Why Is Bill Telling Jesse that Selden and Oubre Will Play Some 4? or Where There's Smoke There May Not Be Scoring

  • I am worried that Bill is worried.

    Bill says he is worried about the team’s ability to score inside and guard inside.

    So: now Bill is saying that he wants to play a “small team” where the 1-4 players are 6-4 to 6-7. I am going to take poetic license here and name this possible line up “the long small lineup”. 🙂

    Bill further notes that this lineup would likely put Wayne at point, or alternately at the 4. Wonder who the point will be when Wayne is at 4?

    Now it is clear that Bill is like an old WWII destroyer laying down smoke screens to avoid being sunk by an enemy fleet.

    The enemy fleet that he is smoke screening increasingly appears to be Cal’s UK flotilla of Mickey Ds.

    But what is concerning me is that regardless of what lineup he puts on the floor, I don’t see much inside scoring ability against a long team inside, or much outside scoring ability against any kind of team either.

    I really think this team is beginning to look offensively challenged.

    Selden apparently is not going to become a top trey shooter, so all defenses will just sag off on him, which means he really can’t be a go to guy against good opponents. Self’s main chance to get points out of Selden will be to move him around the court position to position in order to try to get him an MUA on a sagging defender.

    Perry is a finesse scorer that depends a lot on spin moves and struggles to get his shot off on long and strongs. Therefore, he is not a go to guy against top opponents.

    Oubre, Self says, has little back to the basket game for the 4, but Self may play him there anyway, when Selden isn’t playing the 4. Here again, if Self is willing to play Oubre out of position at the 4, it means Oubre must not be able to give good trey, or he would not be wanting to take him off the wing and make him a stretch 4. This means that he is not going to be a go to scorer against a top team, because top teams have good defenders at the 4.

    Bam Bam could be a part of this “Long Small team”, but where and is he now transformed into a go to scorer?

    Svi keeps being reported as not in the mix.

    Devonte? Self is already tempering the sizzle on Devonte. Devonte has gone from a guy competing to start right away to a guy who could be able to start by mid season, or later. Uh-oh. Devonte margin warning.

    Frank? Frank has now moved up to one of the unconditional big three of Selden, Frank and Oubre. None of these guys are credible trey threats of the kind you can actually stretch a defense with, or rely on for points from outside.

    The more this goes on the scarier things get.

    If Frank is one of Self’'s best players, what in the world is thinking about going with a Long Small Team without him.

    This is without question the most shucking and jiving I have seen Self do in his tenure at KU.

    I am beginning to think this team is like is first team, only without Simien.

    This is really scary.

    The good news is that I think Self is genuinely excited by having his back against the wall, blind fold on, and cigarette inserted in mouth.

    This is the wildest, craziest run up to a campaign yet.

    Bill must have had the Marines bring him a whole bunch of military surplus smoke blowers for this campaign.

    Go, Bill, go.

    Hell, I wouldn’t even be surprised if he zone presses. 🙂

  • @jaybate-1.0 My biggest fear is that Ebola will ruin the season more so than who plays what position!

  • @jaybate-1.0 I was waiting for the " we’re going to give Conor a try at the 5" talk. That has to be next, right?

  • Soon we will know, many options is exciting-seems to be on our minds a lot!

  • I think you may be right about what you said, but I also think it would be prudent to wait until about December to make any sort of conclusions about the points you brought up.

  • @Statmachine There are so many hypothetical possibilities to consider with Ebola, since it has reputedly been around since the late 70s and so much is known about how to contain it. Are we talking mother nature here, or are we talking Dr. strangelove?

  • @jaybate-1.0

    I believe Self is preparing to throw a mixture of combinations at teams, with the minimal intent to disrupt their ability to scout us.

    We can’t just expect players like Perry to have a banner year because Perry doesn’t provide a punch. He’s a finesse player that our league has familiarity with so if we don’t mix it up every team will be able to be prepared for Perry and will limit his output.

    Now let’s mix it up. Let’s throw the kitchen sink at the 4-spot. Let’s start Perry and 5 minutes into the game let’s run Hunter. 5 minutes later let’s shove Wayne in the 4.

    The point Self is making is that one of our key talents this year is diversity within our players.

    Before Wayne leaves Kansas he will totally redefine words like “combo” and “utility” from the 2. He’ll play some point, he’ll play some 3 and he’ll play some 4. He may even get a couple of minutes at the 5! With a body like Wayne has (and his athleticism) he is a guy who can do anything on the court.

    None of this means Wayne will start at the 4 and get most of his minutes there.

    Self is talking like the Mayor. He’s going to focus on match-ups this year. Gosh… I hope he actually DOES!

