Film Room – Offense: Movement vs No Movement

The Roundball Mining Company Film Room is back!  Today we are going to compare the Nuggets offensive execution against Oklahoma City in the second quarter to their offensive execution at the end of the fourth quarter.  Maybe there is a reason why they struggle at the end of close games.

The film does not lie.  Free flowing offense getting shots in the lane versus standing around and awaiting the inevitable horrible shot.  I have no idea why they get away from what works in an attempt to do things the way everyone else does.  The devotion to iso heavy stagnant sets with one player who is not suited for the role tries to play hero is baffling.  Surely over his long and illustrious coaching career George Karl has picked up a few nice plays to run in that situation.

What is interesting is the group that was moving so well was comprised of players who most fans would expect to struggle to score.  It looks to me like they could teach the starters a thing or two.

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  • Greco21

    When roundballmining hands out Grades it often states that it is not based on stats. Koufos as you can see works really hard for his teamates even if sometimes he disappears from the stat line. I personally believe that GK makes a great mistakes when he has him, Farried and sometimes Mozgov standing in the weak side really down the low post. Birdman does that (play low post in the weak side) also when he is in the game but he has great awearness on when to come front and dunk.(usually after a guard beats his opponent with his dribble).

    Koufos is great at setting picks, or making cuts. Lurking in the weak side with Koufos or Mozgov is like attacking with 4 players and hoping for an offensive rebound or tip at best.

    I also rarely see inside out game or consistent post plays.

    In general GK does not have a half-court strategy.

    Great video and great analysis. Keep up the good work!

    • Ernie

      Hastings brings this up all the time, but K2 and Moz are the only guys that set real screens. The others all do the “slip” screen, which is really a fake and does not work unless you are doing real screens most of the time. At the end of games (when K2 and Moz don’t play) the screens don’t happen which makes the lack of movement worse.

      • russscot

        Unfortunately, slipping screens is part of Karl’s philosophy, so it probably won’t change any time soon

        • Ernie

          I’m not saying eliminate the slip screen. But they only work if you set a real screen most of the time so that the defense worries more about the ball handler and the screener gets open. If real screens are set 75% of the time those slip screens will become much more open for layups as the defense has to respect them. When it’s 75% the other way you get a clogged offense.

    • Charlie

      I agree to a certain extent but Koufos is still learning how to get involved in the offense. I’m not sure you can blame Karl for never calling a play for him because at this point he doesn’t hit jumpers and he does not draw fouls at the rim. Koufos needs to get a little confidence in his jumper and be ready to take them (I specifically remember in the OKC game a shot clock violation occurred thanks to his unwillingness to shoot). Koufos was actually a perimeter player in college so I’m fairly certain he has enough talent to be a reliable shooter.

      I am not bashing Koufos; the guy has been much better than I expected even in limited minutes. I think he’s a limited offensive player right now who needs to get more aggressive and hit the offensive boards. That’s why I’m sort of hoping when the team’s healthy Faried will take some of Koufos bench minutes (since we all know Al Harrington isn’t getting his minutes reduced). Faried’s offensive rebounding alone makes him more valuable to the offense than most of the other bench bigs.

      • Greco21

        Do not blame Kosta for quitting his perimeter game. Blame Jerry Sloan. He wanted a Greg Ostertag type of Center. He had Fesenko and Koufos went to the weight room. In the short term that hurt his career big time. His minutes got really limited in Utah. In the long term it will turn out good for him although he has to go a really tough way to find minutes.

        In any case when he plays it is better for him and the team to do something else than to be on the weak side trying to catch a pass or force his way for an offensive rebound. He is much better setting picks and facing the basket. Slipping on screens works better for Al, Bird and Kenneth. Moz and Koufos should throw their body. It is really tough and intense for the defense to fight through picks.

        Last but not least i totally agree that Kosta does not find his way to get in the foul line (the refs though are not really good with non-stars) more often. He should wear off opposition centers. He should also work really hard to react better in traffic, especially after he grabs that offensive rebound or when he catches the ball below waste.

