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MontanaCoyote
01-04-2016, 07:51 AM
In an earlier thread I opined that w/o Shem clogging up the middle, the ZAG's could still maybe go 2 deep at the dance. After watching the last 3 games and seeing quick, athletic guards driving and scoring in the paint, I'm beginning to think I was a little optimistic.

So, what do you seasoned posters think? Without Shem, what can/should be done to at least stop some of this penetration by pesky, athletic guards? How far can we reasonably be expected to go both with and without addressing this problem/challenge?

willandi
01-04-2016, 07:56 AM
In an earlier thread I opined that w/o Shem clogging up the middle, the ZAG's could still maybe go 2 deep at the dance. After watching the last 3 games and seeing quick, athletic guards driving and scoring in the paint, I'm beginning to think I was a little optimistic.

So, what do you seasoned posters think? Without Shem, what can/should be done to at least stop some of this penetration by pesky, athletic guards? How far can we reasonably be expected to go both with and without addressing this problem/challenge?

I think that, if we make the dance (which I think we do), we could be one and done, we could be National Champs. It really depends a lot on match-ups, team health and which side of the mouth their tongue hangs out. Anything more, at this point, is a total guess. Tell me which teams are our first round games, and beyond, and it might be a little clearer picture.

Reborn
01-04-2016, 08:16 AM
It's now it's very difficult for me to look that far ahead. We just got the news that PK has been lost for the season. My emotions are still dealing with that, and I KNOW the team is certainly going to be dealing with that too. It's a painful fact, and the team feels it. Not so much for themselves but for him. Shem is a very very loved player, and these guys and coaches hurt for him. But his absence can also inspire them. We'll see. I am sure he inspired them Saturday night, the day he was undergoing surgery.

The team needs time and I think their schedule gives them that. They will be home now for two weeks, and this week they only have one game and it's in K2. The Zags need to get better, maybe a lot better, and I think they will; and the schedule will help them. The second half of conference play is definitely going to be a lot tougher than the first part. We have more away games. My hope is that the Zags will be a lot better by then and will be able to meet each challenge.

CDC84
01-04-2016, 08:23 AM
The defense the past two games has been very poor. One college basketball analyst I know feels that unless the staff make some changes, the Zags could end up with a few bad losses in league, and lose the league title to St. Mary's. He also doubts they would be able to beat SMU in Dallas.

I don't know what can be done. Zones and man didn't work well in either game.....most of the time. Obviously, the Zags D stiffened up towards the end of the USF game.

What drives me crazy is that this team, on paper, should be way better at stopping the bounce. All the guards are big, some of them are long, and all have average to above average quickness. There seems to be a lack of attention to detail. Also, a lot of the weak side help is just not there.

I think Shem's absence is also exposing Wiltjer's weaknesses as a defender more and more.

Hoopaholic
01-04-2016, 08:43 AM
The defense the past two games has been very poor. One college basketball analyst I know feels that unless the staff make some changes, the Zags could end up with a few bad losses in league, and lose the league title to St. Mary's. He also doubts they would be able to beat SMU in Dallas.

I don't know what can be done. Zones and man didn't work well in either game.....most of the time. Obviously, the Zags D stiffened up towards the end of the USF game.

What drives me crazy is that this team, on paper, should be way better at stopping the bounce. All the guards are big, some of them are long, and all have average to above average quickness. There seems to be a lack of attention to detail. Also, a lot of the weak side help is just not there.

I think Shem's absence is also exposing Wiltjer's weaknesses as a defender more and more.

Going to take some time to change the mindset of our defensive philosophy....it has changed from funneling to SHEM to now taking away the middle and funneling to side and baseline we simply don't have the shot blocking presence right now

I see glimpses but then they fall right back into opening up way to much to allow the drive to the paint off dribble.....

CDC84
01-04-2016, 09:04 AM
If Shem were to get healthy and take a medical redshirt.....Jonathan Williams might be the best weak side shot blocker GU has had since Turiaf. The post defense next season could be superb.

MDABE80
01-04-2016, 09:31 AM
The guards don't move their feet CDC. It's a chronic problem this year..........getting worse. They slap and use their hands. Not much foot movement. Defense is played with feet as you know. Just no movement. We'll pay for that as we have in the last two games. Defense wins championships.

