Tuesday, February 06, 2007

James wants more alley-oops


"It's fun to get up and down and throw lobs," James said. "I've caught two lobs [so far] this year, and that's a career low. We need to get into our offense quicker instead of waiting until the shot clock is coming down. We've had zero fast-break points in multiple games, and that's kind of unbelievable with the type of athletes we have."
I can't really disagree with that. The players, like everyone else, don't exactly love this 'offense':

``You can hold a team to 42 percent shooting, but if they make enough offensive plays and we don't, you're going to lose ballgames.

``We don't get easy buckets. I don't get easy buckets like I used to in the past. Easy buckets can always help, it doesn't hurt. At times it's fun to get up and down and throw lobs, I've probably caught two lobs this year, that's a career low.''

Brown has attempted to make changes to help his offense. Four games ago, he inserted rookie Daniel Gibson into the starting lineup and has given chunks of Damon Jones and Eric Snow's minutes to Sasha Pavlovic. While no one is looking for radical change, at this point in the season, some don't think it's enough.

``I still don't think it is time to panic, we need to keep an even keel,'' said Larry Hughes, whose scoring average is also down this season. ``I definitely think we should run more, it suits our team. Somewhat, we're trying. I think that we're a much better running team than we've showed.''

The offense the Cavs run now, which often starts out of a 1-4 set, takes time to develop. It can take a while for plays to be run and 41 percent of the time the Cavs don't take a shot until the final eight seconds of the 24-second shot clock. James feels like it often takes too long to develop plays and that it allows the defense to set up to defend him better.

``I think we do a lot of dribbling, when the time is running down, we can't attack, you have to settle for a jump shot,'' James said. ``For the most part, we want to play a half-court basketball game. I'm not saying it's a negative, because we are at times a good half-court team.''

Alright, here's the thing, sure the offense stinks, but I can't imagine Brown drawing up plays that call for LeBron (or Snow or Hughes) to just stand there and dribble for 10 seconds while no one moves. That's on the players. When LeBron was out the ball moved from side to side and the Cavs ran the offense. Too often James holds the ball and stagnates the offense. I don't know if you can really blame the offense on that.

However, getting James some easy buckets isn't a bad thing. I'm not sure what I make of him knowing his alley-oop stats, but he's right when he says he needs more lobs. It seems every time I turn on Denver highlights I see a 'Melo backdoor alley-oop. The Cavs never run a play like that for James, they rarely run anything that involves James moving without the ball.

I'm not sure if the Cavs becoming a 'running team' is the answer (I know everyone loves the Suns, but go look up their record this season against San Antonio, Dallas and Utah). Do they need to run more? Yes. But what they really need is easier baskets. Of course, this involves LeBron going to the post (I always find a way to bring it back around to post play, don't I?) and actually moving without the ball. James can be just as guilty of the 'statue offense' as the rest of them (but he doesn't have an excuse, the other guys are watching a superstar, he's watching an Larry Hughes).

A big part of this whole thing is LeBron's minutes. When he plays 42 minutes a game, there's no way he's going to be running around picks and fighting down low; he's saving himself, he may not say it, but you can tell he's rationing his energy. If the Cavs want LeBron running and jumping, moving without the ball and crashing the boards (I'd like to see him get 8 boards a game, he's 6-8 and strong like bull) then they should be cutting his minutes (under 40 a game is imperative
but you'd like him to be somewhere between 35-38). With Sasha Pavlovic emerging, it should be a little bit easier to find James some rest.


Erik said...

A trade rumor that has been quietly rumbling under the surface has involved Mike Bibby and Ron Artest coming to the Cavs for Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden and Dan Gibson.

Personally, even if the Kings were the worst team in the West, I couldn't see them trading away their two best players in the same deal unless at least one first-round pick was involved. And probably Andy V.

If Danny Ferry can nab Bibby and Artest without surrendering another first-rounder, Andy or Pavs, he will officially become an elite GM in my book. But I'm guessing the chances of a deal like that are slim and none, and Slim's packing his suitcase for the next train out of town.

Erik said...

But I agree with Windhorst: Something drastic needs to happen, either in the form of a trade or in how this team approaches offense philosophically.

Bad Becks said...

I agree with LeBron, I haven't seen so few ally-oops this year from the Cavs since I traded in my Sega Genesis in high school.

Just not as much of a fan of the PS2 Hoops games for some reason.

Ben said...

Bibby and Artest would immediately propel the Cavs to the forefront of the East. That trade isn't too bad, but I can't see the Kings wanting Hughes when they already have Kevin Martin.

I don't know if it's time to make a move, but something does need to change.

As for PS2 games, I'm with ya. The greatest basketball game ever was NBA Live 96 for Sega. You could run the floor all game long, alley oops, give and goes and even the occasional Bill Wennington 3 ball. Greatest. Game. Ever.

BW said...

Ben - great analysis as always and I couldnt agree more (this applies to the brunt of the post IE lebrons minutes, the offense, etc.) I will disagree about the Bibby trade though. Yeah he can dish the rock, but he is a VERY streaky jump shooter not unlike Tony Parker, OLD Steve Francis, and Baron Davis. Granted I would love Tony Parker because of his post game but Bibby is really just a scorer like the aforementioned players.

Im not saying getting Bibby would be a bad thing, but it wouldnt skyrocket us to the forefront of the east. The same goes for Artest. Hes a beast on defense but terribly inconsistant on offense, whether the offense is deferred to him or not. I think the kings realized Kevin Martin is their best player and has become a scoring beast since they implemented him more as their main weapon. The trade just wouldnt make sense because we dont need big name guys; we need big time consistancy. A guy like Kirk Heinrich comes to mind. When he takes a lot of shots his FG% doesnt go down too much. He only has a few really bad (below 38%) shooting nights this year and those came against the best defensive teams in the leauge when he was forced to shoot the ball. I wouldnt be totally against this trade, but breaking up team chemistry and compounding that with a volitile personality like Artest wouldnt do a whole lot of good. Who knows, maybe Drew for Artest could work. I went back to the beginning of january and artest has been playing great as a 2nd man. That would be fine as long as he is only that. About Bibby: maybe his pure point totals would make this trade worth it. He is inconsistant, but I guess 17 a night is 17 a night.

FYI - if we could get Kevin Martin and Bibby, I would run around naked with a bottle of Jack Daniels and vicatin to show my appreciation.

Ben said...

Bibby would give the Cavs, if not a top tier, at very good point guard. A guy who can shoot outside (ya, he's streaky), pass the ball and play some D. Plus, he's hit big shots over the years for the Kings (he was actually the only King to hit big ones) and having a guy like that on the team could only help things.

Artest... sure he's crazy, but he's no worse than Larry Hughes on the offensive end. Plus imagine how many fights the Cavs would get in with a combination of Artest and Varejao on the floor together (Andy is going to get decked at somepoint this year). Also, a trade (plus playing with LeBron) could give the Cavs a year or two of good behavior.