If Self Shortens C5, Play Taps, But He Won't

  • Last year, Self was succeeding wildly with the Trey, and called it fool’s gold.

    As @HighEliteMajor and some argued, Self quit what made the team win, and the team sank into another double digit loser, getting badly injured trying to play inside, and forcing him into the invention of Bad Ball, so as to back into a title from a team with nothing left in the tank for the Madness. The injuries made the default to Bad Ball rational, but should he have ever given up Trey balling for drive ball and all the injuries that ensued, simply to get the short 3 scoring he valued so highly? Probably not. With fewer injuries, KU would have stayed a single digit loss team and might have shot through the late slump and might have gone on a tear late.

    This year he is roaring at Diallo and Bragg for playing as freshmen, and threatening once again to stop playing them as elements of C5.

    Not. Going. To. Happen.

    Frank, Devonte, Wayne and Perry are all good, but not great players. Without a double/double post man, they are just another good small team that gets stuffed by good big teams.

    C5 IS a double/double post man and Bill knows it more than anyone. He and Igor Roberts created the Frankencenter.

    C5 is what makes the team so hard to play, prepare for, and beat.

    Self gets it. The light is on in Bill, like it was last season before his reactionary quest to replace long fool’s gold with short fool’s gold.

    Bill can huff and puff about having to play C5, but he created the monster that wins, and if he wants to keep winning big, he has to keep it getting better.

    Poorly as Bragg and Diallo play most times, the monster would likely never reach double double without them.

    You want the double double, you play all five.

    Cut it to three and you might find a way to keep winning mostly, but the long and strongs would wear your low ceilings down and Ls would follow.

    Cut it to two and its taps for this season.

    Five is the magic number.

    Five is what teams haven’t seen and struggle with.

    But self wants Diallo and Bragg to get better, so he has to threaten them with shortening the bench.

    Not. Going. To. Happen.

    Every game his high ceilings rest his low ceilings and force opponents to prepare for five guys. Every game his high ceilings make sure the C5 reaches double double.

    Calling your bluff Bill.

    If you can get constant double doubles with only low ceilings, more power to ya.

    But I don’t see how it can happen against all comers, as it has with C5.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Shucks, and here I’ve been thinking you only wrote your best stuff in dark hours with a fiery familiar bottle at hand…

  • @REHawk It comes when it comes, coach. 😄

  • Excellent point jb, which brings me to another point. I have been thinking for a while that this year’s team is a mirror image of the 2010 Duke title team. A unique aspect of that team is that they had no true back to the basket scorer, only three big guys that were tough, rebounded well, played good defense, and played within themselves. The next year when Zoubeck and Thomas graduated, they didn’t have that inside presence.

    Really, that is all C5 needs to do this year to win a title, with that Duke team as the example.

  • Self went with Bragg in the second half of the Harvard game was it? Hunter has been starting lately, Traylor got the nod the other day in crunch time. Lucas has been used in spurts and Diallo has been thrown out there. I do not see anything changing, I think we have 3 serviceable big men with different skillsets and then 2 uber talented freshman bigs, it should all work out fine!

    I think back to our title run, when a bench big named Cole brought it to Hansbrough… Sasha in the Davidson game saved us…

    They will all get a chance to show they belong out there. Self has said often none have really separated themselves. Nobody disagrees Bragg and Diallo may have the highest ceiling of any players on our roster, especially Self.

    He wants them to be good, if either or both get it by March, watch out. I imagine Bragg or Diallo will start by the middle of conference play if the lights turn on, but rotation aside, we will still see the C5. Foul trouble, particular matchups, will bring out Lucas, Hunter or Traylor for sure.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Thats what Im sayin!!! C5 stays until proven otherwise. C5 last night 21 & 10 and 4 steals and a block. That is stud stats right there. That is OU Blake Griffin stuff.

    Coach Self, I think, has to at least hint that he will tighten his bench. It’ll keep everyone else off guard.

    Why on earth would he cut Bragg and Diallo’s minutes to almost nothing when he knows both of them can help? It doesnt make any sense and I hope he doesnt to it.

  • @Lulufulu

    Keeping up with Self is like singing with someone with perfect pitch. They are never wrong about pitch, but not all of singing is about pitch and neither he, nor we can the rest with perfect clarity all the time.