Chicken Ball
01-04-2016, 10:04 AM
The defense the past two games has been very poor. One college basketball analyst I know feels that unless the staff make some changes, the Zags could end up with a few bad losses in league, and lose the league title to St. Mary's. He also doubts they would be able to beat SMU in Dallas.

I don't know what can be done. Zones and man didn't work well in either game.....most of the time. Obviously, the Zags D stiffened up towards the end of the USF game.

What drives me crazy is that this team, on paper, should be way better at stopping the bounce. All the guards are big, some of them are long, and all have average to above average quickness. There seems to be a lack of attention to detail. Also, a lot of the weak side help is just not there.

I think Shem's absence is also exposing Wiltjer's weaknesses as a defender more and more.

Early in the second half of the USF game, it seemed like every other USF basket resulted from a Wiltjer defensive lapse: either a blow-by, or losing track of the jump shooter.

Coach Crazy
01-04-2016, 10:12 AM
In an earlier thread I opined that w/o Shem clogging up the middle, the ZAG's could still maybe go 2 deep at the dance. After watching the last 3 games and seeing quick, athletic guards driving and scoring in the paint, I'm beginning to think I was a little optimistic.

So, what do you seasoned posters think? Without Shem, what can/should be done to at least stop some of this penetration by pesky, athletic guards? How far can we reasonably be expected to go both with and without addressing this problem/challenge?

USF was just throwing stuff up, and it was going in. Now, we have seen that against a team in the dance last year, so it's not out of the realm of possibility. Having said that, if you get against a higher-caliber team, unless it is there M.O. we aren't likely to see a team go right to that well for water. They'll have more confidence in a game plan, and a more structured hierarchy of who is getting the ball and where.

GonzagasaurusFlex
01-04-2016, 11:50 AM
In an earlier thread I opined that w/o Shem clogging up the middle, the ZAG's could still maybe go 2 deep at the dance. After watching the last 3 games and seeing quick, athletic guards driving and scoring in the paint, I'm beginning to think I was a little optimistic.

So, what do you seasoned posters think? Without Shem, what can/should be done to at least stop some of this penetration by pesky, athletic guards? How far can we reasonably be expected to go both with and without addressing this problem/challenge?

Without Shem clogging the lane, our guards/wings have nobody cleaning up their mistakes when they get beat off the dribble. One solution to this would be to play more zone, which of course they did vs USF, but the problem with zone D is it requires a lot of practice if you are going to play it for long stretches in a game effectively. That's why most teams use it just as a change-up kind of pitch for a few possessions per game to throw the other team off or surprise the opponent on pivotal possessions. Good teams that get to face a zone D possession after possession will start slicing it up, unless the team playing zone has exceptional length and discipline in keeping the zone's shape (like Syracuse usually does). I'm not sure the zone is a solution for the Zags, though it is a good strategy for resting players and protecting them from fouls.

seacatfan
01-04-2016, 11:56 AM
It wasn't very long ago people were claiming this year's Zags were easily the best perimeter defenders they've seen in a long time. Did everything change that fast?

CDC84
01-04-2016, 12:01 PM
They were defending at a high level earlier in the year. The defense has just gotten worse and worse since Shem went down.

mgadfly
01-04-2016, 12:02 PM
Sabonis keeps us in the game against any team in the country. Wiltjer gives us that guy that can get hot and beat any team in the country. Doing it six games in a row against increasingly better competition is very unlikely to happen.

Other comments related to this thread:

Jonathan Williams might be the best weak side shot blocker GU has had since Turiaf.

My opinion is that Turiaf (while having cooler looking blocked shots from the weak side) was not as good as Daye as a weak side shot blocker. AD struggled when someone could get a body into him, often times lost track of his own man, but blocked tons of shots as the weak side defender. But I hope Williams turns out to be the second best weak side shot blocker since Turiaf, that'd still be pretty cool.

Our defense has been getting its rear end kicked, but I'm not sure there is as big of issue as it seems. For example, in the first half there were a lot of contested three pointers that USF made. I also liked the effort in the zone and having Sabonis there to compete on the boards takes away one of the big problems with running it. I'd prefer we play more man, but to do that we need more than eight guys.

JPtheBeasta
01-04-2016, 03:33 PM
I second the notion that the guards need to move their feet.