    He should think a bit more like a NBA coach, especially if he wants to constantly recruit top tier talent in the future. If he doesn’t break the tide of playing typical college structure ball, he’ll start losing recruits to the Mayor within a few years. Yes… I did REALLY say that!

    I don’t think top tier recruits focus in only on PT minutes. I think they are starting to ask questions on how they will be utilized. I know if I was a big time scorer I would want a coach to tell me he will use me in any situation where he can match me up against a player we think I can score on.

    It is really hard to say right now, but it is possible that Wayne is our most potent scorer at the 4! It won’t be the first time I’ve seen a little shorter (more stocky) athlete dominate at the 4.

  • @drgnslayr

    What a great way to play this, but will he actually do it?

    He certainly is signaling in this direction.

    Your connection of what he may be trying to do with Hoiberg titillates, but…

    Self has always been able to beat Fred the structured way.

    Now you 've got me thinking and that always hurts. 🙂

    I recall that Self has been greatly influenced every year by the coach and team that won the previous ring.

    When Coach K won with XTreme Cheap Shotting, Self added that to his arsenal.

    When Cal beat him with PetroShoeCo OADs suddenly he signed up for PetroShoeCo OADs.

    Kevin Ollie and UConn won the last ring. I confess. Beyond Shabazz Napier, I did not study UConn closely. What did Ollie do that Self can steal? He can’t steal Napier, because he doesn’t appear to have signed a Napier, or have one returning. What else did Ollie do, slayr?

    Self tends to steal and add only from winners.

    I am not sure Fred has been successful enough for Self to steal from him.


    Me too!

    If Self keeps this up, I fully expect to see Cin sitting on the bench coaching the bigs.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Ollie followed some of Calhoun’s focus on guard play. Everyone knows UCONN is a guard school, just like Kansas is “Big Man U.”

    I believe if Self takes something from Ollie it is the overwhelming need to have better execution from our perimeter.

    After March, Self did one of those “look at yourself in the mirror” assessments and realized how bad the direction is going for Kansas. Sure we are landing big recruits and we’ve had years of dominant post play. But we haven’t had legitimate contender guard play since '08. Let’s face it, we didn’t win that title because of Shady and D-block.

    Self’s recent education on March play includes our loss to Kentucky; proof that a team full of freshmen can beat a seasoned team of lower tier players. He also gets the UCONN reminder… over and over again. How many titles do they have to win before coaches take a hard look at what they are doing?

    Even though we look tremendous on paper, stats don’t win you titles. Our dominant post play always keeps us highly positioned in team offense, rebounds, blocked shots…

    But look where we fail… perimeter shooting, perimeter shooting defense, TOs, lack of creating TOs.

    We need better perimeter play to improve these stats and also to improve areas that don’t directly show up on the stat sheet.

    When was the last time Kansas controlled the tempo of a game?

    When was the last time we had at least 5 run outs in a half?

    When was the last time we forced an opponent into 20+ TOs?

    When was the last time we dominated a team on the perimeter?

    I loved Withey and Embiid. Those guys were awesome. But they also maybe did more harm than good. They allowed us to hide the poor play on the perimeter. Yeah, it is easy to lead the country in blocks when your guards play as soft as soggy toilet paper and invite opponents into the paint to try to score on our bigs.

    I’ve always been amazed how CS focuses his coaching on the big guys when he (himself) was a guard in his playing days.

    I’d give just about anything for CS to bring in a guard coach. How about John Lucas!

  • @drgnslayr Self has admitted to being responsible for our poor D, by telling players to not use their hands. Those stupid calls! I blame a lot of our poor D on that. I hated they way they called those fouls! But, it was the same for everyone. We seemed to have a harder time adjusting.

  • @drgnslayr And that, imo, is the entire crux of our problem. Eastern Kentucky. Yes, I said it. Eastern Kentucky. The team that shredded Naadir, ate Frank’s sack lunch, and almost pulled an upset of Norfolk St proportions. That powerhouse university that I had actually never heard of before they almost beat us. That game was an epiphany game, a summation of our perimeter game since 2008 ( TT’s great half year excluded). We have had the best thoroughbreds in the college game in the post being fed by nags on the way to the glue factory. It’s why I click my heels three times every time Devonte is mentioned.

  • @drgnslayr

    100% agree. I also think our so called 3 pt shooters need to see the floor. Last year we didn’t stretch the D and make them guard the 3 bc White, Greene and CF were sitting 7 or 8 bodies down from HCBS. I assumed they couldn’t play the type of D Self wants but who did last year anyway? I guess we need guys like Rush & Chalmers that lock down on D and have the green light to bomb the THREE!!!


