Pistons + Josh Smith: Off Season musings

Discussion in 'Pistons and NBA' started by Slippy, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. Slippy

    Slippy All-Star Administrator Forum Donor

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,387
    Likes Received:
    812
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    I've been bothered by the criticisms (even my own) regarding Josh Smith's fit here. People cite the poor outside shooting and the ill advised shots that Smith takes. They match that up with the Pistons struggles and how opponents pack the paint against them and say it won't work. It's an oversimplification of the situation and if you do that you might miss out on subtler reason for the Pistons problems and the opportunities that adding Smith brings. I may be totally wrong and play Don Quixote vs. national sports media but hey, what else is there to talk about.

    Stretching the floor
    With the popularity of hashtagging small ball and Dwight Howard's center and four 3pt shooters to give him room strategy, people like to talk about stretching the floor. In the context of Monroe/Smith/Drummond, the issue is not spreading the floor - there is no real argument against it - but how much spread is needed and how much is actually given by the defense.

    In modern NBA defenses, you have a concept called overloading the strong side. It takes advantage of the zone defense rules to force the offense to pass up on its 1st option and go with a lesser option. The advantage of a stretch four is that it forces defenses to over commit when the ball is swung to the weakside or from inside out.

    Stretching the floor is a means to an end. The end is to compromise the defense. This is true at all levels of basketball. There are many ways to achieve this: overloading one side, movement, screens and movement. Monroe can score regularly against just about anyone but he struggles mightily against athletic double teams.

    In this clip against the Kings, you can see the overload principle on defense. Prince shoots 43% behind the arc but his man gives him 5-8 feet of space. Maxiell's man doubles because Monroe is the leading scorer and Maxiell gets barely 7 pts a game. The doubleteam would come regardless of where Maxiell was standing.
    After getting blocked, the Kings reset and man the 4 corners of the paint. Hardly stretching the floor but its enough space.

    You don't need vast plains of open space to be successful but the Pistons' lack of perimeter scoring meant that they had to work extra hard cracking defenses. You can however create seams in the defense from the mid-range.

    Size + Speed
    Part of the reason why you don't need loads of space is because the big 3 are well, really big. And fast. In the Kings clip above, if you replace Maxiell with Smith, you have all the opening he needs to drive the lane and dunk. Sac's two biggest guys are on Monroe. You could even replace Drummond in that spot. Maxiell is fast but he needs to be cutting for the same thing to happen. Its a slight distinction but it makes all the difference. Smith can put the ball on the floor. Its time consuming to put out but there's a ton of clips with Smith scoring inside with 4 other defenders in the paint. With the size and speed of these guys, you just need to get the defense out of position.

    Predictability
    One of really frustrating things about the Pistons is how predictable they were. The team was potent when there was motion but too often the only motion out there was a high screen followed by a single cutter. Everyone should be on the move. Having only one guy average over 15ppg made it pretty predictable as to who you wanted to contain.

    My hope is to get this pretty well fleshed out with examples and breakdowns. It'll be a long term project.
  2. round

    round All-Star 1x Fantasy Champion

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,669
    Likes Received:
    321
    Location:
    Michigan/Glasgow
    Agreed, just because its not the cookie cutter way of doing things it can't work.... I'm interested to see how we attack on offense, we can out muscle alot of folks and force folks to play out of their comfort zone... I'd like to see that for once.
  3. Ernie the Slow Adult

    Ernie the Slow Adult All-Star Forum Donor

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Messages:
    6,695
    Likes Received:
    1,657
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Parts Unknown
    It is tough to say with that clip if it is poor personnel or a poorly designed play.

    Even with Smith in for Maxey it seems the defense has time to recover from the double to get back out to that spot.


    Sent from my iPhone using the keyboard.
  4. Slippy

    Slippy All-Star Administrator Forum Donor

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,387
    Likes Received:
    812
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    I don't have the proof but I keep thinking smith would put it on the floor and drive. The only guy available would be Knights defender if he rotates in time. The idea is that Smith has the skill/power to be highly effective during that window where the defense is recovering.

    There's more but it takes a while to put together.
    We'll see if it backs up my claim or not.
  5. Ernie the Slow Adult

    Ernie the Slow Adult All-Star Forum Donor

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Messages:
    6,695
    Likes Received:
    1,657
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Parts Unknown
    It is possible. Initially I thought the weak side could help but it doesn't look like they could as you said.

    Also, in this instance Smith would be playing the 4. I don't think the same shrill cries would go out if he was going to play there from the jump.

    Everyone would be complaining that the Pistons were too small then.


    Sent from my iPhone using the keyboard.
  6. Slippy

    Slippy All-Star Administrator Forum Donor

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,387
    Likes Received:
    812
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    I think as long as the defender can stay in one place, you can't ever say that you are stretching the floor because the defender can cover the ground almost as fast as the ball. What needs to happen is the offense needs to move and the ball needs to move. If you do that, Josh even at the 3 spot will be able to attack and create. If you don't you'll need Ryan Anderson to stand around and shoot 3's.