With the depth of athletes we have at guard, and the limited offensive output, max effort defense shouldn't be a problem. I would like to see our guys pick up a foot or two farther out and make the opponent initiate their offense from farther away with a player inside their jersey. Aside from potentially wearing shallower teams out, as an offensive player it throws you off a bit when you have to take an extra step or dribble for a layin, step out farther to set a screen, or make the longer entry pass to the post. So much of basketball is repetition and muscle memory that if we can make people think a bit about what they are doing, it could pay off.

We could also trap the ball carrier more.

We could also take away/overplay the right hand of a right-handed driver. I think USFs point guard when to his right the majority of the game. They had a roll player who hit maybe five runners moving to his right across the lane- it looked like a bread and butter type shot for him and after a couple of those you need to see if he has a left hand.

Reborn
01-05-2016, 06:11 AM
Part of the problem has been that teams have been shooting lights out against us this year. There have been so many times in the last two games that the Zags played really good defense on the 3 pt shooters and yet the shots still went in. This forced our guards to play closer to the man they were guarding than usual. The guard who is defending off the ball is usually in a help position, but they could not do this the last two games because the shooters were so hot. And in the last couple games all of the players seemed to be able to sink the three ball. There are a lot of really good three point shooters in the WCC this year.

I think the other problem is that Gonzaga can not afford to get either Sabonis or Wiltjer in foul trouble; so they need to play somewhat tentative on D. WCC refs seem to call the game a lot closer than refs from other conferences, and this kind of hurts our team. And finally, Wiltjer and Sabonis are having to play a lot of minutes, and they do get tired. They must pace themselves; so the are not able to go all out on every single play. These are factors that must be considered. And not only do we miss Karno on Defense, Edwards seems to be a pretty poor rim protector. Because he picks up fouls so quickly, he is unable to stay in the game very long.

These are some problems that the Zags may not be able to a whole lot about. This team is going to have to be a very good offensive team in order to make up for the problems on D. Winning on the road is going to be very hard, but so far we are 2 an 0. Let's take it one game at a time. Playing at home the next three games will help I think. And maybe because the Zags are going to be playing at home for two weeks, they will get rested up and therefore play better on the road next time.

Coach Crazy
01-05-2016, 08:28 AM
They were defending at a high level earlier in the year. The defense has just gotten worse and worse since Shem went down.

I don't think this is completely it. Sure, it will have *some* effect, but we also beat the crap out of two teams before having two close ones. And in those two close wins, dudes were just throwing stuff up. That doesn't last the whole season. Take that away, and they are still not where you want them to be, and perhaps Shem being gone means this team doesn't reach the 95-98 range in DRtg. But anywhere from 99-101 and you're gonna see a ton more blow outs for conference play.

Ezag
01-05-2016, 03:52 PM
I don't think this is completely it. Sure, it will have *some* effect, but we also beat the crap out of two teams before having two close ones. And in those two close wins, dudes were just throwing stuff up. That doesn't last the whole season. Take that away, and they are still not where you want them to be, and perhaps Shem being gone means this team doesn't reach the 95-98 range in DRtg. But anywhere from 99-101 and you're gonna see a ton more blow outs for conference play.

I don't agree with blowouts. Hasn't been that way so far in the first few games and 2 were barely wins. We haven't even started playing the good teams in the conference yet. I wouldn't even talk about the dance right now. If we don't get past SMC and then drop a game here and there, it might be NIT dance.

Outraged
01-05-2016, 07:13 PM
Yep..got to start playing D and not struggle with 250+ rpi teams or we will be playing in WYOMING.

U Zig, I Zag
01-05-2016, 10:02 PM
Against USF there was a concerted effort to not foul and to defer to letting guys get at the rim as opposed to kicking it out for 3. They were hitting every nutty shot from deep for 3/4 of the game. Once THEY started fouling out and the 3's slowed down we cranked it up. We had fouls to give (they could get to the line, but we had bodies... they were running out). I can get on Few & Co at times for what I think are dumb coaching mistakes (what the hell do I know anyway?), but I was awfully proud of everyone on that Zags side that night.

I think we'll be OK defensively IF KD/Silas (and to a lesser extent EMac, since he seems to get his) find their shots. That's really it. They need to hit some shots, otherwise Few exchanges them in the rotation that really only exists to keep Sabonis and KW sort of fresh (they play soooooo many minutes. We need to roll a couple bottom feeders to rest those guys).

We have 3 players right now. We need 4. We never really play with 5 (pick your poison and start your arguing: stockton, meech, etc).

KW
Sabonis
Perkins

Sabonis is the best player in league, for all practical purposes and KW is prob second. We should be able to win all but a couple of on the road toughies in the WCC.

Coach Crazy
01-06-2016, 04:18 PM
I don't agree with blowouts. Hasn't been that way so far in the first few games and 2 were barely wins. We haven't even started playing the good teams in the conference yet. I wouldn't even talk about the dance right now. If we don't get past SMC and then drop a game here and there, it might be NIT dance.

99-73 and 85-62 aren't blow outs? Huh, interesting. I guess I am behind on the times, or something? Wait, I thought Pepperdine was supposed to be one of the "good teams". How about people here stop throwing out eye-test/magic 8-ball conjecture and start striving to be 1. a little more educated and 2. remember what is said. Next thing you know, we'll get to the middle of the WCC schedule, and we'll still be waiting for the "good teams".

You wouldn't even talk about the dance right now, even though we are out-pacing last year's team in offensive production and have already shown an ability to play very good defense against better competition in OOC? Wow, that's some intense logic there, brosef. Your logic only works if both BYU and SMC handle the WCC themselves, and they are more likely to lose a game than we are. If's and might's only work so much in a discussion.

Coach Crazy
01-06-2016, 04:20 PM
Against USF there was a concerted effort to not foul and to defer to letting guys get at the rim as opposed to kicking it out for 3. They were hitting every nutty shot from deep for 3/4 of the game. Once THEY started fouling out and the 3's slowed down we cranked it up. We had fouls to give (they could get to the line, but we had bodies... they were running out). I can get on Few & Co at times for what I think are dumb coaching mistakes (what the hell do I know anyway?), but I was awfully proud of everyone on that Zags side that night.

I think we'll be OK defensively IF KD/Silas (and to a lesser extent EMac, since he seems to get his) find their shots. That's really it. They need to hit some shots, otherwise Few exchanges them in the rotation that really only exists to keep Sabonis and KW sort of fresh (they play soooooo many minutes. We need to roll a couple bottom feeders to rest those guys).

We have 3 players right now. We need 4. We never really play with 5 (pick your poison and start your arguing: stockton, meech, etc).

KW
Sabonis
Perkins

Sabonis is the best player in league, for all practical purposes and KW is prob second. We should be able to win all but a couple of on the road toughies in the WCC.

Wrong. You have 4. Drang is putting up total offensive production that is nearly identical to that of BW, from last year. And if we are looking at ORtg, we have just about everyone scoring strong. We just need some defense.

mgadfly
01-06-2016, 11:17 PM
Wrong. You have 4. Drang is putting up total offensive production that is nearly identical to that of BW, from last year. And if we are looking at ORtg, we have just about everyone scoring strong. We just need some defense.

Wrong. Drang and Wesley are about equally efficient (111.0 to 110.6 ORatings), but Drang takes 11.2% of shots when on the floor and BW took 19.9%. That's a huge difference in offensive production. Same with possession percentage.

We need another scorer. Last year we had 6 guys with an offensive efficiency rating above 110 and a percentage of shots taken while on the floor above 17. So we had Wiltjer, Karnowski, Wesley, Sabonis, Pangos, and Bell as efficient guys that took their share of shots while on the court.

Now we have two. Dos. Wiltjer and Sabonis. The other two guys taking shots (Perkins and Emac) have not yet shot efficiently enough to really make other teams worry. Hopefully that changes (or Dranginis steps up - who is efficient, but doesn't take shots).

MDABE80
01-07-2016, 01:27 AM
Emac getting 10 ppg. He'll score more as the season goes by. Emac, Dranginis, Perks, Wiltjer and DOmas is the five we'll rely on. I kinda wish Alberta would get more time to show off his shooting. 52% from 3 land so far. He needs to become a more complete player but one thing is certain, he's a shooter iwth skills.
Make noo mistake though, Edwards will be necessary to fill in and play true center as the season goes on. First 5 is pretty clear though.

