This is a continuing series spurred by this quote from Avery Johnson:
“More than anything, we are going to have a system. The system is going to be laid out from game one. How we play pick and rolls. How we function in transition defense. How we close out, and how we play the post. There isn’t going to be a gray area.”
Part 1: Pick And Roll Defense
The Nets’ transition defense may have been the worst aspect of their defense last year. According to Synergy Sports, the Nets ranked 26th (the worst ranked aspect of their defense) in transition defense allowing 1.2 points per possession on 60.2% shooting. With how bad their transition defense is, there are going to be some changes that need to be made, and I think we can look at Avery Johnson’s Dallas Mavericks to see what those changes will be.
As the shot goes up, look at the rest of the Dallas Mavericks. They are all positioned on the perimeter, and instead of crashing the boards they decide that it is not worth it and they make sure to get back on defense. This is something the Nets didn’t do a ton of last year. You had guys like Courtney Lee or Terrence Williams crashing the offensive boards hard, even if there wasn’t a chance to get a rebound. This often lead to a lot of fastbreak opportunities. It seems like Avery Johnson doesn’t want that. I feel like he is going to tell his guys, “You got a chance to get the board? Great, go after it. If not, get back.”
Steve Nash gets the outlet pass, takes one dribble and looks to kick it ahead. This is where the key Avery’s post defense takes place. Under Avery Johnson, the Mavs liked to pack it inside the three point line and wait for the offense to come to him, instead of running around and trying to find their man. You didn’t really see that with the Nets last year. There wasn’t really any trust among the Nets players, and that lead to guys trying to find their man instead of just getting back then finding their man.
As Leandro Barbosa, makes the catch, he wants to quickly attack the basket. He can’t though because there are two Maverick defenders ready stop the penetration.
So instead of Barbosa getting a wide open lay-up, he is forced into a contested one that he misses, allowing for the Mavs to get the rebound. Here is the play in real time: