4 Guards... Forever?

  • I think it is time for Bill to make the switch to a 4 guard SYSTEM. Forever. From here on out. No more of this being the accident. No more plan B. What we saw from Ochai last night is not a fluke. We have now had a player ranked in the 100s be an immediate impact player since 2013. First it was Frank. Then Devonte. Now Ochai.

    In that same span, we have had 3 five star post players struggle to find that same immediate success under Bill Self. Bragg, Diallo and Cliff.

    It is now painfully obvious that guards are able to come in start making plays at a high level from day 1. It isn’t hard to be able to find 5 guards who can play, especially if you carry 9 or 10 of them instead of just 6 or 7. So, I believe it is time for Bill to quit fighting change. Lean into the 4 guard system. Other teams have shown how effective it can be. ISU, VT, and Nova all competed with the big boys by running a 4 out system without elite talent.

    We are witnessing at Duke, right now, what it looks like when a Blue Blood commits to the 4 guard system with top tier athletes. Nobody can keep up with them. They are running damn near everyone out of the gym. They aren’t even efficient scorers outside of Zion, but still, nobody is able to keep up with them for 40 minutes. And Duke isn’t even deep! They are as thin of a team as anyone in the country. But playing 4 out with 4 great athletes has allowed them to do things nobody else can do.

    Last night, we saw what we were capable of. No it wasn’t pretty. We missed a ton of shots. But what we did to TCU is what Duke has been doing to everyone this season. We out-athleted them. We lined up 5 athletes and challenged them for 40 minutes. Our defense was scrappy and active. Our offense was in attack mode, even if the ball wasn’t always going in the basket. The entire team looked like it clicked 10 times better than it had all year when the strategy was throwing lob after lob. Guys played with confidence, energy and passion on both ends.

    So, what am I getting at with all of this? I believe that Bill Self’s coaching philosophy of being a “break them down and build them up” coach combo’s best with a four guard system. For several reasons.

    First, I believe that most guards come in physically capable of playing college basketball day one. Therefore, it is only a mental issue with most of them. Something that can be improved as the season goes on.

    Second, a four guard offense promotes freedom, creativity, and aggression. It also creates passion. When players are comfortable and confident on offense, it often times ratchets up their defense as well. Instead of Bill demanding guys play better defense, some passion for it may naturally occur if things are going well on the offensive side of the ball.

    Finally, this is simply the direction that basketball is moving. And it has proven to be effective. As a Blue Blood with a distinct recruiting advantage, we should be able to build a roster with 5 athletes and two big men year in and year out without the growing pains we see when Bill lands a Top 5 Blue Collar big man. I believe we would be able to out-athlete damn near any team in CBB besides maybe the other Blue Bloods. I think if our recruiting pitch switched to a system that prepares players for the NBA better, it would also help in recruiting.

    It’s time to make the switch.

  • Good post. 1 question: How do you explain guards not ranked in the 100’s, instead in the top 50 like Grimes especially not find immediate success? Moore I believe fits your ranked in the 100’s and he obviously doesn’t get it.

    Question 2 is do you think we can say Ochai has made it? Wouldn’t we have said the same thing about Grimes after 1 game? Ochai had two easy alley oop plays and made a 3 pointer. The first oop was impressive but not so much a demonstration of basketball IQ as it was a demonstration of some nice athleticism. If Ochai keeps scoring at the same rate or a little better we’ll be pleased I think, but the sample size seems too small to anoint him as one who has gotten it.

  • It’s easier to play guard than inside. That has always been true. They always talk about how much a PG has on their plate (and it is quite a bit), but the position doesn’t ever really change. The ball is in your hands all the time. If you played PG when you were 9 and had the skills to continue playing PG as you moved up the ranks, your job never really changed.

    For big guys, that’s not the case. If you’re bigger or stronger than everyone else, that’s enough for a long time, but you have to add ball handling, the ability to diagnose and pass out of double teams, rim protection, etc. There’s new stuff being thrown at you at every level. You don’t have the ball in your hands all the time, so the talent of the guards you play with can make you look a lot better (or worse) than you actually are.

    It’s also less likely to project advanced skills onto guards. If you’re Frank Mason, you’re 5-10, can handle and can score. Tough as nails. But your size means that people aren’t going to be as high on you as they are on a 6-5 guy with less skill, or a 6-10 guy with even less skill. A 5-10 guy has to be very skilled to get a D1 offer. If you’re over 6-8, that’s not the case. Nobody looks at a 6-1 guy and recruits him as a “project.” You get fired for that. That guy has to be able to play. On the other hand, you can recruit a 6-9 project. You can recruit Joel Embiid and hope he develops into Joel Embiid. You can’t recruit a guard that just started playing basketball at 14 and hope he progresses. There’s just not enough time.