DixieZag
01-07-2016, 04:33 AM
Emac getting 10 ppg. He'll score more as the season goes by. Emac, Dranginis, Perks, Wiltjer and DOmas is the five we'll rely on. I kinda wish Alberta would get more time to show off his shooting. 52% from 3 land so far. He needs to become a more complete player but one thing is certain, he's a shooter iwth skills.
Make noo mistake though, Edwards will be necessary to fill in and play true center as the season goes on. First 5 is pretty clear though.

That sounds right.

Frustrating b/c anyone in college bb who shots 52% from 3 would normally get real PT no matter how limited - of course, that would be dependent upon actually shooting during that PT. Thinking on it, the way Kentucky used KW, his role wasn't much more than floating and flushing, either.

Maybe Few can threaten him with "if you don't shoot open shots you will be helping trainers wash uniforms and spending time with the cross-country team" - would that work?

Coach Crazy
01-07-2016, 05:15 AM
Wrong. Drang and Wesley are about equally efficient (111.0 to 110.6 ORatings), but Drang takes 11.2% of shots when on the floor and BW took 19.9%. That's a huge difference in offensive production. Same with possession percentage.

We need another scorer. Last year we had 6 guys with an offensive efficiency rating above 110 and a percentage of shots taken while on the floor above 17. So we had Wiltjer, Karnowski, Wesley, Sabonis, Pangos, and Bell as efficient guys that took their share of shots while on the court.

Now we have two. Dos. Wiltjer and Sabonis. The other two guys taking shots (Perkins and Emac) have not yet shot efficiently enough to really make other teams worry. Hopefully that changes (or Dranginis steps up - who is efficient, but doesn't take shots).

Their 4-year totals are immaterial. It's not just about shooting the ball. The reason for having advanced statistics is to show more than just a "home run" stat. In fact, you need a player like Drang to be an offensive producer, the way that he does it. Especially when you have two players like Sabonis and Wilt that need the touches, and a PG in Josh who needs to be a primary contributor from an assists and scoring perspective. His (Drang's) ORtg in conference, right now, is 152.6. That's bound to come down, but will still be very high. As well, doing it with a 12.1% USG. It's really very difficult to be much more efficient than that. Byron Wesley needed to take more shots to be a productive offensive participant. Not a bad thing, they are just different types of producers. Kyle's TO% is also sub-10%. One thing he hasn't done yet is bring down his DRtg, otherwise, he would be the more efficient and productive senior of the two. As well, Byron's AST/TO ration was in the negative, slightly, whereas Drang is posting just over a 2-1 ratio.

Also, while KD is shooting less and scoring less than BW did last year, the 3 point stat is very telling as to why. KD is taking more 3-point shots (2.3) and making more (1.0). It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that with a more post-centric offense and even Wilt upping his offensive production and KD's glue guy/jack of all trades role, those shots aren't going to be in the same abundance or space that BW had them.

Ezag
01-07-2016, 08:57 AM
99-73 and 85-62 aren't blow outs? Huh, interesting. I guess I am behind on the times, or something? Wait, I thought Pepperdine was supposed to be one of the "good teams". How about people here stop throwing out eye-test/magic 8-ball conjecture and start striving to be 1. a little more educated and 2. remember what is said. Next thing you know, we'll get to the middle of the WCC schedule, and we'll still be waiting for the "good teams".

You wouldn't even talk about the dance right now, even though we are out-pacing last year's team in offensive production and have already shown an ability to play very good defense against better competition in OOC? Wow, that's some intense logic there, brosef. Your logic only works if both BYU and SMC handle the WCC themselves, and they are more likely to lose a game than we are. If's and might's only work so much in a discussion.

Well Thank God you are here to keep me in line....Final Four I now say!

Markburn1
01-07-2016, 09:52 AM
For those of you lamenting the defense the Zags played in the last two games, I'm pretty sure you weren't watching the same game that Coach Few was watching.

I was in attendance at both games and watched the replay of them a couple times. If you pay attention to the guards on defense, there were times I was astounded that the opposing players even got a shot off, nevermind that they made them. Melson had some particularly good defensive sequences as did McClellan. The only open threes allowed were on slow rotations after help and most of those involved Wiltjer trying to recover from the lane to a corner three. Perkins and Dranginis were solid as was Sabonis. Even on penetration drives the shots that were thrown up, especially against USF were of the circus variety.

