Anatomy of the Blazers' offense
September 2, 2009 8:19 PM   Subscribe

Basketball-filter: The Portland Trailblazers' offense broken down and explained with custom videos. [via]
posted by AceRock (24 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
This is great. I wish I could see more of this type of thing. ESPN rarely delivers anything like this.

Also very interesting is Przybilla's role in this play (the one labeled "Another case with more complex routes"). He never touched the ball, but his screens basically made the play. I haven't followed the NBA closely for a few years now, so I'm not familiar with this guy, but that's the kind of smart play that's practically invisible to the casual viewer. The little ESPN "scouting" blurbs routinely fail to mention this sort of thing, and focus entirely on tangible stats like rebounds, blocks and points.
posted by mullacc at 8:45 PM on September 2, 2009

I know nothing about sports! I could care less about sports! But I'm from Portland so YEAH!!!! FUCK YEAH!!! RIP CITY!!!
posted by Lutoslawski at 8:52 PM on September 2, 2009

Well, this is us. All three Blazers fans on Metafilter. Thought I ought to comment, too.

More interesting to me, in today's Blazers news, is that Andre Miller says he wants to be the starting point guard.
posted by odasaku at 8:53 PM on September 2, 2009

Hey, there are at least four Blazers fans on mefi.

I'm with mullacc. This is the sort of analysis I'd like to see from the sports media. Instead of manufacturing controversy, please teach me to have a fuller appreciation of the game on the court. In the standard football camera angle, you can't even see how the defensive backfield is lined up which guarantees that you're not going to understand the game the way the players and coaches do.
posted by chrchr at 9:06 PM on September 2, 2009

I'm here too, guys!

I remember clearly as a kid going to the finals back in the days of Clyde "The Glide" Drexler and cheering harder then I ever have or ever will in my life. We were an amazing team back then, unfortunately we were up against arguably the greatest team in NBA history.. the 1991 Bulls..
posted by mediocre at 9:07 PM on September 2, 2009

This is what you get from a fan base of over-educated and underemployed Portlanders.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 9:18 PM on September 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

Oh, and I mean that with love.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 9:18 PM on September 2, 2009

This is applicable to the entire NBA, not just for Portland. Go Blazers!
posted by pwb503 at 10:22 PM on September 2, 2009

Is it possible that such analysis isn't on TV because the teams wouldn't appreciate substantive analysis and break down of their plays?
posted by pwedza at 10:26 PM on September 2, 2009

pwedza: I can't imagine that would be the case. Every team already has access to vast amounts of game video and their own experts. I suppose there's a chance the game would become more competitive if there was more transparency and a greater level of intelligence in and around the game...but I'm sure it really just boils down to what's entertaining for the average sports fan.
posted by mullacc at 10:58 PM on September 2, 2009

rip city!
posted by rainperimeter at 12:01 AM on September 3, 2009

The thing I like about American team sports is the strategy and tactics involved, and so I love sites like this, which really bring you into the nitty-gritty technical side of things. It makes my nerd heart go "glee!"

I think this is why Americans don't like soccer - for whatever reason, the sport is resistant to innovation, and entirely about the best players with the best technique, so there's really not a lot of planning or strategy involved on a team-wide basis. Half the fun of an American sporting event is seeing what the coaches have cooked up for each other's teams, and how they meet the challenges and surprises the game brings their way.
posted by Slap*Happy at 2:21 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

More interesting to me, in today's Blazers news, is that Andre Miller says he wants to be the starting point guard.

I also want to be the starting point guard.
posted by srboisvert at 3:15 AM on September 3, 2009

Does anyone do this sort of thing for (American) football?

