paint and forcing a few fouls too, not mention securing rebounds.  
Do you have a problem with that reasoning? 

I'm saying that some 'brilliant' coaches are NOT doing this simple thing because they are so deeply entrenched in the modern game analytics (in the box) they can't utilize the old school talent in the right spurts. 


No, no...I think I get it. 

You're saying that down the stretch in a big game, you'd view that as a spurt where not only should Boban play more often, but that the offense should literally be run through him, and to support this you continuously point out that this strategy would virtually guarantee high percentage shots. You're saying that this is even more desirable in situations where the Mavs have a lead. You also seem to suggest often that "analytics" are somehow to blame for coaches and fans not acknowledging this concept that only Mensa card carrying Dahlism can see from his vantage point, way, way out of the box.  

I just disagree. (going to have to deviate from the topic at hand just a little here to get to my destination, sorry) 

I think the spread offense with the ball in Luka's hands is the closest thing to an automatic good look (with a high chance of drawing a foul, as you say) I've ever seen the Mavericks have to throw out there. It's far more of sure thing than that two-man game between Jet and Dirk, which is saying something, in my opinion, as that was soooooo taken for granted by fans here. I think Luka has brought with him to Dallas the potential for offensive efficiency the likes of which we could only imagine before. I think the offense bogged down in late game big moments because A) the other team plays much harder during those stretches and B) Luka and some other young Mavs haven't been around the block quite enough yet to anticipate that and overcome it. There's a little "sphincter tightening" going on. 

Everyone talks about how Luka was a pro for years before coming over, so he doesn't need experience to succeed. He's ready now! This is true, to a point, and is definitely a reason he has risen so meteorically, but it's not an absolute. You know when experience stops being something you need to win? When you have more of it than your opponent.  Period.  This is the problem with the Mavs down the stretch in big game situations, and you know, I think we just saw some pretty MAJOR progress get made on this front in the Clippers series, tbh. 

Back to your insistence that Boban helps them in that situation: I don't think this acknowledges that at that point in the game, the Boban post up goes from a really nice change of pace wrinkle to the single most important thing the opposing defense has to figure out. I think that in your hypothetical, never to be seen at any point in the future scenario, the increased level of focus and hard play (by the other team's closing five players, not their bench) makes it much, much more difficult for Boban to get into position, receive the pass, etc.

Since denying the post pass has become so much easier for these long, quick, defenders to do since the Shaq days, the type of pass he's going to get is the type that will require him to adjust more than what's comfortable to receive. Now, Boban has GREAT hands, but have you observed what he does in 50/50 ball situations? I have. The word "coatrack" comes to mind. There would absolutely be an increase in turnovers with this approach. 

If/when they can even get these plays started, I don't believe he'd score nearly as effectively as he does in a 6 minute stretch during the 2nd quarter. Again, he's now dealing with the other team's best group, who is very focused, and he's in a pressure situation that will affect him the same way it affects everyone else. I don't anticipate that he shoots 60% under these circumstances. 

If these possessions result in double teams, which is possible but not automatic, I don't trust him to pass out of them. I flatly don't think he's good at making passes that aren't directionally right in front of his facing. If they result in one on one shot attempts, I do agree that drawing a foul is a possibility, but probably not a consistently likely one, given how the game is officiated in the last five minutes. And, though he's a good FT shooter, especially for a big, are Boban free throws, under pressure, really what you're aiming for down the stretch against a good team? 

And btw, NONE of this deals with the undeniable fact that regardless of how this works on offense, the other team is 100% going to immediately put their best player in a spread pick and roll with whomever the Mavs have Boban guarding, Boban is likely going to have to play drop coverage, and that other team's best player is going to leisurely come around the screen and dribble into an open shot (probably a 3) from their exact, most favorite spot on the floor, a spot where they've shot hundreds of balls per day every day for as long as they can remember. This is simply the best case scenario for an opposing offense trying to catch up from behind. That's the lowest amount of pressure possible. You're not forcing them to execute a single pass, and giving them their best case scenario shot. 

No, I don't agree that taking the ball out of Luka's hands, denying him the late game experience he so desperately needs, just to play out the above scenario is a good idea, nor do I think it's "out of the box thinking." It's pretty limited thinking, actually. It's checkers. It fails to account for so many intersecting concepts and completely loses sight of the overall goal here, which is to build a team that can win an NBA championship. And no, I don't believe my opinion on this, or Carlisle's, Pop's, or anyone's has anything to do with an over reliance on analytics.
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