        P.S. To be honest when he was traded to Denver i was really disappointed. I thought he would never get minutes but it seems that it was not just a salary cap move.

  • al68

    Respecto al comienzo de temporada ademas de hacer menos FB, el movimiento de balon es nulo, Lawson nunca ha sido un play maker él es un penetrador y eso se nota mucho. todo balon que llega a Afflalo se ralentiza siempre amaga una entrada y despues pasa el balon toda ventaja se suele perder, si es que la habia.

    El problema es que el único jugador que da juego es Miller y no defiende nada y es demasiado lento.

    Aún así no es extraño la forma de jugar de los equipos de GK siempre ha sido buscar el aro con penetraciones y doblar el pase, ademas de los FB.

    Como no vivo en Denver y estoy fuera de todo lo que se comenta allí, creo que teníamos demasiadas espectativas, ahora mismo el equipo sin el mejor defensor Nene y el mejor atacante Gallo, por lo menos ultimamente le estan echando ganas.

    Para conseguir mejores tiros necesitamos un base de verdad. Por ejemplo un jugador como Calderon con un equipo con buenos tiradores podría dar facil 11 asist. pg, y ya da casi 9 en toronto.

    Afflalo y Lawson creo que estan sorevalorados.

    • Ernie

      No entiendo la Lawson, penetrando pertenece jugadas. Creo que sólo tiene que buscar su disparo primero a dibujar la defensa, y entonces será más fáciles lograr las pasadas.

      • al68

        No siempre se puede penetrar y el p&r que hacemos muchas veces no sale entonces es cuando tiene que moverse mas rapido el balon ytambien los jugadores, buscar espacios. Porque desgraciadamente el basket moderno se basa en el p&r y no en los sistemas el movimiento de balon y de jugadores, pero eso es mi manera de ver el baloncesto.

        Desde que ganaron la NBA los Pistons de 1989, la ofensiva en baloncesto es bastante patetica solo pick % roll y poco más.

        Me gustaría volver a ver jugar a denver como al principio de este año, para el baloncesto mas bonito de los últimos años, muchos FB muchas asistencias y open shots.

      • al68

        Sobre Lawson quiero decir que es un jugador unidimensional, solo sabe penetrar y pienso que eso es bueno para un base suplente que te cambie el ritmo del partido que desatasque los partidos dificiles, como jugaba cuando estaba Billups.

        Billups= inteligente sabía dar el ritmo adecuado en elmomento adecuado.
        Lawson= IQ muy limitado no sabe decidir en los momentos decisivos ni dar confianza al resto del equipo en estos momentos.

  • Ernie

    Would it help if the fans chanted “Run a play” at the end of games?

    • Andrew

      Buen idea!

    • TheWolfman

      I scream this at the Nuggets bench all the time during the fourth quarter. My season tickets are close enough to their bench that I know Karl and the bench have to be able to hear me. It hasn’t worked yet, but maybe if more people join in we can get through to them!

      • Kalen

        That’s awesome. Keep it up. The world needs more fans like you.

        • TheWolfman

          Glad that someone thinks so. You’d be surprised at the looks people give my buddy and me for cheering/yelling loudly at key game moments. Seriously, why buy tickets if you don’t want to join in the cheering?!

  • Andrew

    The clips are a little choppy for my tastes, there, Scorcese. However, your point is excellent and your work ethic unquestioned.

    For the umpteenth time, thanks to Jeremy for the hard work!

    I love Ernie’s idea of the fans standing up at the end of a close game and chanting something like “GEORGE KARL, CALL A PLAY!”.
    At the very least, he’ll hear it and get irritated, which is something. I also like “WE WANT KOUFOS! WE WANT KOUFOS!”

    • Jeremy

      Ha ha, yeah, the quality is not good, when I heard the audio after I finished it, I was shocked at how bad it sounded. It was far too late to re-record it though. I will take care of that in the future.

      Thanks for the compliments. I am have my antiquated equipment set up now and hope to do more of these.

      • ParkHillNative

        Awesome, I love the film room stuff, I always learn a lot. Looking forward to more.