  • @wissox Fair Questions.

    1. My opinion, I think Grimes has been fine. I think most people see him struggling, but that is simply based on high expectations. I see a guard averaging 9 points a game for a top 10 team in the Nation. He could be better, sure. But he has definitely not been a bad player. Dotson has found immediate success according to most, but I think his expectations were way down. When in reality, he has almost an identical Per 40 stat line despite having the ball in his hands more than Grimes does. But we don’t ask why Dotson isn’t scoring or assisting more than he has been. So I think the perspective is that Grimes is struggling based on OAD expectations. If he were a freshman you’d never heard of playing like he’s playing, he’d be getting the same attention Ochai has been for his performance last night.

    Moore, in my opinion, was an emergency take. He was no hidden gem. He was taken at the end of the season where whiffed recruiting and when the risk to take him was pretty minimal. Stories with Frank, DG and Ochai are similar. One of the coaches watched them, thought the player was a stud, and then was immediately offered and basically immediately signed.

    1. I don’t think Ochai has “made it.” But I think he looked like he belonged on the court. Which you typically can’t say about freshman big men who are not special players. Especially not 100+ ranked big men. No I don’t think every 100+ ranked guard we sign will be an immediate impact player. But they definitely are more likely to be able to be a serviceable player from day 1 than a 100+ ranked Big man. Compare the readiness of Ochai with what you think a freshman Landen Lucas would have looked like in the game last night, and I think you’ll see what I’m trying to get at. Your depth automatically is better carrying more guards in a 4 out system than trying to run a 2 big man system where at least two of the players on the bench are likely huge net negatives if you put them in the game. At least, theoretically speaking.

  • Grimes is still rushing open perimeter shots, it’s almost as if he’s in a hurry to get it up and out of his hands. I remember the staff working with Svi on timing and his footwork preparing for a shot and I think Grimes needs similar coaching because he still seems sped up to shoot it. Other aspects of his game are coming around but making perimeter shots would almost single handily change how he’s viewed right now. Not enough consistency and he’s getting the looks, just isn’t knocking them down

  • I think Grimes issue is his size. Dude is 6’5 and THICK. I think his entire life he bullied his way around the court when he wasnt faster. Now he has guys that are all as fast or faster guarding him and smart enough to take charges on him. He has to develop counter moves. A pull up mid range would do wonders. Also actually being a threat at 3s would give him the space he needs.

  • @BigBad

    Straight line driver as well. I believe he has the most offensive fouls on the team.

  • Half of his problem seems to be confidence. Bill definitely gives him a much harder time than anyone else.

  • @Kcmatt7 Self always does that with high potential guys.

  • Grimes just needs time to adjust, last night his issue was with foul trouble. Ochai was impressive no question and will be the next Frank/DG that will come in unheard that will break our hearts when his time done. I was impressed with how athletic he is but with that being said lets not put his Jersey up in rafters just yet, he still has plenty of growing pains that he will deal with. I think this team lacks shooters among other things to make a deep run. But yes the 4 guard line is the way to go. The NBA has gone that way aswell. Just like NFL was reluctant to go spread/read option but now that it is, it ain’t leaving.

  • @BigBad I know he does. It’s just one of those things though, where it doesn’t work with everyone. Reminds me a lot of the Oubre year.

    Just like that season, a FF run basically hinges on Grimes becoming something special. Instead of letting him play through mistakes, he pulls him out and yells at him every 5 minutes and the kid is so mentally screwed up at this point that it’s unlikely he can become the player he should have been by the end of this season.

    And this is why I would never send my kid to play for Bill Self if he was being looked at as a OAD. K and Cal have proven they are much better OAD coaches than Self because Bill is competitive to a fault. He legitimately takes each game like it could be the last. And it routinely has hurt overall team development. We saw it by Big Dave not getting minutes yesterday and Grimes being limited to 16 minutes.

    It is a problem. And if Grimes is a big dud in a Sweet 16 game or EE game and we lose, I’ll be pissed.

  • Here is a scary thought I was pondering after I heard the Ochai Agbaji news of losing the redshirt. Everyone jumped to well there are minutes because of Doke. Well what if this really doesnt have to do with Doke? What if Grimes looks this bad in practice as well? What if Grimes is what he is and Ochai was killing him in practice? Maybe this is really the reason.

  • My boys would love to play for a coach like Self over One like cal. Grimes played so much better in the USA games, seems so slow to figure things out. Offensive fouls? Geez! I feel like Self gives him a lot of chances, look at these other OAD’s around that have been sitting cause upperclassmen are better.