It didn’t help that Jared Brownridge and San Francisco’s Devin Watson and Ronnie Boyce hit numerous shots in the face of Zag defenders.

“I talked to our guys about that,” Few said. “We can’t get our heads down about those, where we have to get our heads down is the other breakdowns we have and maybe we get a little too sensitive so then we’re opening up massive driving lanes and not helping each other. Eric (McClellan) was draped all over Brownridge on a few of those, as was Silas (Melson), same with Watson and Boyce, where they just raised up and shot a 25-footer.”

Coach Crazy
01-07-2016, 01:11 PM
Well Thank God you are here to keep me in line....Final Four I now say!

Alright, alright I could have made my point without the approach I used. I apologize. But outside of that I stand by my argument.

SteelZag
01-07-2016, 06:30 PM
That sounds right.

Frustrating b/c anyone in college bb who shots 52% from 3 would normally get real PT no matter how limited - of course, that would be dependent upon actually shooting during that PT. Thinking on it, the way Kentucky used KW, his role wasn't much more than floating and flushing, either.

Maybe Few can threaten him with "if you don't shoot open shots you will be helping trainers wash uniforms and spending time with the cross-country team" - would that work?

I was thinking maybe he already had. In the game against USF, he was only in for about 8 possessions and only touched the ball 3 times while shooting the ball on one of those. Missed and immediately got yanked. If he gets yanked for not shooting or for shooting, I'm thinking he may feel like he doesn't know exactly what his role is.

mgadfly
01-07-2016, 06:39 PM
Their 4-year totals are immaterial. It's not just about shooting the ball. The reason for having advanced statistics is to show more than just a "home run" stat. In fact, you need a player like Drang to be an offensive producer, the way that he does it. Especially when you have two players like Sabonis and Wilt that need the touches, and a PG in Josh who needs to be a primary contributor from an assists and scoring perspective. His (Drang's) ORtg in conference, right now, is 152.6. That's bound to come down, but will still be very high. As well, doing it with a 12.1% USG. It's really very difficult to be much more efficient than that. Byron Wesley needed to take more shots to be a productive offensive participant. Not a bad thing, they are just different types of producers. Kyle's TO% is also sub-10%. One thing he hasn't done yet is bring down his DRtg, otherwise, he would be the more efficient and productive senior of the two. As well, Byron's AST/TO ration was in the negative, slightly, whereas Drang is posting just over a 2-1 ratio.

Also, while KD is shooting less and scoring less than BW did last year, the 3 point stat is very telling as to why. KD is taking more 3-point shots (2.3) and making more (1.0). It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that with a more post-centric offense and even Wilt upping his offensive production and KD's glue guy/jack of all trades role, those shots aren't going to be in the same abundance or space that BW had them.

I wasn't using 4 year totals. I was comparing 2015 numbers to 2016 numbers. I also wasn't cherry-picking just conference numbers as Drangs 2016 totals would be too small of a sample size to get much from. As I understood the point you were making is that our offense is fine and it is our defense that needs to step up and the evidence of that was that KD replaced BW's offensive production. That's just not true.

Drangs doesn't put pressure on the defense as a scorer like BW did. Also, BW didn't have to put as much pressure because the team had so many scoring options last year (but even with all those options he was able to take almost exactly 1 in 5 shots while on the floor and convert those shots at a high efficiency rate). We NEED KD (or someone not named Sabonis or Wiltjer) to step up and take shots and make them. KD's high efficiency - low production approach was perfect for last season's squad because there were other high efficiency high usage players willing to take charge. A complimentary player like KD was fantastic.

And it's great to have a KD player on this season's team too, but if KD isn't going to increase his usage, we need someone (Perkins?) to step up and be more efficient to give us more options on offense.

Our defense could use some work too, but Gonzaga has always helped its defense by being such an efficient offense. If you are defending off a make rather than miss you already have an advantage. We are defending off of misses (low efficiency possessions) more than we have in the past.

If your original point is that KD is efficient and it's great to have a guy like him on the team, I totally agree. If the point is that we don't need more than two players capable of hunting their shots and converting at a high rate, I'd still disagree. That puts too much pressure on a system that has lived on high efficiency offense.