    That's probably not a good example of a play. But it does highlight spacing issues and how much 'spread' is needed. There are a ton of plays in the NBA that can exploit the big 3's skill set. The only thing is if we do that play where they drive or feed the post then kick out for a corner 3...it an't gonna be pretty.
  7. TaS

    TaS All-Star Forum Donor

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Messages:
    17,402
    Likes Received:
    2,760
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Chicaaago
    We're going to be running a lot. No spreading of the floor necessary there.
  8. Laimbrane

    Laimbrane All-Star Forum Donor

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    Messages:
    1,175
    Likes Received:
    808
    That's probably not the best choice, given that the Kings suck. I'd like to see some tape against Indiana.

    That being said, I agree. Monroe doesn't need a ton of space, just a little. He also needs to have a second option, and he needs to learn how to take a step back and find a cutter. The best part is they can run kind of a 2-1-2 offense, where Monroe and Smith man the blocks, Drummond anchors at the top of the key ready to drive and punish any sinking defenders; his jump shot doesn't have to be a weapon, but he can punish those guys by cutting when his defender turns his back.

    It's not going to be the prettiest offense, but it just might be painfully effective.
    linwood and KGREG like this.
  9. TaS

    TaS All-Star Forum Donor

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Messages:
    17,402
    Likes Received:
    2,760
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Chicaaago
    I was thinking that about Drummond too. If the defenders ignore him when he drifts out of the paint, he's going to punish them with alley oops and offensive rebounds.

    I really hope that Cheeks is a good technical coach with the ability to be creative. We need some strategery going forward.
  10. KGREG

    KGREG All-Star

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Messages:
    4,853
    Likes Received:
    786
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Saginaw, Michigan
    Ball and player movement. Our frontcourt guys have great hands, and they're pretty good passers. Look at Memphis, they don't exactly light it up from the perimeter and neither does Chicago.

    This team will be all about defense, toughness and athleticism.
    Slippy and linwood like this.
  11. Slippy

    Slippy All-Star Administrator Forum Donor

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,387
    Likes Received:
    812
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    If you look at highlights of James Worthy, he's a small forward that did 99% of his scoring inside the arc. Josh isn't in that class of player but the team isn't going to fall apart if he can't shoot 3's. I mean you can still score over defenses from 20 feet in. its not the the NBA instituted a forcefield.
  12. Laimbrane

    Laimbrane All-Star Forum Donor

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    Messages:
    1,175
    Likes Received:
    808

    And you an always run him around screens like the Pistons did with Rip.
  13. webz

    webz All-Star Snub Administrator 2x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Messages:
    3,369
    Likes Received:
    659
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia

    Dude, everyone in the 80's shot inside the arc!! In today's NBA James Worthy would have either developed a 3-ball or been less effective (IMO).
  14. KGREG

    KGREG All-Star

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Messages:
    4,853
    Likes Received:
    786
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Saginaw, Michigan
    So why can't we take it back to the 80's? Especially with a coach who played in that era. I mean who among us wouldn't like an old skool Pistons squad.
    Slippy and hitafreethrow like this.
  15. hitafreethrow

    hitafreethrow Starter 1x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,139
    Likes Received:
    94
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Keweenaw
    Woot! I'm with KGREG, no three pointers allowed! If Monroe can develop a Worthy-esque hook from the elbow, he doesn't need to work on his jump shot, problem solved.
  16. webz

    webz All-Star Snub Administrator 2x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Messages:
    3,369
    Likes Received:
    659
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia

    Stern obviously.
  17. KGREG

    KGREG All-Star

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Messages:
    4,853
    Likes Received:
    786
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Saginaw, Michigan
    Stern is not among us. Or is he?
  18. webz

    webz All-Star Snub Administrator 2x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Messages:
    3,369
    Likes Received:
    659
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia

    Stern is everywhere - he is god. Point being, it doesn't matter what we want. We (and Spurs) brought back 80's ball 10 years ago. They didn't like it. They changed it. Spurs adjusted. We flopped.
    brofmfa and linwood like this.
  19. mikhail1973

    mikhail1973 All-Star Administrator 1x Fantasy Champion

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2007
    Messages:
    9,434
    Likes Received:
    350
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Kiev - Farmington Hills, MI - Santa Clara, CA
  20. McQuack

    McQuack Bench Warmer

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    221
    Likes Received:
    84
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Where am I?
    I just can't see how the Josh Smith signing was a bad move. He's one of the best defenders in the league, and he also brings some excitement with his crazy highlight-dunks.

    And something that's pretty crazy: When Josh Smith's contract is up, our two cornerstone's Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, will still only be 27 and 24 years old. It's not like we only have this 4 year window to work with. I imagine it will be quite easy to rebuild after the Josh Smith contract, when you have two all-star Big men who haven't even reached their prime yet.

    But until then, Josh Smith will definitely make us a contender for the playoffs over the next 4 years. How far we go depends on Monroe/Drummond.

Share This Page