Putting on my Pop hat for assessing my offense early in the season, I thought I would focus on shot selection. Shots go in and shots don’t. If your team is in a shooting slump, you can’t panic and change the offense. You need to be acutely aware of whether your players are executing your offense and whether they are taking good shots. That, as a coach, is what you can control. You can’t control whether they go in or not.
In addition, the Spurs offense has been struggling. I thought I would try to assess whether or not things were all that different.
Therefore, I decided to chart whether the team got a good shot off on each possession. Not whether they scored, but whether or not it was a good possession. I defined this as “a shot that I thought Pop, in general, would be ok with the team getting”.
The criteria was: anything at the rim, a generally uncontested shot in the paint, or a jumper taken not under pressure with the feet set. If Tony comes around a screen and steps into an open 17′ jumper, then that is a good shot. If Tony comes around a screen and is leaning or fading on a direction, then that isn’t a good shot. Turnovers are never good possessions.
I also thought it would be good to track the conditions of the good possession. I broke these up into a matrix similar to my transition defense tracking. There are three types of possessions: Fast Break, Transition (a mismatch was created), and Set (played against a set defense). There were three distinct conditions: After Stoppage (made basket, turnover out of bounds, time out), After Missed Shot, After In Play Turnover.
I did this for three games. You can see the results here. Those three games just happened to be against terrible defensive teams: at Cavs, at Wolves, Nets.
NOTE: I skipped the fourth quarter of the Wolves game. The Spurs played without a point guard and it was a blow out. I also skipped the last 2+ minutes of the Nets game when garbage time officially started.
Cavs: In the Cavs game, the Spurs had 62 good possessions out of 91.
- 62/91 = 68%
- Of those 29 bad possessions, 116 were turnovers
- The Spurs killed the Cavs in transition. They had 23 out of 25 good possessions when they get out and ran.
- Against a set defense, the Spurs were only 39/66 on good possessions.
- The interesting thing to me is that the bad possessions against the set defense were balanced throughout the quarters: 7, 7, 6, 7.
- The Spurs shot 47% in the game and 5-16 from 3-pt
Overall, I thought the Spurs — minus the turnovers — ran pretty good offense in this game but didn’t make shots.
Wolves: The Wolves suck. At least, the team they put out in this game sucks. And it showed. Again, these are through three quarters.
- Overall, the Spurs had good possessions on 55 of 73 chances.
- When the Spurs got serious in the third quarter, they had good possessions on 21-24 attempts. Two of the bad ones were the last two possessions. The other was a turnover.
- Do you remember how sloppy that first half was? The Spurs had 15 bad possessions in it.
- When they got out and ran, they got 22 out of 24. 12 of those 24 were in the third quarter.
- 10 of those 12 in the third quarter were off misses.
Nets: The Nets are a veteran team. Very old. They also don’t run at all.
- The Spurs were 67 for 86 in this one. An extremely good 75.2%. 15 turnovers accounted for most of the bad possessions.
- The Spurs got out to a great first with 21 of 25 including 6-8 in fast break/transition.
- The second quarter was even better with 19-22. The most impressive part is that 16 of 19 were against the Nets set defense.
- For the game, the Spurs got 16 good shots on 19 fast break/transition possessions.
For the three games, when the Spurs got up court and ran, they kill teams:
- Cavs 23 of 25
- Wolves 22 of 24
- Nets 16 of 19
- Total: 61 of 68. 89.7% of the time the Spurs get a good shot.
Most of the bad possessions that ended in a shot were when Kawhi or Tony went iso and took tough jumpers.
The Spurs just kill teams with Boris in the block. They get a great look damn near every time.
We are missing a TON of wide open looks. Especially Kawhi. His rhythm is shot right now. He’s got body parts going in every which direction.
Check out this picture. That’s Kawhi on the far left. Of everyone. He got a breakaway dunk. His effort and speed and general “know where the hell to be” is off the charts and might be unmatched in the league.