Defending the 3

  • Why oh why doesn’t KU defend three point shooters better? With college players getting more accurate as 3 point shooters and more emphasis on scoring behind the arc, why isn’t Coach Self and staff requiring defense beyond the arc throughout the game?

    None of the teams we have played has given us as many wide open threes as we have given them. That corner three is open on every possession because our guard is covering the lane and then when the ball inevitably swings around the perimeter to the corner, all our guard may do is feebly run 15 feet toward the shooter. And, I’m seeing a lot of flopping by the three point shooters. Hooking is now a flagrant foul, but trying to fool the ref by flopping is just a grand part of the game. Jeez.

  • @stoptheflop And yet, even though I would have guessed UL made most of their 3s, the box score shows only 33.3%. Those uncovered looks made it seem like more!

    I read somewhere that 3 pt fg defense is hard to quantify because there are so many missed open shots that make %ages go down yet are unrelated to defensive effort. This game may illustrate that.

  • Last night was a bit deceiving in that Millers hot first half streak made it seem like KU was being killed from 3 all night. Not disagreeing that 3 point defense is important.

  • @stoptheflop One easy answer is the fact that we start two freshmen on the perimeter, together with a guy not widely renowned for his defensive prowess. A guy off the bench, Moore, doesn’t appear to be a plus defender. Garrett, while a good defender, isn’t a Releford, for example.

    But defending the perimeter is more about knowing where to be vs. being a “lockdown” guy. Good angles from the ball. Knowing whether the angle creates a step-in or a bounce. It also requires other guys to be in the right position when reaction to the perimeter leaves the defender susceptible to the drive.

    Another answer might be priority, though I didn’t watch the game looking for this. So I can’t say that this is something I’ve seen. But when it comes to defense, every priority creates a weakness. You defend in, you’re weaker out. You double the post, you leave one man open. You focus on stopping drives to the hoop, the kick-out is more available. You usually can’t be good at everything like the 2012 team was defensively. You’re always compromising something when you make a particular area the focus. One thing I always like about having a rim protector (the Withey kind), is that it allows you greater leeway in aggressively defending other areas of the floor. The lack of a face up shot blocker (not the off-ball kind – Mitch is an example) requires more effort, team-wise, to protect the rim.

    That said, one would think that Udoka’s presence would offer us that benefit to a decent degree.

    I think the easiest answer is probably true, we have some inexperience on the perimeter coupled with Vick.

    @mayjay The rate of threes was the issue last night. The issue that was apparent were the looks, not the makes. They shot 36 times from three point range and many of them were dead open. It seemed like most of them (obviously overstating). 50% of the shots from three, seemed, at best lightly contested. That 33% change a bit, it’s a different game. And the 33% is exactly equal to what would have been scored shooting those same shots from 2, and making 50%. You’re right, very hard to quantify good three point defense. But I think the eye test is best. Are they getting relatively open looks? Whether they make them is up to them – we just know that there will be teams that hit more open looks.

    I’d rather defend the arc more aggressively because the downside from three is more than the downside inside the arc, and you have the ability offensively to outpace two point baskets.

  • Obviously the 3 point defensive weakness is out and teams will be exploiting it until something is done about it.

  • @HighEliteMajor RE your point on priority fwiw I think it might have been the gameplan to let Gant and Miller shoot threes. They are both sub 30% guys for their career. Miller just started insanely hot then normalized.

    Agree the contests need to be better though. Hand down man down.

  • Self’s comments regarding Udoka completely ignores the bigger issue (he may have commented, though, and it didn’t make the story). And it has nothing to do with an opponent’s attempts. We can’t put a complete curtain around the perimeter. As their coach said, their game plan was more attempts.

    The issue is the quality of the three point attempts. The open nature of the attempts.

    Sound familiar? Villanova?

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