  • BigBad said:

    I think Grimes issue is his size. Dude is 6’5 and THICK. I think his entire life he bullied his way around the court when he wasnt faster. Now he has guys that are all as fast or faster guarding him and smart enough to take charges on him. He has to develop counter moves. A pull up mid range would do wonders. Also actually being a threat at 3s would give him the space he needs.

    You are right. Also Grimes is Selden. This could literally have been written about Selden. I would love to have Grimes for 3 years too…

  • Dotson, Garrett, Grimes, Agbaji, KJ, Vick, Dedric, Mitch or Dave depending on match-up. This would be my 8 player rotation.

  • @BShark I think, so far, selden has a better shot.

  • @Kcmatt7 He has no choice. I don’t think he’ll have a choice next year, either. The 4 out is here to stay.

  • This got me interested. I’d compared Grimes/Selden before, too.

    Grimes vs. Selden – Selden’s stats below for his first full season as a freshman. I’m using % and per game.

    Grimes/Selden -

    1. Pts 9.0/9.7
    2. FG% 42.2/43.7
    3. 2Pt% 54.2/53.0
    4. 3Pt% 29.8/32.8
    5. FT% 62.5/62.9
    6. Reb 2.4/2.6
    7. Asst 2.0/2.5
    8. Stl .3/.7
    9. TO 2.0/1.7
    10. PF 2.4/2.0
    11. PER 9.1/12.3

    It seems that Selden’s stats are better. But not by much, and we’re only halfway through the season. I’d bet on Grimes netting out better.

    I was surprised that their FG% was so close. Selden was better for the full year vs. Grimes 1/2 season. Selden wasn’t much of a rebounder. But the stats show him ahead of Grimes. Steals and assists-wise, Grimes lags too.

    Selden for his career was 43.6% total, 49.4 2pt%, 36.6 3pt% - shooting almost 40% from three his junior (final season). He did improve the three point shooting but not his two point shooting.

    The non-scoring items should probably be areas of focus for Grimes – Rebounds, Assists, and Steals (disrupting). This impacts the PER. We all know that would help improve his game.

  • @BShark yeah I don’t think KJ was horrible yesterday. I’m still willing to give him a chance. Hell, Charlie was bad, but optimism for this new look team is infectious… Maybe, just maybe…

  • Chuck could help, just needs to do the lil things. Not chuck it up the minute he gets in, go 1 on 1 plus. He does get up the court quickly. 🤯🤦‍♀️ I’m sure Self has talked to him.🔚 of bench chuck

  • I went back and watched the game and was able to pick details from the game better.
    Fran is a biased azz and ESPN needs to reprimand his play calling. He became a regular sideline referee. Geez, he was calling everything against KU. Charles was horrible this game. He doesn’t look like he gives a damn right now. Pull his azz and sit him on the bench. I’d give a walk-on a better chance. This is the worst outside shooting yet. I hope this is it and we get better. GeezLouise we sucked!

  • Funny thing, Fran knows we can’t stand him and why. But he just can’t help it! Sometimes when there is silence, I know he is biting his fist! Good or bad.

  • Rewatching game. When KJ comes in for Marcus their hair reminds me of horns up / horns down from the Muppets.


  • @approxinfinity to many lil kids👶👶👶👶 I have no idea if you are blonde or what, so no offense.

  • Per HCBS today regarding Baylor: “So I think as much as we played four guards today, I don’t know if we’d bank on that moving forward.” Hhmmm…

  • @Gorilla72 Scott Drew is probably totally confused for sure. :confounded:

  • @Kcmatt7

    In my book, there is only one situation that can compete with a good 4-guard offense… it’s having two bigs, one who is a monster in the post, and the other that has mastered the trey. Talk about taking one out of the NBA script…

    Except for maybe Duke… I can’t think of another D1 team that could guard an offense like that. Especially when your trey-shooting big can haul arse up and down the court!

    When Doke was in the mix, I had dreams of this team really killing it with Dedric on the trey and Doke in the post.

    So… the heck with it. Bill will adapt. He will turn this into a formidable 4-guard team.

    The guy we really need to step up now for 40 minutes a game… is Vick. He is doing much better than at any time during his KU career, but he still goes stealth for long periods. He just falls back into a comfort zone, especially when the other team puts more pressure on him. That’s when he has to realize his answer is to turn up the juice and do it his way. He sometimes gets a bit frustrated and tries to do things that aren’t there, consequently, turning the ball over too much or forcing a few shots. Fortunately, he’s a good enough shooter that he makes quite a few of his highly-guarded shots. But this isn’t how he needs to finish his senior year at Kansas. He needs to focus a bit more on creating without the ball to break open for more catch and shoots… or catch/shot fake/drives.

    No one in D1 can stop Vick when he plays the right game and focuses on his skill set and the parts of the game he has already mastered!

Log in to reply

Looks like your connection to KU Buckets was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.