What you see below are two video clips which The Arsenalist has done a good job parsing out from last night’s Raptors’ W vs the Pacers, while asking for “the answer” to 2 specific questions, based on this footage:
Q1. Why did Belinelli leave Rush open?
Q2. Why did Bargnani feel the need to help [leaving Granger open]?
These are perfectly good “technical” questions which deserve to be answered properly [and thoroughly] by an actual basketball expert.
In this sequence:
Jarrett Jack is X1, checking Earl Watson/PG [i.e. O1].
Marco Belinelli is X2, checking Brandon Rush/OG [i.e. O2].
Hedo Turkoglu is X3, checking Danny Granger/SF [i.e. O3].
Andrea Bargnani is X4, checking Tyler Hansbrough/PF [i.e. O4].
Amir Johnson is X5, checking Jeff Foster/C [i.e. O5].
When O1 is passed the ball in the Right Wing position, X2 is the defender with the responsibility of checking the opposition player who is now occupying the “lowest” spot [i.e. closest to the baseline] on the weak side of the floor [i.e. O2].
X2′s responsibility is to be in a Help position vs any baseline drive by O1.
X3′s responsibility is to be in a Help-the-helper position vs any baseline drive by O1.
When O1 drives by X1, toward the Right Baseline, X2 must provide Help. It is then X3′s responsiblity to Drop/Sink Down toward the Left Baseline, in order to provide Help for the Helper [i.e. X2].
When O1 then makes a pass to O2, in the Left Corner, it is X3′s responsibility to, either:
A. Intercept/deflect this pass; or, B. Close-out vs O2.
In this instance, however … Hedo Turkoglu provides NEITHER of these two required responses.
This was a defensive miscue by X3, Hedo Turkoglu.
* The ONLY exception would be, if the Raptors’ actual game-plan called for whichever defender was assigned to Granger to NOT rotate off of him in all dribble penetration scenarios.
Instead of X3 [i.e Turkoglu] initiating a Secondary Rotation vs O2 [i.e. Rush], X5, Amir Johnson [who was checking an offensive player located above the FT Line, i.e. Jeff Foster], was forced to make a late attempt at a close-out vs X3′s assigned check, in a fruitless attempt to stop this wide open Corner 3-PT shot.
In this sequence:
Jarrett Jack is X1, checking T.J. Ford/PG [i.e. O1].
Marco Belinelli is X3, checking Danny Granger/SF [i.e. O3].
Hedo Turkoglu is X2, checking Brandon Rush/OG [i.e. O2].
Andrea Bargnani is X4, checking Troy Murphy/PF [i.e. O4].
Amir Johnson is X5, checking Solomon Jones/C [i.e. O5].
When O3 [i.e. the Dribbler] and O4 [i.e. the Picker] executed a High Left Wing Pick, X4 and X3 had the responsibility of Switching … which they did effectively.
X1′s responsibility was to then be in position to provide [weak side] Help on any Middle Drive by O3.
X5′s responsibility was to defend 1-on-1 vs O5′s cut to the weak side Low-post position.
X2′s responsibility was to Sink to the Middle, coming off of O2 slightly, in order to deter/contest/defend against an interior pass to O4 [i.e. if he rolled to the basket].
X3′s responsibility was to engage O4 and neutralize his attempt to get open following the Pick Action [i.e. either rolling to the basket or popping out to the perimeter].
X4′s responsibility was to defend against O3 [i.e. the Dribbler].
When O3 then Drove Middle, into the lane, it was due to the “poor lateral defensive footwork” of X4 [i.e. Bargnani].
What X4 did effectively, however, was position himself in a way to be able to contest a running jump-shot from O3, if this player would have attempted to execute this specific type of low percentage shot on his drive into the lane.
Instead of doing this, though, O3 … when confronted with the weak side Help from X1 … made a Kick-out Pass to O1.
At this point, two Defensive Rotation Options were in play:
A. X5 needed to Rotate Out to defend against O1 [i.e. with X4, either: i. rotating directly to defend vs O5; or, ii. rotating to O2, if X2 had been able to rotate to defend against O5]; or,
B. X1 needed to Recover [quickly] AND Close-out against O1, with X4 maintaining/re-establishing his defensive position relative to O3.
OPTION B is what actually happened.
To this point, the Raptors were able to cover-up for Bargnani’s initial miscue.
When O1 then Drove Middle, getting into the lane, X1 did a poor job keeping the ball on the perimeter of the defense BUT a good job of at least maintaining his defensive position between the ball-handler and the basket, which enabled X3, X2 and X5 to all Stay Home on their individual check … although X5 did provide some Secondary Basket Protection by Stepping Up towards the front rim in support of X1.
The defensive miscue which occured next … i.e. X4′s decision to release his individual check to “Trap In/Out” vs O1 … was due to a lack of discipline/concentration by Bargnani.
Considering that Turkoglu first refused to LEAVE Granger … for whatever reason … in the 1st clip, and then Bargnani refused to STAY WITH Granger … for whatever reason … in the 2nd clip, it’s a sound observation to assert that at least one of these two players failed to do his assigned job properly, in these specific sequences, and that perhaps BOTH of them DO NOT have the discipline/concentration required to be a consistent defensive player for the Raptors, at this point.
Anyone else who would like to have “an answer” provided to a technical basketball-related question, please feel free to create a youtube video clip, in some format, and forward it to this blog.
What you will get back, in return, is an accurate reply.