Would appreciate to hear people's feedback on my team the Utah Jazz.
Starters: Jason Kidd - Reggie Miller - Peja Stojakovic - Al Horford - Shaq
Bench: Rajon Rondo
I have a floor-spreading, more athletic PF that I'm considering drafting next who could possibly start and move Horford to the bench. What do people think about that idea in theory?
I do love Horford's elbows-wide-screens freeing up Reggie and Peja off-ball with the starting unit, but that could move to my offensive attack when Shaq rests.
I am a fan of your team but I am still trying to wrap my head around your team's offense. Not because it is bad or anything like that just because it is so different to what we have seen Shaq with in the past.
Shaq had so much success with a dominant perimeter player who can create for himself and others - in Orlando, with the Lakers and in Miami. You went away from that and created a different recipe (which is always fun to see).
I also keep thinking of Shaq in the Triangle offense. I thought that was the best offense he played in because it was so post-orientated. It ensured his touches better than the offenses he played with in Orlando or Miami where his touches were less dependable. Everything flowed through him in the Triangle. So every time I look at your team, my first thought is "jeez, I am not sure Peja is right for the Triangle - he should be running off screens" .... even though there is no Triangle here.
I love that you have Kidd as your PG because he can dominate games without scoring. I am not worried about his outside shooting because I believe he would've developed his outside shot quicker if he was playing in today's league. So I am comfortable assuming his 2010 levels of shooting during his prime years in New Jersey. A dependable spot up three point shooter rather than an off the dribble three point shooter.
I also love that Kidd will make sure the ball works through Shaquille O'Neal which many other (scoring) PGs would not do as well as Kidd would.
Peja and Reggie are cool shooters but they need screens to free themselves up. I am concerned that none of your 4 other starters can create their own shot off the dribble effectively. They are all dependent on someone helping them get open.
That is the main issue I see. Shaq is the only guy who creates his own offense. Everyone else needs help to get good shots.
I am not sure I buy the Horford criticism - criticism about his quickness. He was plenty quick and athletic enough during his prime in Atlanta. He is quicker than probably half the starting PFs in this league.
Dirk. K-Malone. Pau. C-Webb. Brand. Towns if he starts at PF. Aldridge. Horford is quicker than all of those guys. And he is one of the better PFs defensively on the perimeter.
I like Horford's glue guy potential as a defensive PF. Shaq always liked (needed?) that next to him. Horford's rebounding (especially in boxing out other physical PFs) is also an asset.
I am not as sure on offense. I think Shaq relegates Horford to the periphery of things. I am not sure Horford will get the touches in the spots he wants to make much of an impact but he'll be okay in the shadows. He won't hurt you. He is too skilled, too smart. Passing, shooting, some handles. So that is fine.
I am not sure there is a good enough shot creating wing available but there are still PGs available. Kidd is big enough to slide over to SGs defensively and play in a two guard backcourt if that was your desire.
Or even a 6th man type guard so you have that option if you need more shot creation on the perimeter. Keep the starting lineup as is and have a game-changing option off the bench. Yeah, I like that as an option. That is what I would try to do rather than switch-up the starting unit.
I already PMed this to Who, but wow this was a such a thoughtful and considerate post on my team. This is what makes these games great. Again, I'm really appreciative of this, Who.
Now to answer Who's questions about my offense, I'd like to give my thoughts on a main offensive set I've been envisioning this team running. Not the only set, but one I like a lot. In the diagram below, I have:
Action 1: Reggie runs off a triple off-ball screen, the last one being Shaq's big body. If he gets freed up, Kidd hits him for the open shot. If Shaq's man cheats to help at all, Shaq slips for the oop from Kidd.
Action 2: Right after Reggie runs off Peja, Horford pivots and sets one of his wide-elbowed screens for Peja to come off looking for a jumper. Same thing. Horford's man cheats, it's a pass to him who is now in position to play 2-1.
Maybe the passes are made and instead of a direct shot, Peja or Reggie just attack the close out, in which case I think good things will happen.
Action 3: If neither of the passes are made leading to a direct action, then Kidd (dribbling a bit more to the side) and Reggie are making a triangle with Shaq for a post up opportunity. When the ball gets into him, lots of actions can happen from here.
-I think the main action is for Horford to set a back screen for Kidd. Horford is then spotting up at the top of the key after. If Kidd and Horford's men are the two most likely to offer help, then I want them screening to open one of them up for a look they are each efficient with.
-Alternatively, Kidd could be the screen setter, going to free up Peja or setting a flare screen for Reggie.
-There's a good chance Shaq just muscles his way in for a high % fga. But if Kidd sets the flare screen for Reggie, then Shaq could always kick it back out to Kidd and follow that pass with an immediate ball screen for a Kidd-Shaq p&r with some great floor spacing (Horford would have found his way to the perimeter, pushing Peja to the corner).
-Of course there are hundreds or thousands of ways this set could play out as the shot clock ticks, but those are some actions I can envision really well and just love what I see in my head.
Some notes on this:
1) Whoever is guarding Reggie is going to get very tired of running off that triple screen, then likely more screens as the offense will often continue past those first 8 seconds (unless I'm scoring that easily!). I can also swap Peja and Reggie's spots, which I'd be likely to do in the case where I want to tire out Peja's defender -- an elite offensive SF like LeBron or Durant -- or abuse a lazier one.
2) This won't be my only action of course. It's just one that particularly excited me with lots of options that I can't get out of my head. We'll operate lots of straight post ups of Shaq with plenty of floor spacing. We'll run some Horns double p&r
with Shaq diving and Horford spotting up. We'll let Horford work his hand-offs to Peja and/or Reggie. Kidd will get out in transition at times. I think there are lots of highly efficient options to work with here.
The positives: I think he's perfectly suited to take over and execute this same offense nearly as well as Kidd does.
The negatives: This doesn't allow me to play Rondo and Kidd together, which is certainly something you want to do with your 6th man. He also can't run "the same offense" when Shaq and the other starters are sitting. They are unique players that I won't be able to replicate on my bench. Rondo also offers no real change of pace/style, which I value highly in bench players.
I think the negatives outweigh the positives here. I'll probably look into seeing how I can address this. I could trade Rondo or I think Rondo could possibly slide in as starting PG in this offense if I were to trade Kidd. That might be the easier way to build value. If I can't trade either of them, I don't think this problem is that terrible of one. Rondo just has a limit on how many minutes he can play (32-16 split I imagine right now w/ no overlap) and I have to acquire some other good bench players that can absorb more of a role.