Echoing Slap*Happy, I get a huge kick out of the strategy element in American football (and baseball, for that matter) - but not having grown up with it, it always feels like there's a whole world of tactics that I'm missing. Something like this that explains how each play works, the logic behind play selection, all of that chewy tactical stuff: that'd be all kinds of awesome.
posted by The Shiny Thing at 6:43 AM on September 3, 2009

Shiny, Football Outsiders is close, although they don't have videos.
posted by AceRock at 6:51 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

This is FAN-TAS-TIC. Love it. I'd also be interested in seeing an intricate breakdown of football plays. Having grown up playing/watching a ton of basketball, I really get it on a fundamental level. Football, on the other hand, still mystifies me to some degree. I think there is a real difference, too, between the approach players/coaches bring to both games. While there is a lot of strategy in basketball, it is stuff that is learned through an accretion of knowledge through experience. So you don't really see NBA coaches calling out a lot of set plays. The players at that level already know how to play the game on a fundamental level and are setting picks and running variations of set plays intuitively - they are not only spacing the floor to make it difficult for the defense to guard them, they are also reacting to how the defense is spaced. That is, if my defender jumps to the elbow to guard the penetrating point guard, I'm going to slip behind him to the basket for either a pass from the point guard or to get in position for a rebound - I don't need a set play to tell me to do that, I'm just going to do it. Pryz running around setting picks could be a set play, but more likely it's just a smart guy trying to set a bunch of picks, knowing that at some point he's going to tangle somebody up and the defense is going to break down. "Basketball knowledge" is very important, especially in the NBA. In college basketball it's important but there are still a lot of set plays and rote route-running that gets called. In the NFL and football in general, on the other hand, I think that "football knowledge" is still really important, but perhaps only really for the QB, and for certain players on the defense. The other players are running set routes or set blocking schemes or what have you. The defense organizes a scheme and the offense runs a set play and the two plans face off, over and over and over again.

Anyway, cool site, thanks for the link.
posted by billysumday at 7:33 AM on September 3, 2009

Ok, maybe things have changed in the four years since I left Portland. But my first reaction was "wait, they have an offense?"
posted by Hactar at 8:32 AM on September 3, 2009

Jailblazers no more!
posted by wcfields at 9:30 AM on September 3, 2009

This is ridiculous.

You could do this "breakdown" stuff in the 70's and 80's. But not today.

Because the modern NBA team basically just runs up and down the court and no one plays defense.

I could take a video camera to a schoolyard in Brooklyn or Boston and do the same thing this guy just did.
posted by Zambrano at 9:52 AM on September 3, 2009

wait, they have an offense?

The real innovation is that they have a defense. I mean, Zach Randolph can score.

BTW, Blazer fans might enjoy this part of the Jefferson Airplane thread. (JA fans were nonplussed.)
posted by msalt at 10:08 AM on September 3, 2009

I used to be a Blazers fan. I remember seeing Jerome Kersey driving his Benz in downtown, with my friend chasing him, yelling "Jerome! Jerome!".

Then I moved to Southern California and was finally able to support a team that could actually win something.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:14 AM on September 3, 2009

Then I moved to Southern California and was finally able to support a team that could actually win something.

Your favorite sports team sucks! (Esp. if they're the Lakers.)
posted by msalt at 2:44 PM on September 3, 2009

Andre Miller says he wants to be the starting point guard.

He's certainly a legitimate NBA starting point guard. And chemistry on the court trumps this kind of speculation every time.

But given the facts that Miller does not have a great 3-point shot, that Brandon Roy prefers to have the ball in his own hands and Steve Blake can drain it, and that Miller is great at both penetrating and lobs toward the basket for big men like Oden, it seems like Blake starting and Miller running the second unit is a better fit.

I mean, bench points count just as much.
posted by msalt at 11:16 AM on September 4, 2009

Because the modern NBA team basically just runs up and down the court and no one plays defense.

Not true at all. Maybe you stopped watching a couple decades ago. Aside from a few (mostly failed) run-and-gun experiments (Paul Westhead, anyone?) and the (semi-successful) Pheonix Suns' "seven-seconds-or-less" offense, NBA basketball is relatively methodical, especially the 2009 Portland Trail Blazers, who were at or near the bottom of the league in speed of play and at the top of the league in offensive efficiency (especially when adjusted for pace).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:57 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

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