    Self apparently feels good Okie Ball teams don’t rotate 5 bigs. Period. Perhaps It’s not who we are; same as good Okie Ball teams don’t shoot 25 3ptas/game every game to win. There are certain rules of thumb, if you will.

    Perhaps it’s a matter of pitch. 5 guys at the 5 is not the right pitch. 25 3ptas are not the right pitch.

    At the same time, Self is also a problem solving genius. He goes where ever the answer is and then worries about pitch later. Sometimes the pitch is so grating, say, at 25 3ptas/game, that he seems to snap about needing to be who we are. Other times it’s appArently within his range to tolerate.

    My guess is a double double in the paint is who we are, even if five guys at the five annoys the ear!!

    He probably figured Diallo and Bragg would separate and get him out of the ear pain, but they haven’t. So: if he has to live with this ear pain, maybehe is at least going to squeeze them for 2 Ppg more and 2 rpg more.

  • @DinarHawk

    Interesting dot to connect. I can’t recall that Duke team well, but you seem onto something.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I think you are exactly right. A lot of bluster right now. Motivation perhaps – I think. A bold statement about going with experience aimed directly at the ears of the freshmen. High ceilings. Good to have upside. He knows that.

    I was also interested in your statement (and you know I would be) about the transition last season away from our 21-4 self, to our bad balling self. This time, I do agree with you (as you might suspect). I’m a big tent guy, always room at the inn for wayward souls. I kid because … well … I like to kid.

    Seriously, though, Self has demonstrated that he’s committed to his shooters. Just when you think he might call “no mas”, we keep shooting. Do you (or anyone) have any gripes with the offense at this point? I don’t. It’s exactly what I would have hoped.

    19 three pointers is the spot, give or take a few. I think we’re in the perfect spot right now.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Been in the tent. Just had to clarify on the distinctions in sequences of injuries and Bad Ball innovation. Without Bad Ball to resort to, Self would not be able to justify/offset the risks in his mind of quick trigger Trey offense.

    As you know, I am an advocate of every possession Trey balling-- not just long Trey and defend a lead with short treys and deuces (I.e., 16-17 3ptas getting and defending leads and 20-25 3ptas playing from behind).

    Self can only default to defending leads with passing offense and short treys and twos, because other teams coaches are caught in the way back machine of 2s and short treys.

    Once coaches go every possession treys, Self will have no choice but to shoot treys every possession also…no defending leads by short shooting. It will still be smart to burn clock with the passing offense and use BAD BALL on the cold nights, but when the shot is finally taken it will be a long Trey. Without rule changes, this drift is inevitable.

    But I am comfortable to wait for Self and coaches to play through this interim dynamic a few seasons. Self may be too old to change over already. But he is fulfilling his Moses myth by taking the game to the banks of the River Trey; I.e., building a lead with several quick trigger Trey possessions, then defending with short treys and deuces.

    But some young coach is out there right now waiting his time to jump shift to quick Trey every possession to end the advantage of what Self has just wrought.

    Long Trey followed by defend a lead with short treys comes to market with a sell by date.

    I can hardly wait for every possession Trey ball. (Don’t worry there will still be stick backs.) The greater risk and volatility will trigger another round of defensive innovation and greater variations in tempo.

    One more thing. During this current interim phase, we are likely to see post cuts return especially with teams with centers that have passing skill.

    The great passing center could be a huge strategic advantage now that contact in the paint has been lessened. Self seems unlikely to be the guy to do it, because of his philosophical bias against action to create impact space, but it’s increasingly apparent that there is now room for post cutters with a long center to work again. Mark Few’s Euro center last year on Zaga proved the behind the back post pass could come back again.

    Watching Mamadou’s finger roll off a pivot drove the point home to me. Uci’s wasting it’s bigs clearing out to let them make b2b post moves open to help defense. The way to stop post help is post cutters followed by either a hand odd, a behind the back bounce pass or a turn and finger roll. UCI WOULD HAVE BEATEN KU HANDILY WITH POST CUTTER ACTION. It would have assured scores and offense starts for KU with stops on defense.