  • Andrew

    So, we have “WE WANT KOUFOS!” and “CALL A PLAY!”.

    I’m trying to think of short chants to get across the other good ideas that people have posted here:
    1) Small ball is ok in limited quantities, but not all game and especially not at the end of the game when the play has slowed to a crawl.
    2) We like Miller, but please sub Stone in for him on the defensive end at the end of close games.
    3) When Nene and Gallo get back, please do not relegate Faried back to the bench. We know he makes mistakes, but he more than makes up for them with his tenacity and rebounding prowess.

    Maybe people should make signs, too, just in case the chanting is not clear to Karl (and Masai).

    • TheWolfman

      Possible chants?

      1) “BACK TO TALL BALL!!”

      2) “STONE-FENSE” – I admittedly don’t like this one

      3) “MAN-I-MAL!”

      • Kalen

        “STONE THEM” maybe?

      • LEEDS

        I like Wolfman’s idea, but how about something like this:


        • al68

          small ball tiene que ser una opcion puntual no algo habitual sobretodo cuando nuestros PG no son superstars (Williams, Rose, or Paul)

      • Andrew

        Ha ha. I like “BACK TO TALL BALL!” (We should combine it with LEEDS “NO MORE SMALL BALL!”) and “MAN-I-MAL!”

        The Stone one needs work…maybe “LET’S GET STONE(D)! LET’S GET STONE(D)!!” Won’t happen, but if the PA Announcer would cooperate and play one of the following stanzas to the the old Bob Dylan song, the crowd would go nuts and could sing the chorus (“Everybody Must Get STONED!”) I know hat the original song is about, but look how well some of the lyrics read for a defensive specialist like Stone:

        They’ll stone you when you’re trying to be so good
        They’ll stone you just like they said they would
        They’ll stone you when you’re trying to go home
        They’ll stone you when you’re there all alone
        But I would not feel so all alone
        Everybody must get stoned

        They’ll stone you when you’re walking on the street
        They’ll stone you when you’re trying to keep your seat
        They’ll stone you when your walking on the floor
        They’ll stone you when your walking to the door
        But I would not feel so all alone
        Everybody must get stoned

        They’ll stone you when you’re at the breakfast table
        They’ll stone you when you are young and able
        They’ll stone you when you’re trying to make a buck
        They’ll stone you and then they’ll say good luck
        But I would not feel so all alone
        Everybody must get stoned

        Well They’ll stone you and say that it’s the end
        They’ll stone you and then they’ll come back again
        They’ll stone you when you’re riding in your car
        They’ll stone you when you’re playing your guitar
        Yes But I would not feel so all alone
        Everybody must get stoned

        Well They’ll stone you when you are all alone
        They’ll stone you when you are walking home
        They’ll stone you and then say they’re all brave
        They’ll stone you when you’re sent down in your grave
        But I would not feel so all alone
        Everybody must get stoned

    • dynamo.joe

      “Small ball is ok in limited quantities, but not all game and especially not at the end of the game when the play has slowed to a crawl.”

      I would pay many monies to here the fans chant the above.

  • mysteried

    How much discourse (if any) do you guys think exists between the RMC and GK/Front Office. Do they read this? Is there any dialogue whatsoever between us and them?

    I know that they would ignore the RMC whenever we’re shouting for Karl to be fired or three players to be traded after a bad game, but these kinds of strategic concerns (real half-court play calling, less small ball, defensive subs, etc.) are much more sophisticated and reasonable.

    Do you guys think that GK or the FO would hear/respond to some kind of formal request? If, for instance, we sent them a petition saying something like “200 of your most dedicated fans at the RMC have signed requesting that the Nuggets experiment with the following: less small ball, defensive subs at the ends of games, non-iso movement-based offensive sets in crunch time.” And then we could offer some reasons and some data to back up these requests.

    Is this idea off the deep end? Feels really silly to have to appeal to an NBA team like they’re a congressional representative, but it might just turn out better than endless venting amongst ourselves. It probably has a super-low chance of success, but it would at least let them know that a bunch of their hardcore fans and b-ball heads think that the strategies have to change. These strategic failures are just out of control.