Zag Man
01-07-2016, 07:10 PM
Offensively, we can score on anybody. We have a problem defensively since both KW and DS need to keep out of foul trouble and have to let some contestable shots go. We really need help here, but so far Ryan Edwards has not developed like I had hoped he would. He certainly has all of the skills, but doesn’t seem to have the competitiveness and meanness in his game to impose his will against an opponent.

Our perimeter defense has improved and I like what EMac, Silas, and KD provide in that area. Josh is a decent defender, but we need him to stay out of foul trouble and concentrate on running the team and protecting the ball. Josh has really improved his play in the past several games. Bryan Alberts is improving nicely, too, and will be a big help as the season unfurls.

If we can get some help from Ryan to provide quality minutes in relief, and Silas, KD, and Alberts can start taking and making some shots, I believe we can win the WCC conference and tournament championship, and then do some damage in the NCAA Tournament.

ZAGLAWQB
01-07-2016, 07:37 PM
Catch Fire:....this playing scenario and team makeup runs deep and is made
that much more palpable based on Zags level and history. So, having no numbers and understanding
this is rarely discussed and never covered at clinics...there is a little known coaching
maneuver called "catching fire." It is a 100% identification and dedication to taking
2 talented players, currently not instrumentally contributing, and ,
forcing their own talent and tools upon themselves day in and day
out at every practice. At game time, the forced elements are clock
regulated. This can, and has worked on many players in the 6 to 9
positions. Maybe it is time to identify 2.......

bballbeachbum
01-07-2016, 07:44 PM
without Shem everything's different. that's the fun of this team right now imo...the adjustments on the fly to the loss of an irreplaceable player, and watching as Few and staff and the team wade their way through that reality. it's very much like the shroom team in that regard, and that was a blast following them adjust

GonzagasaurusFlex
01-08-2016, 06:36 AM
without Shem everything's different. that's the fun of this team right now imo...the adjustments on the fly to the loss of an irreplaceable player, and watching as Few and staff and the team wade their way through that reality. it's very much like the shroom team in that regard, and that was a blast following them adjust

I agree and am really looking forward to seeing what this team looks like after having a full week off to adjust to their new situation, get some quality practice time in and hopefully rest a bit too.

Ezag
01-08-2016, 07:41 AM
Alright, alright I could have made my point without the approach I used. I apologize. But outside of that I stand by my argument.

It's all good!

Zagceo
01-08-2016, 08:53 AM
For those of you lamenting the defense the Zags played in the last two games, I'm pretty sure you weren't watching the same game that Coach Few was watching.

I was in attendance at both games and watched the replay of them a couple times. If you pay attention to the guards on defense, there were times I was astounded that the opposing players even got a shot off, nevermind that they made them. Melson had some particularly good defensive sequences as did McClellan. The only open threes allowed were on slow rotations after help and most of those involved Wiltjer trying to recover from the lane to a corner three. Perkins and Dranginis were solid as was Sabonis. Even on penetration drives the shots that were thrown up, especially against USF were of the circus variety.

It didn’t help that Jared Brownridge and San Francisco’s Devin Watson and Ronnie Boyce hit numerous shots in the face of Zag defenders.

“I talked to our guys about that,” Few said. “We can’t get our heads down about those, where we have to get our heads down is the other breakdowns we have and maybe we get a little too sensitive so then we’re opening up massive driving lanes and not helping each other. Eric (McClellan) was draped all over Brownridge on a few of those, as was Silas (Melson), same with Watson and Boyce, where they just raised up and shot a 25-footer.”

Few was watching the same game I was…….in defense of the kids its gotta be hard watching some of those contested shots drop without closing out harder on the next shot.

Coach Crazy
01-08-2016, 09:24 AM
I wasn't using 4 year totals. I was comparing 2015 numbers to 2016 numbers. I also wasn't cherry-picking just conference numbers as Drangs 2016 totals would be too small of a sample size to get much from. As I understood the point you were making is that our offense is fine and it is our defense that needs to step up and the evidence of that was that KD replaced BW's offensive production. That's just not true.

Drangs doesn't put pressure on the defense as a scorer like BW did. Also, BW didn't have to put as much pressure because the team had so many scoring options last year (but even with all those options he was able to take almost exactly 1 in 5 shots while on the floor and convert those shots at a high efficiency rate). We NEED KD (or someone not named Sabonis or Wiltjer) to step up and take shots and make them. KD's high efficiency - low production approach was perfect for last season's squad because there were other high efficiency high usage players willing to take charge. A complimentary player like KD was fantastic.

