Post Play???? Your thoughts!

  • Well this is my 2nd highest concern leading up to the start of the season. Hopefully all the knowledge and wisdom on this site can address my concerns.

    A couple weeks ago I was talking with a gentleman about the upcoming season. I told him that Bill Self has got a stacked deck and should be able to play whatever game he wanted. The more I thought about that, the more I became unsure. First off let me say that, offensively, I believe we’re in good shape. Big Cliff will put up good numbers (if he can stay on the floor), Perry’s numbers should make a jump. Great stuff from @Statmachine to predict Perry’s numbers. If you haven’t looked, check it out. And I expect another jump in Traylor’s numbers also. My concern lies on the other end of the floor defensively.

    Like many I look to the 08 squad as a standard, especially this season as this may be the first time since then that we start two post players under 6-10. When the 08 squad faced a big close to 7ft, Kahn could come off the bench to match up and bother that guy defensively. And in the final four, against UNC, I was confident that we could handle Psycho T because we had 16 fouls and 4 big bodies to throw at that guy. But Psycho T wasn’t a footer either. This year we will face some footers, and at least once, we will face more than 1 at a time!

    I think Big Cliff will hold his own with guys close to his size, but he needs to stay on the floor and not get fouled up as @drgnslayr said yesterday. Plus, he’s a freshman and you never know about bonehead plays.

    Perry…well I think you get what you get with Perry.

    And our likely 1st big off the bench is 6-7 Jamari, full of energy and hustle, but is that enough?

    Landon and Hunter??? More questions than answers.

    So, is Bill Self playing with a deck of 51, or is there an ace in the hole?

    Is this team missing a Kahn?

    Does this team really need a Kahn?

    Did Landon and Hunter travel the world this summer to hangout with some monks, walk on rice paper, and became the chosen ones to stifle all things big with magical basketball kung fu? 🙂 (I don’t know, it’s late, sorry)

    How do we handle the twin towers from the color blind state? (sorry, but I’ve been there and the grass is green, not blue) Maybe we get lucky and the Harrison’s won’t pass them the ball!

    How do we handle the big dude from Texas with the permanent mean look on his face, who threw Embiid down with no regard for local littering laws? Maybe with our new up tempo game, we can have him winded and out by the 10min mark! Oh wait, Rick Barnes will find a way to mess it up. Never mind!

    And finally, how do we handle some no name footer from a mid-major, who can hit a 15ft. jumper and is money with his baby hook from 5ft in (which he picked up while walking on rice paper halfway around the world :)) and having the game of his life, when we are just starting our quest to dominate the greatest tournament in sports?

    Well here it is, my 2nd highest concern for this season. Maybe I’m foolish and nobody shares these concerns. Maybe the wisdom of those found on KU Buckets hold the solutions to all thing troubling those who wear the Jayhawk proudly. May I be enlightened. And may I be asking the right questions.

    Give me your thoughts guys! Thanks for reading.

  • I judge KU’s talent level by what adidas recruits are not coming to KU.

    Nike players go to Nike schools.

    Adidas players go to adidas schools.

    Rarely an OAD shifts alliance and school/shoe affiliation presumably for a better informal endorsement plan downstream.

    Otherwise Nike to Nike and Adidas to Adidas are my hypothetical assumptions.

    Thus ask where are the Adidas players going?

    Alexander came to KU to play 4, not 5. He figured share with Ellis one season, and blossom at 4 the next. The other Adidas bigs at the 5 went elsewhere. That means that they thought Lucas and Michelson were solid at the five.

  • Defensive post play is a concern. Actually our post play defensive is not as much of a concern to me as our perimeter D. I think that concern must be put to rest before worrying too much about our post’s height. But it does bring a very good question about what will happen when we face bigger posts.

    The good thing is there isn’t a ton of footers that we do play. Texas and Kentucky are the exceptions. The only other conference team with a footer is Kansas St and we don’t know how much those will play at this point.

    Honestly I know this will not happen as Self is just too stubborn to change but against much bigger teams like Kentucky play zone. Especially with the game so early in the year, make Kentucky beat you from the perimeter. Because they have 6-7 big horses that want rebounds and put-backs. I think an effective zone, one Self implements in practice from the start could be very helpful at times. Opposing coaches have played zone against KU trying to limit High/Low and effective ball movement for angles and drives and it worked last year.

    Ridley at Texas can take himself out the game at times. We have Hunter/Lucas/Cliff to throw at him and I don’t think he will be the reason we’d lose a game to them. Taylor and Holmes are the matchup problems on that team. Utah has a footer but he’s not a shot blocking threat, Michigan St is small this yr (potential matchup in Florida). Florida has Walker and Horford and that’s it for size. Georgetown still has Smith but he takes himself out the game with out any help.

    I do think Cliff will play bigger than his standing height says. And hopefully with the combo of Hunter and Lucas we can find a good balance of effective post D as the season goes on.

