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Why Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol Reject Mike D'Antoni's Proven Small-Ball Blueprint

Kevin Ding

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#1 Tensai

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Posted January 23, 2014 - 06:03 PM

By Kevin Ding , NBA National Columnist

MIAMI – No one wants to believe his best days are behind him, and it’s unfair just to portray them as dinosaurs, but in one clear sense, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are living in the past.

 

Bryant, Gasol and the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t even a ripple in the bay waters that the Miami Heat are navigating in search of a third consecutive NBA championship. The teams meet Thursday night, with Bryant still waiting for his fractured knee to heal, and Gasol hoping to get lots of simple post-up plays because he sees the Heat’s lack of height and girth and concludes: “Attack their weaknesses.”

 

Instead of admitting that the Heat’s consecutive titles in 2012 and ‘13 stand as proof of the ultimate validity of the Mike D’Antoni-crusading concepts of floor-spreading small ball, Bryant and Gasol remain clearly opposed to it.

 

They have their reasons—one being that they won their championships with a heavy emphasis on post-up play, another being that D’Antoni never came close to winning them that next championship last season.

 

Although it remains a fantastic mystery as to what would’ve happened with the 2012-13 Lakers had Phil Jackson and his triple-post offense been hired, there’s no mystery about what history shows:

 

The Heat’s titles sprung from Erik Spoelstra learning—the hard way in the 2011 NBA Finals against a Dallas Mavericks team led by a certain blond outside-shooting big man—that an open floor with smaller players made Miami more of a team.

 

Read rest: http://bleacherrepor...-ball-blueprint



#2 Real Deal

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Posted January 23, 2014 - 06:58 PM

"D'Antoni basketball" =/= the Heat's offense. That's all that needs to be said.

#3 Japago

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Posted January 23, 2014 - 07:02 PM

It's actually not the same. The Heat push the ball only when the opportunity presents itself.

 

Miami is 23rd in pace this season, was 23rd last season, was tied for 14th in 2011-2012, and 21st in 2010-2011.


Edited by Japago, January 23, 2014 - 07:03 PM.

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#4 Tensai

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Posted January 23, 2014 - 07:47 PM

"D'Antoni basketball" =/= the Heat's offense. That's all that needs to be said.

Well to be fair, Ding didn't compare them in all aspects. The main idea was "Going small vs. big"



#5 CaliforniaSoul

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Posted January 23, 2014 - 08:19 PM

Going small is fine if you have the team for it.

 

Last season the Lakers clearly didn't have the team for it but tried to do it anyway and they failed. LeBron is a once in a generation player, too big for 3's to guard and too fast for big guys. It's a lot easier to go small when you have someone like him on your team.

 

Bombing threes and going small can work with the right team. It's not always the best strategy, though. 

 

And the Heat don't play D'Antoni basketball. Their defense is one of a kind in today's league and they play in the lower half of the league in pace.



#6 Thanatos

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Posted January 23, 2014 - 08:23 PM

I'd like to see Miami go up against Shaq or Duncan in their primes. We'll see how well small ball works then.


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#7 Majesty

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Posted January 23, 2014 - 08:24 PM

I'd like to see Miami go up against Shaq or Duncan in their primes. We'll see how well small ball works then.


I'd like to see Rick Fox trying to guard LeBron James and see how it works out too. 


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#8 Ven

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Posted January 23, 2014 - 08:32 PM

Well to be fair, Ding didn't compare them in all aspects. The main idea was "Going small vs. big"

 

Which PJ himself openly criticized whatever transformation is going in the NBA.



#9 Majesty

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Posted January 23, 2014 - 08:36 PM

Want to see how far the league has gotten away from big man ball? 

Name the starting centers for the eastern and western all-stars. 


Is Wayne Brady gonna have to Djokovic? - Robert Flores


#10 Clutch Factor

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Posted January 23, 2014 - 08:39 PM

Want to see how far the league has gotten away from big man ball? 