And it's great to have a KD player on this season's team too, but if KD isn't going to increase his usage, we need someone (Perkins?) to step up and be more efficient to give us more options on offense.

Our defense could use some work too, but Gonzaga has always helped its defense by being such an efficient offense. If you are defending off a make rather than miss you already have an advantage. We are defending off of misses (low efficiency possessions) more than we have in the past.

If your original point is that KD is efficient and it's great to have a guy like him on the team, I totally agree. If the point is that we don't need more than two players capable of hunting their shots and converting at a high rate, I'd still disagree. That puts too much pressure on a system that has lived on high efficiency offense.

First and foremost, the crux of discussions right now are based on how this team will fare in conference and how that will impact this team’s opportunity to reach the dance, again.

The sample size for this year is only 4 games, but we are having a discussion about conference play and how things will pan out. So, we either have the discussion, or we don’t.

That’s not cherry picking, that’s called context. I am comparing KD's conference stats to BW's conference stats, because we have people who think that this team is in trouble. But offensively, everyone is producing more at the current moment. Right now, Drang is putting up a ridiculous ORtg. He is on pace to have far more offensive impact than BW. Ball don’t lie and neither do those numbers. The disparity between Drang’s DRtg and BW’s is quite large. It definitely shows the defensive commitment that is not being given to stopping players from scoring, but Drang’s BLK% is higher and his STL% on par. So, he is playing some defense, and playing some of it better than BW did. One thing I see across the board, is a very high DRtg. One I don’t think we have seen this high in quite some time. With it being that high across the board, it seems to be a team-wide issue.

The numbers don't suggest that we are struggling offensively. Offensive production doesn't tend to go up when you are struggling. We are about 15-20 DRtg points per person from being close to normal in defensive output, though. As I said before, when it's that clear cut across the board, it's a team-wide commitment issue.

Josh is taking shots the way he should, now. When you have Domas, Wilt, and Josh taking the shots they are, you don't need another primary shooter. You need the rest of the roster to figure out how to pick their spots and be supplemental.

GonzagasaurusFlex
01-08-2016, 10:56 AM
I do not know how to do statistical analysis or use stats to determine how good a team is, I just watch a lot of basketball and have for many years so I trust what my eyes tell me. This year's team was very worrisome to me the first 1/4 of the season, there are encouraging signs in WCC play thus far (Sabonis becoming a superstar, Perkins and McClellan stepping up, Wiltjer being Wiltjer); however, I am still not convinced this team can win WCC regular season as the very narrow wins vs Santa Clara and San Francisco do not impress me as much as they do many other board members.

Having said that, I just read the notes for upcoming game vs Portland http://www.gozags.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/010816aaa.html. In those notes, the following stat was cited....and a surge of hope welled up within me! :-)


The 16 total threes against Pepperdine were the most for a Gonzaga team since March 1, 1999 (546 games) and the most in the Mark Few era.

Zagceo
01-08-2016, 11:33 AM
Thinking of you.

http://i914.photobucket.com/albums/ac342/ceo_500/IMG_3362_zpspn9boo0l.jpg

As Padre Tony would say "to be continued" Przemek

Coach Crazy
01-08-2016, 11:46 AM
I do not know how to do statistical analysis or use stats to determine how good a team is, I just watch a lot of basketball and have for many years so I trust what my eyes tell me. This year's team was very worrisome to me the first 1/4 of the season, there are encouraging signs in WCC play thus far (Sabonis becoming a superstar, Perkins and McClellan stepping up, Wiltjer being Wiltjer); however, I am still not convinced this team can win WCC regular season as the very narrow wins vs Santa Clara and San Francisco do not impress me as much as they do many other board members.

Having said that, I just read the notes for upcoming game vs Portland http://www.gozags.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/010816aaa.html. In those notes, the following stat was cited....and a surge of hope welled up within me! :-)

I don't think anyone is really "impressed" with the wins, as some just feel that this kind of thing happens when we go down there. As well, they (SCU) took Arizona to OT. So, I just don't know that you can consider a fairly normal occurrence of a game a trend, when you have two other games outside of that trip that were 20+ point wins? Yes, we have a very small sample size, but it's all we have and people on both sides insist on having this discussion.