    The game is so simple. But most coaches struggle with flexible thinking. It’s one of the paradoxes of the game. It’s simple flexibility of attack triggers complexity, and rigid thinkers that simplify through reduction are attracted and often succeed. But it’s being simply, fundamentally flexible that really pays the biggest dividends. All the greatest coaches distill to essence AND get flexible.

  • @jaybate-1.0 said:

    “shoot treys every possession”…how would you defend this? This could be very boring to watch!

  • @jaybate-1.0:

    “The game is so simple. But most coaches struggle with flexible thinking. It’s one of the paradoxes of the game. It’s simple flexibility of attack triggers complexity, and rigid thinkers that simplify through reduction are attracted and often succeed. But it’s being simply, fundamentally flexible that really pays the biggest dividends. All the greatest coaches distill to essence AND get flexible.”

    Here, here to that.

  • @ HEM

    KU team this year, in my opinion, is more talented on O than D. This is very unSelf-like and I agree that our D needs to improve, especially the freshmen and BG and Svi.

    Our O has been very good and I like our passing, shooting, more threes earlier in the clock, etc.

    I also agree that the hi-lo is somewhat outdated and we are using more dribble-drive to make a play off the bounce and not just off the pass this year, and running more. Devonte and Frank together with Wayne at the 3 has made the difference, but our front court is fast too.

    My major issue with the game on Tuesday was that in the first half we penetrated great but then passed it back out, time after time. Second half was much better, more aggressive. We need to attack on O off the drive, not pass it into the low post as Coach has done in the past.

    The big fella for UC Irvine was very impressive to look at - wow - and a pretty good player. #12 (from Greece I think) is also a good post player.

    We were playing against length (like Vandy game) and we were tentative to start until the second half. We can create off the bounce and must do this to be successful. Coach has evolved (at last!) and this is a looser and freer offense than years past. We have better shooters too.

    I am disappointed in our FT % but am confident that we will hit them in crunch time.

  • @ jaybate

    Coach Wooden was pretty rigid but that was a different time.

  • @curmudgeonjhwk

    Well, it could be, but every simple premise in basketball yields a new rush of emerging complexities that keep it from being boring to watch, or so it seems to me over the years.

    Starting every possession with a quick trey would place a new emphasis on both long offensive and defensive rebounding. This would encourage recruiting of quick, mobile rebounders. It would also place a greater emphasis on scoring off offensive rebounding. New offensive actions would be developed around the longer offensive rebound itself. It would not just always result in a straight stick-back at the rim. Think of a floor full of Franks, Devontes, and Waynes vacuuming up long boards and spinning in mid air to dish to players cutting to the iron from all sides. There would evolve what amounted to a kind of secondary break from big men and perimeter players crashing the boards for the rebound, and others crashing for the dish from the rebounders. The high frequency of the long rebound would justify some coaches actually picking to free players for cuts to the basket off the misses rebounded and dished. And in turn new kinds of long passes to the corners and kick outs to the front would ensue also, because hter would be so many good trey ballers in the lineups all over the floor. I envision a D1 full of teams with a trey balling profile like this year’s KU team. Recruiting will tilt to signing athletic, ball handling trey ballers of many sizes. And amidst all this spacing of the floor, then cutting around post men subsequent to the initial trey can happen.

    Really, the game could reset to something much more in the vision that Phog Allen had for the game. Much more long cutting. Much more skilled athleticism, rather than muscular athleticism. Much more emphasis on speed and athleticism and much less on muscling for spots.

    The shot clock and lane widening have show what just a mild opening up of the front court can do to the game. It has had a much greater and different effect than I anticipated, as often occurs with small, but fundamental rules changes.

    And I believe the ripple effect is NOT over.

    Having a five player rotation at the 5 did not used to seem an advantage. It seemed like a weakness. It might still prove to be. But right now what we are seeing is that with the way fouls are called, and the greater spacing resulting form lane changes and shot clock, big men have to run more and move more to defend more kinds of movement. Help is more complicated and taxing. Now, it seems, there is real pay back to using 5 big men with fresh legs to make two or three big men wear out, or get fouled up.

    There are more unforeseen consequences to come.

    It could all be very exciting.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Thanks for the visual…I like it!

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