  • I think this team has lots of question marks, and I have begun to think that is a GOOD thing. It means that everything isn’t etched in stone. For once, our team might have some real competition for minutes. I love Lucas - I know he’s slow, but he always makes the fundamental plays every time he gets minutes. I’m looking forward to watching Mickelson as well. At least we know he can block shots. I could really see Jamari becoming an offensive force. I love it when he drives to the basket I know- that doesn’t help our defense.

    No way we can match up to the Mildcats, either down low, or on the perimeter. No one else in the country can, either. UCONN certainly couldn’t match up, but they still kicked their ass. We have a coach with about a 40 point IQ advantage, so that has to be factored into our match up with Coach Squid.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I’m curious, at what point do you think a player becomes a “Nike player” or an “adidas player”? It seems most recruits have on their list both Nike schools and adidas schools, etc. Is this really indecision, or just for show? Take Zimmerman for example, I thought we had the inside track on him and we’re an adidas school. But if he doesn’t choose us, he’s likely to choose a Nike school on his list. Educate me!

  • @KUSTEVE I tend to agree with you on it being a good thing that everything isn’t etched in stone. It make everyone have to compete for minutes, however, I fear that this situation COULD lead to poor team chemistry as some play with 1st unit then 2nd unit as it all gets sorted out.

    I like Lucas too. Hoping for some big minutes this year. And another great KU program success story unfolding before our eyes.


    FWIW, the most recent ESPN pre-season ranking:

    ESPN pre-season ranking…

    Has Duke, KU, Kentucky, Louisville and Florida as the top 5 teams, so obviously they think KU can match UK’s bigs (I guess we will find out November 18th), and several publication have KU having the top 5 starting line-up. KU also plays top 5 team Florida in Lawrence and hopefully avenges last year’s loss.

  • @jayhawkbychoice

    To me the biggest concern is PG; you cannot go far in the Tournament without an elite PG. We have two dependable bigs (Ellis and Traylor) and potentially an elite one in Alexander. If Lucas and Michelson contribute to their potential, KU should be OK with the available bigs.

  • We’ll find out some about our bigs right away when we play Kentucky.

  • @jayhawkbychoice

    I hope you keep putting up threads during the season! Great job!

    “How do we handle the twin towers from the color blind state? (sorry, but I’ve been there and the grass is green, not blue) Maybe we get lucky and the Harrison’s won’t pass them the ball!”

    We have real match-up problems with Kentucky, if we don’t come in with a definite plan and execute. We have no other choice than to win this game “x-axis style.” That means we need to own the energy in this game for 40 minutes. We need to put high pressure on the ball and shoot the passing lanes for steals. We need to thwart Kentucky out of their game by controlling tempo.

    We’ve got a few months until that game. Svi better get busy teaching everyone else on this team how to use a head/body/ball fake. Done right, that is the best way to put big guys in foul trouble, create extra scoring space, and time it right to shoot over them.

    The twins will be dangerous this year. It took until March before they realized how to take advantage of the opposition by using their size better. But… they aren’t really super talented players. They are a very poor man’s Magic Johnson… and I mean a very poor man! They can easily be taken out of their game by putting heavy pressure on them and pushing the pace. Some day, they will figure it out and be much better players, but right now they are a couple of players who must have the game played a very specific way (and specific circumstances) for them to really have a good game.

    We can try to run height at them… apples to apples… and I’m doubtful that works (by itself). Our best bet is to run speed and athleticism at them. Pressure up high so they can’t get into a rhythm… peck at their dribbles (they aren’t gifted ball handlers)… shoot passing lanes for steals… maybe even draw a charge or two!

  • @drgnslayr Thanks slayer, glad you enjoy.

    I’m with you on the x-axis style of play, in fact, I would like an all of the above approach. Another great point on controlling tempo, but I would go one step farther and say, this team needs to dictate tempo. Meaning forcing certain opponents to play fast, others slow, and also fast and slow in the same game. The 08 squad was the last team that could change pace within the game and be effective. I believe Tyshawn and the 12 squad could’ve done it, but didn’t want to run Jeff weary trying to keep up. IMHO, the best teams we had that could use tempo as weapon was the 02 and 03 squads. That bunch could change tempo within a single possession! Check out my “Dream Mode” thread that was inspired by you. It’s mostly nonsense, but the idea of playing at multiple speeds and different styles at the same time is at least interesting, if not practical.

    Shot fakes=HUGE! While this always needs work, the videos of the summer camp games showed a few guys using fakes and side stepping to create shooting space. The videos also showed guy taking 3’s in transition and early when they found themselves open and in rhythm. (hopefully HCBS will allow this) Also saw some of our little guys playing along the baseline and some backdoor layups behind the defense which supports your x-axis game as well.

    Great take on the upcoming Kensucky game.

    Question for you, or anybody. Much has been made about playing up tempo (rightly so) and much has been made about keeping Big Cliff on the floor (again rightly so). But does that really fit together? I mean I haven’t seen anything that would suggest that Cliff is fast, or would have the conditioning needed to play that way for extended periods of time. Maybe I’m wrong here. But if we expect Cliff to play bigger than he is in half court defense, we better not wear him out running track meets 40 mins at a time.