    Norfolk St. is a fond memory!

  • @KUSTEVE That game was so scary and I am with you that I had literally never even heard of the school before the tournament started.

    I am not sure that I agree that our guard play has been terrible since 2008 with the exception of just the second half of 2012. The 2011 squad was pretty serious. Obviously the years that Sherron lead the team we looked pretty good. Yes, we lost in one of the biggest upsets ever to Northern Iowa but guard play was good enough to have us the #1 team in the country almost the entire year. Obviously last year was a weak year for guards and the year before EJ was forced to play out of position. He was a really great 2 guard…not a PG.

    I am with you that Devonte is exciting. If him and Frank can both be pure PG’s for the next 3 years while they are both on the roster we have great days ahead of us. I hope that by March Devonte and Frank are both firing on all cylinders. Judging from Bill’s comments it looks like CF is going to be more in the 2 guard spot when he gets time at all.

  • I’m going off Self’s lead…

    But if Conner is learning defense and stepping it up, he may end up helping coach our other guards on defense.

    Sometimes the best coaching comes from other players because their lives are intertwined and they communicate eyeball-to-eyeball.

    I know Conner wants to be a major contributor and he’ll fight and claw for floor minutes, and that means compensating for his size issue. But I also see him as an unselfish player and his big mission is to contribute however he can and one way would be to focus on his defense then turn right around and help his perimeter teammates with what he learns.

    This is an opportunity for Conner (RIGHT NOW!) to start the groundwork for a coaching career! I know he has his eyes on the prize of playing beyond KU, and he can still do that first. But if he starts gaining a reputation for helping players now he will be beginning the process of opening doors for coaching later.

  • I am going to zag while others take a zig here.

    Self is toying around with Selden or Oubre at the 4 because he wants to have his best 5 on the floor as much as possible.

    We already have an inkling that three of the best players on this team are Oubre, Selden and Alexander. Talk of moving Oubre or Selden to the 4 may be in response to the potential that Self wants to find minutes for another perimeter player (likely either Greene or Frankamp, possibly both) because he feels that he has more rotation worthy perimeter players than interior players.

    Let’s play with the rotation again with this new revelation that Oubre or Selden may play some 4.

    PG - Graham and Mason Wings - Selden, Oubre, Greene and Frankamp Interior - Alexander, Ellis, Traylor, with Selden or Oubre moonlighting here

    Notice there is no Mickelson here. I would imagine that this means Self wants to make sure both Selden and Oubre are logging 30 mpg, hence the need to occasionally play one of them at PF to get some minutes with Graham and Mason together (memories of the Collins-Chalmers combos we saw in much of 2007 and 2008 ).

    This news tells me there is either a lack of progress on the part of our secondary bigs or some significant strides made by one or both of the Frankamp-Greene duo to make playing either Oubre or Selden out of position.

    The benefits are that we add another shooter to the mix. You can never have too much shooting. We can also create some matchup problems or force a team to go with an inferior perimeter player in place of a talented big - this could pay off against a big team like Texas since we have no way of matching their size. There is no way they want either Ridley or Turner chasing around Oubre on the perimeter, and if we force one of them to the bench, the advantage shifts back to us. The advantage is less pronounced against Kentucky because UK can go small as well with their lineups with the twins, Ulis, Booker and Poythress all available to play on the perimeter, as well as a very mobile Marcus Lee. That would still help, as it forces UK to only play one of the Cauley-Stein/ Johnson/ Lyles/ Towns group, but the talent drop off for UK isn’t as great as it would be for Texas. writing that just made me realize how stacked UK is at every position

    I think this is a way to limit MUA for other teams with size, as our greatest strength this year is not inside since we really only have one NBA caliber big on the roster. Forcing a team to go small makes them match up with our most talented players, which works to our advantage.

  • @justanotherfan

    Solid take. Persuasive. I’ll go with it till we see them with live rounds.

  • @justanotherfan reminds me how ISU or Missouri played us w/Withey. Plus that just gave me a headache!

  • @justanotherfan

    Something just occurred to me. 🙂

    What if UK’s footers, say two of the three, were as mobile as Anthony Davis was?

    What if both of them can go out an hedge defend and chase the way Anthony Davis could?

    The way Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Walton, could.

    The way Cole Aldrich and Shady and Kieff could their last seasons at KU. The way quite a few D1 bigs can, and the way almost all NBA centers, even the lesser ones, can in fact do?

    How does going small work then as a tactic? 🙂

    Rhetorical question, right?

