KU'S BEST SHOOTERS
If your Bill Self and you need some scoring I guess you put in these 3 guys and Perry. I like what Alexander says about all you hear when they release is swish swish…
@Statmachine We may never know if HCBS doesn’t turn the dogs loose during a game. It needs to happen early & often before conf especially during blowouts. C’mon Bill, let em get their feet wet
@globaljaybird Hmmm … I would argue that it is pretty much indisputable that Self puts the reigns on shooters during the game. Much like a kid that steals from the cookie jar. He can steal, but he’ll get an a** whoopin’ for it (or “timeout” as the more modern alternative). There are penalties. Gun at your risk. You better make it.
Some guys get the green light, though. But Self is still very shot clock oriented, regardless. But a Wiggins will get more rope than CF did last season. Same shot, same point in shot clock, both miss … Self claps and encourages Wiggins as if all is good, but with CF, he looks down the bench and grabs Mason to go in for him.
Your position in the pecking order is key to the freedom.
One might think that your freedom would be based on your shot making ability. But it doesn’t appear that way.
He ain’t changin’.
@HighEliteMajor We feel the same in ref to the “Golden Child” kudos or the reprimand for the step-child. I concur is not likely to change either sooner or later regardless of how many snipers are in the lower ranks. It really is all about the echelon & stature of the shooter within Bill’s system.
@HighEliteMajor maybe if Conner could play D or rebound or get to the free throw line…
: Andrew Wiggins ends his debut with 18 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 assists in a loss.
Had to add, I’ll stop!
@Twolves_PR: Wiggins on his defense: “I always like playing defense. It’s something that I enjoy and take pride in.”
Regarding shooting, Self has big minute guys that are able to give him most of what he wants most of the time, and he has to weather their normal distributions of good games, bad games, and average games.
But Self also uses small minute guys to give him specific things ASAP on entry. He has energy guys like Jamari. Bring me energy, or get out of the game. He has trey shooters. Bring me a trey, or get out of the game. He has penetrators, like Frank, that are supposed to bring him a lay up and a FT quickly, or get out of the game. Call all of these guys his specialists. Specialists are not well rounded and their net benefits are not as great as his large minute guys, so when he goes to them, they get a quick hook if they don’t provide their specialty quickly.
Put another way, if he wanted to wait for a guy to hit a trey after several misses, he would just leave his big minute guys in the game. They would be generating greater net benefits, while missing a couple to make one trey.
The key thing to remember is that Self is not looking for an extended contribution from his specialists. He is just looking for a quick lift.
What vexes a lot of fans is this: why pull Conner after he misses one? Isn’t he then closer to making one, if he stays in?
To answer that you have to try to understand Self’s statistical world view. To Self, who is devoted to the normal distribution of human performance, the probability is that if someone misses their first one, they are not in the third of their distribution that is a good day. They are probably in the average, or bad, portion of their distribution. Self seems to figure that pulling Conner after one miss, to find out if Frank happens to be in the good part of his normal distribution of performance, is a high percentage play than waiting for Conner to miss enough to hit one on one of his bad days.
Lets think about this. The best a trey shooter can do is around 40 percent and this involves runs of hitting 4 of 5. and 1 of 5, plus 2 of 5 runs in between. So: when CF misses one, in two thirds of his normal distribution games he is going to either make 2 of 5, or 1 of 5. When he misses his first one, Self gambles he is not in 4 of 5 mode. He gambles he is in 1 of 5, or 2 of 5 mode. In either of those last two modes, there is a strong likelihood of him missing another before making even one.
So: I suspect Self figures there is some randomness to who is going to be having a good day, an average day, or a bad day shooting. So he figures, if CF misses the first, and is likely miss the next, then why not try Frank, who might randomly be on a good day and make his first. And if he makes his first he might likely make his second, too. And if he misses his first, well, then Frank is probably on an average, or a bad day, like Conner, and so he might as well pull Frank and bring back his starter, who brings greater net benefits.
I believe Self has thought this through a good deal and figures this is the optimal way to go, so long as he wants to stick mostly with his big minute players, and does not view Conner or Frank as big minute capable players.
P.S.: Self said in his presser with regards to Conner, that it went unsaid that if Conner missed his first shot he would come out, but that the experience of being pulled came to be an expectation that put a lot of pressure on him.
I have a suggestion for how to reduce the pressure for Conner, if he is in the same role, and for future Conners.