Name the starting centers for the eastern and western all-stars. 

 

I wouldn't use the All-Star game as a comparison basis. Centers are basically useless in the All Star games. They literally just want to shoot 3s themselves.



#11 GCMD

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Posted January 23, 2014 - 09:28 PM

LOL...terrible comparison.

 

Heat go small because they don't have a BIG that is worth a spit in the post.

Lakers go small to push the ball.

 

Heat have talent that transcends a system.

Lakers have talent that is literally on it's last leg.

 

If the Heat could afford a legit BIG, they'd post up more.  Even with the BIGs we have, we just don't have the talent (healthy or young) to grind it out in the half-court.

 

So that's the reason both teams go small...



#12 FranklinPeanuts

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Posted January 23, 2014 - 10:50 PM

Want to see how far the league has gotten away from big man ball?

Name the starting centers for the eastern and western all-stars.


Forget that.... Name me all the centers on the league. The league has changed so much, there aren't that many true centers. These kids want to run and jump, but have no low post skills and terrible footwork. O miss the David, Hakeem, Alonzo, Patrick and all back to the basket/ protect the basket centers.
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#13 Ven

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Posted January 23, 2014 - 10:55 PM

I think if Miami were to play with a big that actually played it traditionally as far back to the paint, roam the paint, taking up space in the lane it would negatively affect Lebron's game.



#14 RobBlake

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Posted January 23, 2014 - 11:05 PM

i think it's a trend. There will eventually be a trend of great centers imo


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#15 Ven

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Posted January 23, 2014 - 11:08 PM

Don't a lot of these issues emerge from the rise of AAU basketball?



#16 Real Deal

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Posted January 23, 2014 - 11:25 PM

Well to be fair, Ding didn't compare them in all aspects. The main idea was "Going small vs. big"

That's probably worse, because in that case, that would be like me comparing Shaq and Dirk, since they are both seven-footers.

 

Kobe and Gasol don't reject the idea of "small ball" as much as they do a fast-paced offense.  Those two won a couple of championships without having to pound the ball into the post...the triangle wasn't constructed through Gasol like it was Shaq.

 

But when you come in as a head coach, you're supposed to have an idea as to what your team can do on both ends of the court.  Kobe, Nash and Gasol were not going to run...probably would have been against it back in 2008, also, despite their age.

 

You can play small, and run effective half court sets (play slow).  Miami does it.  That's not D'Antoni ball...not even close, so Ding even mentioning the two, in any comparison he makes, is a mistake.



#17 DanishLakerFan

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Posted January 23, 2014 - 11:55 PM

Want to see how far the league has gotten away from big man ball? 

Name the starting centers for the eastern and western all-stars. 

I think this whole small-ball oriented league is completely exaggerated. Outside of Miami, whose unique in every way, all other contending teams these past few years are built with solid big men.

Spurs, Memphis, Chicago, OKC, Golden State, Portland, Indiana, Clippers, NY, Boston, Brooklyn, Lakers etc.

 

The thing that's changed is the PF position, where you dont have a lot of "classic 4s" anymore (like Z-bo), as well as the C position that's been quite weak compared to earlier. Also, teams are shooting more 3s. But that's not small ball.

 

MDAs Suns were a small-ball team.

 

Also, if you're going against Miami, you're not going to beat them by playing their game. You have to go big.



#18 kball

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Posted January 24, 2014 - 05:25 AM


I'd like to see Rick Fox trying to guard LeBron James and see how it works out too. 

28/8/8  like he averages against pretty much everyone all the time would be my guess.


Praying for 1. Kobe's Health (looks pretty good so far), 2. High Draft Pick (Randle...injured game #1.*sigh*) 3. Miracle Trade (Not yet), 4. Quality Free Agent (Boozer, kind of, Davis, nice upside!), 5. Brilliant Coaching Hire (Byron!...but the jury is out)

 






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