    • Jeremy

      Are the Nuggets aware of RMC? The answer is yes. I have been told in the past at least one person on staff read it, although that was a while back. Press credentials are somewhat available and I need to further pursue that. At that point we may be able to address this question with Karl directly.

      As far as a petition, I do not think it means anything to the team. In 2009 Andrew at Denver Stiffs stated an online petition to resign Bridman and had hundreds if not thousands of signatures. Did that impact the thinking of the front office one bit? I seriously doubt it, but it was a great show of support from the fans that the team was 100% aware of.

      I suspect the thought process is in a tie game the worst thing in the world is to miss a shot and give the opponents time on the clock to win. The easiest way to control the clock is to have one guy hold the ball and shoot in the last two seconds. For Denver nine times out of ten it results in a wasted opportunity. As a coach how can you not have plays prepared for various scenarios? A play for 4-6 seconds on the clock, one for 6-8 seconds and so on.

    • Kalen

      I wouldn’t put it beyond the realm of possibility. If you do the work and put in the effort there’s a good chance someone will take notice. We already know the Nuggets brass pays attention to Nuggets-related blogs, but I’m not so sure if Karl would. Judging by his old school philosophies, I’m not even sure if Karl knows the Internet exists.

      We could write some kind of formal proposal and make a post out of it, but if you really want to take it to the Nuggets organization as a document in hand, that’s a different story. If someone — say, a fan — would be willing to do it, I’d be willing to compose the letter with suggestions, although I’m not so sure RMC wants to be associated with trying to tell the Nuggets how to run the team. We try and stay at least a little bit humble around here. :)

  • jeff

    U dudes need another hobby,u really think any nba team or coach is going to start changing philosophy because of a few nugget fan-boy key board warriors,lmfao,really guys?

  • jeff

    Also,do any of you seriously think you know what’s better for the team then coach Karl,if you do,WAKE UP and get a GRIP! Your ego’s are out of control,I love armchair quarterback’s or in your case,QUACKS!

    • LEEDS

      hey jeff, I know, we must be all crazy to have a different basketball philosophy than the current head coach. I like to use our height more but since I am not coaching, I have to watch karl put in a small lineup in the fourth and then watch us get outrebounded and lose a game…

      but hey, I am sure my opinions are “stupid” to you, but guess what, the coach and I are tied in NBA championships…so his basketball concepts are as good as youwould make them out to be

      • LEEDS

        so his basketball concepts are NOT as good as youwould make them out to be

    • Andrew

      Jeff, sounds like you are the one that needs a another hobby, if you are not enjoying this one very much.

      The whole point of these blogs is to log on and share your comments regarding the team, whether they are supportive or critical. Just because Karl is an NBA basketball coach, does not mean he is flawless as a coach. So, of course, the people who post on here believe they have ideas that could be useful to Karl. That’s not the same as saying anyone on here thinks they could take over and do a better job than Karl. Also, nobody really expects the Nuggets to listen, but it is still fun to talk about ways to get our points made. Not sure why this is such a sore spot for you (unless you are related to Karl), but this is just diversion, man. Entertainment.

  • Daniel

    Just because George karl beat cancer, he thinks he can coach however he wants. He lost us this game tonight. Al Harrington can’t even hit a free throw, throwing up bricks all night while Jordan Hamilton 4-5 from downtown is sitting on the bench the entire 4th quarter. GK needs to get over this b.s. rookie bias crap and start playing the guy who is hot that night. Oh now he brings him in for faried…al buckets still in there. ughhh. good job al buckets, way to secure the rebound for an easy dunk for Deandre Jordan. I do not like george Karl, he cannot coach. There is a reason Ray Allen, Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Carmelo Anthony, etc, didn’t like him. The nuggets will not go anywhere with George Karl at the helm.

  • james

    My guess is GK is just trying to find that go to guy, and the only way he can do that is actual real game situations. Unfortunately. I know that is a stretch seeing as how moving the ball was much more affective.