What you do is tell Conner from very early in the season, i.e., from the moment Self decides this will be Conner’s role, and in fact you tell all your specialists regarding their activities, that you are going to pull them immediately if they don’t produce and not to worry about it. Tell them exactly the statistical explanation I gave above for pulling them with a quick hook. Tell them that in these specialty roles we are looking for the guy that is in the good part of his normal distribution of games. Tell him that this is something beyond his control (if Self insists on staying with this normal distribution approach, which I personally am not fond of, but which has worked pretty darned well for Self in his career) and so he should go out loose and relaxed and ready to pull the trigger the minute he gets a good look. If it goes in great, if it doesn’t that’s great too, because we are just looking for the guy that is randomly in his good range of normal distribution. Tell him that the only way he can get in trouble is for taking a shot that is not open, or one before the ball has been into the post. Otherwise, he has a green light and you believe he is such a good shooter that this is the way the team can benefit the most from him until the rest of his game rounds into shape as you expect it will the following season. Tell him not to worry about playing a lot of minutes either. In other words, no matter how well he shoots it, this is his role this season until further notice. If he were to get hot, he would still come out shortly, unless he had a particular MUA that game. This completely removes all the onerous expectations and pressure off Conner, and also any of the negative consequences of the ball not going in. By doing this, you protect Conner’s confidence throughout the season and build him up for next season. No negatives. And you tell him that if you decide that his shooting is not getting it done in this role that you will come and talk to him and tell him that it is time to wait for next season. No uncertainties. NO negatives. NO mysteries. All certainties. All positives. All knowns. So the shooter can focus entirely from a positive place when he does pull the trigger.
The worst thing you can do to Conner, IMHO, is to NOT tell him how your system is supposed to work, because then he is struggling inside something that is unfamiliar and that he doesn’t understand and when the human mind does not understand a new situation it tends to default to negative interpretations of the possible implications of what he is doing. Then the player puts tremendous pressure on himself to shoot better to stay in the game.
@jaybate-1.0 I don’t understand why HCBS cant put them in the game and say if you get scored ON or your defense is lack luster your coming out and get the 40% three ball going? I think they would focus on DEFENSE more and the scoring would come (like Releford used to say).
@Statmachine maybe he does?
@Crimsonorblue22 He just might? Who knows?
If they could do what you are suggesting he ask them to do they would be big minute players. My point is that these specialists, especially the young ones, don’t have well rounded games yet. Brannen didn’t. Conner didn’t. They just cost you too much in the floor game most of the time to leave them in for more than a few minutes most of the time regardless. What the specialists are good for is giving your big minute players a blow. To give them that blow, you want to get something out of the specialist in order to make up for his weaker floor game. A three point bomb will at the least make up for a three pointer on the other end and it will give you one up on a two pointer at the other end. And if shooters think too much about what they actually are not very good at–floor game–then that most certainly will make it difficult for them to shoot with confidence. At least that is how I am thinking about this, whether or not I am correct.
Conner is a smart kid who is extremely competitive. He desperately wants to contribute to this team.
He’s a guy that will figure out how to get his minutes. Part of it is to adapt to his new role of NOT being a volume scorer. So… he’ll have to learn to be more precise with his shooting when he only gets a handful of shots in a game.
But he’ll learn other aspects of the game that will keep him on the floor. He may lack size and explosive athleticism however he can learn to play good defense with what he has. And as I’ve been preaching for quite some time, about 96% of the game is played from about 6’4" to ground zero. Even short Conner can reach that high with his feet planted and knees bent.
He’ll learn how to aggravate ball handlers and make them think more about his defense than earning an assist or driving in for a score or pulling up for the long ball.
He’ll learn the necessity to go to the film room and scout his opposition, so he arrives at our games with a plan on how to defend and how to score on his counterpart. He’ll learn how to properly hedge to prevent drives and passes going where he doesn’t want them to go. He’ll learn if his counterpart crashes the boards or not, and how to play him off the dribble. He’ll learn what screens his opposition like to run him through so he is prepared on how to stick to his man.
There is plenty of things Conner can learn to do well. And if he learns it all, continues to build on his physique, and brings ice veins with him to games for execution, he’ll earn plenty of PT and will become a huge contributor for this team and for two more seasons.
If he really figures it all out, he can write his ticket into the league after his senior year! Yes… there is a pathway for Conner to play in the NBA.
But it all starts with today, and it starts with him organizing a plan for his path from where he is today and taking him to wherever he wants to go with his future.
There is a pathway for every one of our scholarship players to play in the league someday. There exists examples of players with each one of their builds, tendencies, etc., that have made it in the league.
@drgnslayr I feel like I need to give you an amen. Those planted feet better be able to slide! I hope he does learn all those things you have faith in.
Right on… he better learn a lateral game! Hedging properly will help with that, too. Then he may even draw a few charges!
I attended a tournament game Steve Nash played in his last year of college and I frankly was unimpressed with Steve Nash, as a college player. He transmogrified as an NBA player. Steve did what you describe. Connor may have it within his grasp, if CF can become a great dribbler and passer. The game is there for the taking for everyone. But you have to get insight on a deep level right away about what you are capable of improving at and then improving.
@jaybate-1.0 I’ve said before CF makes me think of a young John Stockton & will ultimately get his due somewhere. The L, Europe, or I believe he prefers here at KU. But no matter, someday it will be there. This kid would be beyond amazing if he was in the right system. JMO as always.
I’m just hopeful the pieces all fall right for Conner. He has an uphill battle on his hands to get to where he needs to go and it will be a much easier path if the right pieces fall in place.
As long as he stays healthy, I don’t see how he will not be a big time contributor to Kansas during his D1 days.
I’ve watched that kid from junior high until now, and he’s amazing. I watched him flip and land on his head… and he walked off the court. He’s intelligent and driven… and tough.