    BTW I love the garden/produce pics keep them coming! I just cut up a 30# watermelon from the garden!

  • Standard post up plays are not high efficiency plays against good defenders. This is because good post defenders can force low percentage twos (challenged 7-10 foot shots) without fouling, that most shooters make only about 38% of the time. Shooting a 40% shot that only results in 2 points means the scoring expectancy on that shot is roughly 0.8 points. Even if you add in the foul potential, the point expectancy probably doesn’t creep much over 0.9.

    Instead, the more efficient scoring method is the drive and drop. Catching the defense on a rotation allows the inside player to attack the rim immediately, either getting an unchallenged 7-10 foot shot (where the shooting percentage jumps up above 50%) or getting a dunk or layup (again, that’s a 50%+ shot).

    Against lesser defenders, yes, post ups are a great play. But against UK, Texas and others, we are going to need to be able to force rotations and help with guard play. That’s why during the NCAA tournament teams with good guards tend to play better. Good guards can force rotations and get their team good, easy shots, while a dominant big man on his own cannot get those high percentage shots because the defense doesn’t have to shift to defend him because a post up is a more stationary play.

    The issue with UK for KU is that UK has more size at every position except the 3. Not only that, but UK is just as deep as KU, meaning KU can’t hope to simply wear down their first five, because UK’s second five are also very talented. The key for KU will be to force UK into post ups rather than allowing the twins to drive (how they beat Wichita State) and forcing those low percentage twos, which is what UK shot for most of the first half of last season before they figured out how to space the floor and attack the rim.

  • @justanotherfan

    I like your analysis. Some of the better offensive bigs we have had recently including T-Rob and The Morris twins benefited greatly from having players (Brady, Tyshawn, Elijah, Tyrel, Travis) that could feed them the ball in a position to score. This is why I believe that the key to success starts with elite guards that can manage the game plan and distribute the ball. Look at the USA team in the FIBA tournament; a lot of the success cab be attributed to the superior play of Kyrie Irving that managed the game plan masterfully and ended up being named the Tournament MVP.

    The edge KU could have against Kentucky is the play of the Harrison twins. Last year they proved to be very selfish players and they combined to average 5.9 assists and 4.3 turnovers per game; also their basketball IQ is not the greatest and I posted a video where Calipari had to physically push Andrew Harrison into position during an offensive set. Their best attributes are height and athleticism and had they not suddenly gotten hot during the post season, UK does not make it to the finals. The question is: have they learned over the break to play team ball or are they going back to their selfish ways, considering that they will likely be auditioning for NBA scouts? Like all other teams. UK’s success starts with guard play and the twins are the key.

  • I have been doing some research on Hunter and Lucas. After looking at some stats and doing my usual comparisons that were totally not apples to apples and finding anyone at the same position rank and such was hard enough but trying to find someone coming off the bench was nearly impossible or should I say not consistent enough to make an educated guess. I should have something put together for you guys come tomorrow morning. All of this depends on the MPG left over from Cliff, Ellis and Traylor.

  • @jayhawkbychoice

    “Another great point on controlling tempo, but I would go one step farther and say, this team needs to dictate tempo.”


    I hear you about the potential clash of keeping Cliff on the floor and pushing tempo.

    There are several ways to deal with that. First… I want to know how Cliff plays when he gets pulled every 5 minutes for a quick blow. Some guys do great with that, others don’t.

    He doesn’t have to lead the break. He will often be our 5, and 5s usually are slow going up court. That can be an advantage, too. First… if something goes wrong he is back to defend, and second, he can snag rebounds off a secondary break by arriving late and finding gaps to get rebound positioning. Good chance his man isn’t waiting in the post to put a body on him.

    Part of what Cliff will have to work on is improving his condition. These next 2 weeks will represent a good start. Boot camps always expose players to the reality that they are not in great condition. I expect him to have a tough two week period.

  • @justanotherfan and @JayHawkFanToo

    Great reads on the twins.

    I think the twins finally realized how to use their size in March. Up until then, they had confidence issues and would fall easy victims to simple traps and just about any kind of real pressure. They picked up some esteem in March and it showed in their play. For the first time all year they didn’t play tentative ball.

    So this year it will be harder to get them back in their old groove of poor basketball. However… it will still be possible. It just means upping the pressure until they break, and they will break. Neither one of the twins can handle the ball exceptionally well. And they really don’t have great drive moves… they count more on their athleticism and reputation (which a lot of opponents buy in to so they back off and give them the room they need).

    The twins game is flawed, and there will be opportunities to expose their weaknesses again this year, it will just take more pressure. I hope they didn’t spend their summer with John Lucas… yikes!

  • I know Perry is ready for his marquee year, and he will be our leader. I certainly hope he has worked on his defense as much as he’s worked on his offensive game. People have been raving about him this summer, so maybe he finally plays some defense, and uses a head fake for the first time in his life.

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