[Versus the Wizards, Deron Williams takes the double screen and dribbles in an 'S'
around the hedging defense as the four rolls and options open at the hoop.]
The ball screen defense of the Wizards against the New Jersey Nets was sub par, to say the least. Also, Deron Williams is good. Nothing new.
“He just comes off pick and rolls good, and if the big is not there to show or help, he can pick you apart any type of way,” said John Wall when asked what made Williams so hard to defend. “He started making tough, contested shots, and when an All-Star player like that starts making tough, contested shots, there’s nothing you can do.”
A trademark of a Flip Saunders offense has long been exploiting the mid-range game for his wing players. This aspect of the game can be hard to master (especially considering shot location), but also tough to defend. Furthermore, working the middle gives a team good options to either create closer to the basket or beyond the three-point line (given that the intended mid-range shooter is also a willing passer). One thing Jordan Crawford hasn’t been able to grasp just yet is the mid-range game, at least not like Nick Young.
Maybe Crawford’s mid-range ability will come, but considering the progress Young made last season, his second under Saunders, the time for Crawford to advance might be warranted more sooner than later. Consider these stats:
Critique of the NBA often surrounds the narrative of one player dribbling around then shooting. But when you have a 20-year old athlete whose combination of speed and size is already superior to most at his position, you take advantage of his one-on-one skills. And when that player loves to pass and relishes in the assist while always being a threat to score, it’s called basketball. Flip Saunders is a basketball coach and he often knows exactly what to do with John Wall.
Spread sets usually seem reserved for late-clock situations, and mostly true for the instances in the video below. Still, with Wall they can be implemented at just about any point of the game, depending on his surrounding personnel and the defensive match-ups the Wizards might want to exploit, of course. This clip of four plays all occurred in two games against the Golden State Warriors and Utah Jazz on the Wizards’ late March west coast road trip, and all came with around 70 seconds or less left in a period. Let’s watch…
Earl Watson, Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis… Sure, intimidating defenders they are not. But also, this is the NBA. Not many rookies can make these moves look so easy — an attack of the rim through trees, finding Yi Jianlian for a bounce pass in the paint, throwing the perfect lob to JaVale McGee, getting to the rim through a big man, making the basket, drawing a foul, and finishing with a muscle flex.
So the Wizards preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers is not on television tonight. This is something I believe I was aware of (as I received the press release indicating that Comcast SportsNet would broadcast 80 regular season games and three preseason games — the October 28 season opener in Orlando and the November 25 game in Atlanta will be exclusively broadcast on TNT), but still, realizing it this morning made me say … “damn.”
And evidently a lot of others are wishing they could watch John Wall and the Wizards tonight too. Ratings for the first preseason game went through the roof, via the DC Sports Bog, leaving many, some on Twitter today, hungry for more.
But sometimes the advertising dollars just aren’t there for preseason games — not one Washington Capitals preseason game was televised this year. Everyone expected Wall to have an impact, but if they knew he could bring a 55-percent ratings increase over last year’s regular season average for a measly preseason game, I’m sure more television arrangements would have been made … albeit, other games might not fetch the same as a debut.
In any case, both home preseason games (October 12 versus the Hawks — the return of Etan Thomas! — and October 14 versus the Bucks — the return of Earl Boykins!!) will be televised. Otherwise, for the rest of the preseason slate, you’ll have to rely on the soothing voices of Dave Johnson and Glenn Consor on 106.7 The Fan, which you should also be able to hear online (note: the Oct. 17 preseason game versus the Knicks, that will be broadcast live on 1580 AM).