    The point is that if a long D1 big can chase and hedge defend a short D1 big, then he just eats him alive when the long D1 big is on the offensive end. He just posts, drop steps and dunks again and again and again.

    This I believe is why coaches only go to “small bigs”, when they are desperately lacking in long bigs, or have to play OADs and TADs to keep the OAD valve open. Unless you completely retrofit your offense and defense schemes to small ball, as Wooden did for his small teams (i.e. full time 3-4 court 2-2-1 zone press, high post offense, etc.), small bigs can win you quite a few games, but then eventually you run into the long big that can chase and hedge defend on defense and destroy your small bigs on offense–usually sometime early in March, if you get that far.

    Self is either spreading disinformation about his long bigs (misdirection for UK), or he is in a serious jam and has no long bigs that can play.

    Oh, and as I hinted briefly at above, Self has one more very serious PR constraint.

    Self has to play his OADs about 30 mpg in order to keep getting OADs; that’s the devils bargain with OADs. The PetroShoeCos apparently place their endorsement prospect OADs at places to get showcased and developed in that order. The PetroShoeCos will apparently tolerate an occasional OAD not getting puffed for a season, but a coach that turns most OADs into TADs is probably not going to continue to get his share of the OADs. And TADs better play, or else. Capice?

    So: Self has to string the PR fiddle now to rationalize playing a bunch of short OADs and TADs instead of his two 6-10 guys, one of whom, Hunter Mickelsen, has already played big minutes at Arkansas one season.

    Imagine how KU fans are going to howl if KU gets “upset” by UCSB, with UCSB’s highly ranked senior big man, out-playing a bunch of short OADs!

    Imagine if Self sticks with the short OADs and TADs against UK’s flotilla of footers and gets blown out of Indianapolis doing it?

    Self HAS to play the OADs and TADs big minutes early in order to not lose out on early recruiting period signings of OADs and TADs, right?

    After the early signing period, then it is okay to craft the PT of the OADs and TADs to fit their actual abilities and stages of development.

    My guess is that Self, or one of his assistants, has already somehow communicated (probably in fairly coded language) to Lucas and Hunter that this is the drill early. Give the OADs and TADs some big PT to stay in the hunt for the next crop of OADs, then Landen’s and Hunter’s chances will come.

    I mean, Hunter has to be near the same ball park talent wise with a Cauley-Stein even if he is 6-10 instead of 7-0. I just don’t see how freshman 6-8 Cliff and true 6-6 Bam Bam are a better match-up for most of a game against footers, than Hunter, and Landen (if Landen heals).

    Bottom line: OADs and TADs gotta play to keep the OAD valve open.

    Rock Chalk!!

  • Coach Self is just jacking with us and some are making mountains out of molehills. He has group of very talented players that also happen to be very versatile and he is just thinking aloud about potential match ups that he might occasionally use. Yes, he might play Selden at the PG or PF or play other players off-position, but if this happens, it is going to be brief and not the norm.

    IMHO, this is going to be the lineup and depth:

    PG - Mason, Graham Frankamp

    SG -Selden, Frankamp, Svi

    SF - Oubre, Greene, Ellis, Svi

    PF - Ellis, Traylor

    PF/C - Alexander, Lucas, Mickelson

    The line between PF and Center is pretty blurry nowadays and the line between SG and SF can be blurry and the players interchangeable as well.

    Like I said, there will be times when he switches to a fully unconventional line up, but 95% of the time, the line up above will be it. It is really that simple…at least it is to me.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Big props to steal from Rome back before he had kids.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Once upon a time Jimbo was feisty kid from Santa Barbara radio who changed the world of sports talk radio. Props was one of his early contributions to the language of sports. It was authentic flattery. 🙂

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Sounds like a left handed compliment…

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    No, I never make fun left handed.

    It can get you killed in the Syria even if the bombs miss you.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    I think the matchup works best against Texas because Ridley is not very mobile. Turner is more mobile, but matched up against an elite perimeter player like Oubre, he is still at a pretty decided disadvantage. That’s where KU capitalizes.

    I have no doubt that against an average D1 wing, Myles Turner could acquit himself very well on the perimeter defensively. But against an NBA potential player like Oubre? That’s a different animal. And since we already know Ridley would have no chance 22 feet from the basket trying to contain Selden or Oubre, the pressure would be on Turner to do so, and do so without fouling. Most bigs pick up bad reaching fouls away from the basket because they are not used to having to defend laterally without help. Making a big like Turner do that exposes him to foul trouble or bends the defense in a variety of ways by making guys have to help early to ensure that Turner knows help is coming so he doesn’t foul.