This post is deleted!
@drgnslayr tough as a rusty lug nut on an old Ford pickup truck !!
@drgnslayr Tough as a rusty lug nut on an old Ford pickup truck that’s been behind the barn since the Dead Sea was only sick !!
We’ll maybe thats just a little too dramatic. LOL
You are probably talking about the game in the NCAA tournament when KU beat Santa Clara and Steve Nash did not have one his better games. Keep in mind that that was one of KU’s better teams and featured the likes of LaFrenz, Pierce, Pollard, Vaughn, Hasse, Pearson, Robertson, Thomas and McGrath among others. No shame in losing to that team and I don’t think is fair to judge his college career by the one game you watched…
By his senior year, Nash had steadily gone from a completely unknown and unrecruited Canadian HS player, to the player that led Santa Clara to two back to back conference tiles and was selected conference player of the year two years in a row. In his senior year he was on everybody’s radar, was playing for the Canadian National Team and was honorable mention All-American; he was drafted #15 in the first round just outside the lottery picks. Had he played in bigger conference there is no question he would have made the first or second All-American teams and would have been a lottery pick; everybody familiar with him knew he was going to be a star in the NBA, so his success was not a surprise. In short, there was no “transmogrification” between college in the NBA or within the NBA, just the logical progression that all players go through.
Now, Frankamp is a potentially lethal outside shooter and perhaps a serviceable PG, but he is not and likely will not be an elite PG like Steve Nash was in college and still is in the NBA. Best outcome for Frankamp in the NBA is having a role as a 3-point specialist, kind of like JJ Redick, keep in mind that JJ Redick was co-player of the year in college.
As a matter of fact, it was that game. Vaughn ate him alive. It wasn’t that the rest of the team was so much better than Santa Clara. Nash didn’t didn’t look like he had a particularly bad game at all that day. Vaughn was just too much for Nash to handle on both ends of the floor.
And the really interesting point you make is that Nash started out as a “completely unknown and unrecruited Canadian high school player.”
Recall that Frankamp was strongly recruited, well known, and showed very well in international competition.
Starting from a much higher base to begin with entering college, there is frankly significant reason to think Frankamp could become every bit as good by the time he is a senior, as Nash was the day Vaughn ate him alive. Nash played for an extremely conservative, but extremely knowledgeable mid major coach in a mid major conference lacking in top talent to challenge a guy like Nash IMHO. If Conner had gone to Santa Clara the same year Nash started out at Santa Clara, no one would probably even know who Nash was, because Conner probably would have smoked his shorts and blown him out of the gym. Heck, if Conner had gone to Santa Clara, he likely would have won the awards Nash did.
And had Nash come to KU, he likely would have never started in place of Vaughn and so he would have either had to have transferred, or ridden the bench mostly.
This is really a very much more interesting parallel now that you make me think more deeply about it.
Nash really did improve massively in the pros. And I suppose Nash got with the right teams and came into the L at a time when John Stockton had recently resuscitated the idea of the short, extra quick point guard in the NBA. Prior to Stockton and Nash, you have to go back to the chain starting with Nate Archibald and then the micro guards like Mugsy Bogues and so on. And before Archibald, you had to go back to someone like Cousy. Short quick guards come in and out of fashion in the NBA. The timing has to be right for them to catch on and become stars.
lately we’ve had Rondo in Boston.
Oh, well, as I said, thanks for making me return to this issue. Interesting.
P.S.: I never mind judging a player by one game, especially late in his career. One game is usually all it takes me to assess how good a player is at the time of observing him. What one can rarely tell from one look is how much better a player can become; that takes a lot of close study under various situations to break down weakness that could be improved versus weakness that are structural.
Nice post, and I think your assessment of the league on specific players going in and out of vogue is right on.
When Magic Johnson came around the focus really changed toward the big guards (and PGs).
It seems like guards are put against a height chart of expectation. PGs should be at least 6’3" and shooting guards should be at least 6’6". Anything less and the decision makers have to defend the player and what potential that player brings. Taller players are given a little more space.
Then you have combo guards like Hinrich. 6’4" and can play point or shooting guard.
One thing that differs from NBA to college… in the pros, it is all about match-ups and teams look to exploit wherever they have a match-up advantage. To get to this level of ball, all players have to be able to take their man to the hole or be able to get his shot off pretty much wherever he is on the floor. It really is a game where height counts for more because of this reason.
Kids in college aren’t that advanced. And a hot shot 6’ guard in college can make the difference and become a big part of taking home a NC easier than they can in the pros. Their height disadvantage is rarely compromised because all he has to do is get a hand in someone’s face to impact the shot. That isn’t always enough in the league.
Still doesn’t mean a 6-footer can’t make it in the league. Tony Parker is 6’2" but actually plays much smaller. You’d think he is only 5’10" out there and it wouldn’t impact his game at all if he was that height. Not sure, but I don’t think he can dunk it.
I wish there were more small guards out there in the L. We all miss out on watching a certain skill set because team management goes for height over guys that can really play the game but are a few inches shorter. I don’t always think height buys you championships.