Is it a coaching issue, or a player decision making issue?


I found this article over at Brett LaGree's site, and this article has very good information in it.

More Offensive Geometry

Basically, the gist of the article is that the author breaks down the offensive possessions of every team. He only looks at offensive possessions that each team used at least 100 times on the year though. That eliminates the seldom used shot types and helps eliminate the small sample size. The graphs break the offensive possessions down two ways. First, it looks at the efficiency of the possession by measuring PPP on the particular shots. It is then broken down into how much the type of possession was used. Here is the graph for the Hawks possessions.


What does this data tell us? Well, for one, I think it tells us that at least from a coaching staff standpoint, we do not pay any attention to statistical analysis and use it as a tool to make the team more efficient. There is a reason this team did not have an efficient offense this past year.

The Hawks four most inefficient possessions Josh Smith in isolation, Joe Johnson as the P&R ball handler, Jeff Teague in isolation, and Josh Smith as a spot up shooter. Here is the issue with this though. Josh Smith as a spot up shooter was used on almost 30% of Atlanta's entire offensive possessions. Basically, that means that nearly a third of the Hawks offense came on one of their four most inefficient offensive possessions. Also, looking at the distribution, the Hawks most used offensive posessions were not much more efficient than their least efficient possessions.

Legitimate questions can be asked as to why Joe Johnson coming off screens was not used more, and also why using Josh Smith as a cutter was not used more? Also, something I've been saying for a while now is that Joe Johnson should be used more in the post. This graph shows that Joe is very efficient as a scorer when he is working in the post.

The inherent question here is this. Is this a coaching issue, a player decision making issue, or a combination of the two? I think I lean more towards the latter, because no matter what the coach is saying, it is still the player that makes the decision to pull the trigger on that spot up jumper. Plus, it is completely unfathomable to me that a coach would center his offense around Josh Smith taking spot up jumpers. I think Josh is taking those jumpers mostly on his own, but there is no discipline from the coaching staff for him taking so many inefficient shots.

What I wonder is if you eliminate Josh Smith and his poor decision making from the equation, is Larry Drew capable of realizing what his team's strengths are and building things around those strengths.

If you want a comparison graph, take a look at Indiana's. I think Indiana is similar to the Hawks relative to the fact that they don't have that one so call go-to scorer that can create his own shot consistently. If you look at their distribution, they are clearly an inside out offense that focuses on getting the ball to Roy Hibbert and David West in the post and having them kick to some efficient spot up jump shooters on the perimeter. Indiana also probably runs more pull up jumpers than any team in the league, though this graph does not shot this.

A FanPost expresses the opinion of the community member who wrote it and not that of the blog management.

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