    Against UK, it doesn’t work as well because Cauley-Stein is very mobile for his size, as is Lee. Towns is also pretty agile. Poythress is as well. That means UK doesn’t really have to change their alignment if they don’t want to because their big rotation can more or less stay intact even if the other team goes small because you’re conceding that UK is going to kill you on the glass.

    Optimally we go zone against UK and try to force them to shoot lots of jumpers and do some disciplined team rebounding to compensate for their size advantage.

    I don’t know that Lucas and Hunter help that much in this regard because they are not as good at basketball as some of our other guys. We would be playing our 8th or 9th most talented player just to get some size out there, which is sub optimal against a team with the type of talent UK has.

    I see this as a way to spread out big teams and also get our best players on the floor together for as many minutes as possible.

  • I have said since Oubre was signed that so much depends on his three point shooting.

    Wiggins proved last season that if an NBA number one draft choice and next Lebron grade OAD cannot reliably make his treys at 40%, the opponents are just going to sag way off from him and punch him in the face intermittently and turn a potentially great player into a good one that really has no huge games except against lesser opponents in games that don’t matter.

    (Note: It is increasingly a given that a savvy OAD cannot engage in either risking his body at the edge of the performance envelope (i.e., he has to protect the merchandize), nor can he engage in getting physical with tramp enforcer type players that punch him in the face. He gets too much value from avoiding injury and avoiding bad PR from fighting to engage in either risk. So: this places even greater emphasis on players like Oubre and Wiggins needing to be able to pot the triceratop. Without it, they can’t get enough space to get by the blue meanies regularly.)

    If Oubre can hit his treys, then he could tear up most 4s and even most stretch 4s. If they have to guard him tight at 25 feet, then he has the athleticism to go all the way to iron on a regular basis. But we really have even less reason with Oubre than with Wiggins to believe he is going to be such a trey shooter. So: the likelihood is that Oubre at the 4 is just going to be playing a smaller, more active 4 that they just sag way off from. Oubre will do okay at the 4, even if he can’t hit the trey, just like Wiggins did okay at the 4. But as with Wiggins, it will turn out to make more sense to play him at the 3 in terms of getting him more looks and touches. Wigs could have been a helluva 4, but last year’s team needed a 3. 🙂

    I reckon the driver of playing Oubre, or Selden at 4, comes down to Self’s expectation that when opponents get long and strong at the 4, Ellis is not going to be able to score from there. So: Self will move Oubre, or Selden there, and hope that their high mobility slashing games will allow them to actually score some points out of the 4, where as Perry may just disappear offensively against, say, UK’s footers. It is not a good thing. It is a desperation thing. It is masking a weakness, not cornerstoning on a strength.

    I suspect Self is thinking that if he goes to Oubre/Selden at the 4, it leaves him two options at the 3.

    1. He can move Perry to the 3 and then let Perry take his size advantage inside on a 3.

    2. Sit Perry and come with trey shooters at the 3 spot. I have bee arguing all along that neither Selden, nor Oubre, are the requisite 40% trey shooter when at the 3. The only real candidates we have for that role are Conner and Brannen.

    So: looking at all the variables, starting with Self having to play OADs and TADs 25-30mpg to keep signing OADs, the way to do that is to play Oubre/Selden at the 4 quite a bit, and that lets you get your “scorer” Perry into an MUA at the 3, or alternatively gets you the three point shooting you need at the 3, or 2, or both.

  • @justanotherfan

    “Self is toying around with Selden or Oubre at the 4 because he wants to have his best 5 on the floor as much as possible.”

    Very believable and a play directly out of the Mayor’s book.

    “The benefits are that we add another shooter to the mix.”

    That is exactly right and Self has already admitted he is worried about where we will get enough points this year. He’s just not seeing it with probably the most-obvious lineup combinations.

  • @joeloveshawks i normally steer clear of conversations about Sherron. What I know to be true is he was instrumental in helping us win a national championship, he was a leader on our team for years, he decided to return his senior year in order to help our team win another national championship, and he should be lauded for his great contributions to KU BB. I will leave my analysis to the good things we all love and cherish about Sherron.

  • Do we remember what Self said during the summer about playing small?

    “Your deepest position is wing, so I could see one of our wings being a 4-man and playing real small, which I think would be really hard to guard,” Self said. “I just don’t know if we could guard anybody.”

    The last sentence is why this is really fantasy. Self is a defensive coach. That comes first. I think the only guy that could match up with a four is Oubre, given his length. But Self will see that as a significant disadvantage.

    We’ll be chuckling about this stuff in two months.

  • @HighEliteMajor I think we will too! I’m sure Self is still wondering what he’s going to do too.

Log in to reply