Basketball, like anything worthwhile, is full of subtle nuance. If you enjoy hoops minutia (or want to but don’t know how) you’re in the right spot. If nothing gets past your eagle eye on the court or proper screen-setting really isn’t your thing, then this might be a waste of your time. If this is a hit, we’ll make it a series! If not, a one-and-done is on the menu.
Detroit is 0-2 during the calendar week with losses at Boston and Brooklyn. Below are my top under-the-radar plays, sequences or trends from those two games.
Defer to the better rebounder
The easiest way to make friends with bigger people on the basketball court is to defer to them on all easy rebounds. Bigs like Andre Drummond work their tail off to secure missed shots, so when one falls aimlessly into their lap, do not steal them. When two bigs are in the same position for an effortless rebound, the lesser-known rebounder should always defer to the better board collector:
Under these rules, Drummond holds every trump card in this situation.
In a perfect world, it shouldn’t matter who gets the rebound as long as we get the rebound. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. This small token of appreciation will go a long way in keeping your bigs happy.
Drummond’s weak-leg block
Incredible left-handed block (and recovery) by the right-handed Andre Drummond:
Had Drummond tried to block Caris LeVert’s shot with his strong hand, it almost certainly would’ve been a foul. The use of his left hand and weak-leg, however, make this block unremarkably remarkable. Drummond is a two-foot jumper, which further enforces the idea of a single and weak-leg display of athleticism being off the charts.
Get off the line
Stanley Johnson, because you’re my boy, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: you’re not scaring anyone sitting idle in the corner:
Focus on Terry Rozier’s head as he watches the ball while completely dismissing Johnson. When Rozier comes to and tries to locate Johnson, he knows exactly where he’ll be - standing in the corner.
Stanley, my man, you gotta move.
The best off-ball movers and shakers share the same visualization and anticipation techniques. They see everything and nothing at the same time, while using years of basketball experience to predict action and cut accordingly.
Yeah, we can cross that off the list of Johnson attributes.
If I were on the Pistons’ bench, I’d ever so gently hint to Johnson to focus on his man’s eyeballs. When they zero in on the ball, MOVE! Give the ball-handler a legit target and option. You know, kind of like what second-round rookie Bruce Brown did for you:
Watching high IQ players maneuver while simultaneously keeping spacing issues at bay is like being enthralled with a stunning piece of flowing, yet contrasting artwork. After three years and seven games of watching Stanley Johnson, I think it’s safe to say Johnson’s off-ball know-how is closer to finger paintings than Picasso.
One more, please:
In this case, “one more” means one more pass by Reggie Jackson to Reggie Bullock in the corner, which would’ve made this good possession a great one.
It would’ve generated one of two distinct outcomes: Al Horford X’s out to closeout on Bullock, leaving the best offensive rebounder in the planet by himself underneath the rim. OR, Horford is slow to closeout, granting Bullock with a wide-open and clean look. Both outcomes don’t involve Jackson, which on this play, is a good thing.
Again, it comes down to anticipation and seeing the play develop before it actually does.