Can Anyone Here Pass the Ball?
posted at 1/2/2014 11:41 PM EST
Not They Shall Not Pass. This group ain't the Spartans, that's for sure. These guys CANNOT pass.
People can talk about shooting all night long, but when you're passing the ball out of bounds, or to the other guys every other possession then you're going to have to shoot twice as well to make up for it.
Not to mention the momentum-killing effect such dunderheaded passes have.
It is impossible to be a good team and pass the ball poorly. But if you can pass the ball well (see Chicago tonight) you can be a weak offensive team without your All-Star PG and still play well.
And if you have really good players you can be the Spurs, old as they are.
There's probably no more valid indicator of basketball IQ than passing skill. It literally demands anticipation, vision, hand/eye dexterity, timing, deception, execution, and good old-fashioned quckness of wit.
So to me it's no coincidence that the second unit frequently plays better/smarter than the first team, especially when Sullinger is with them. Pressey, Olynyk, Humphries and Wallace are alll better passers and see the floor better than the guy they come in for.
Jeff Green apparently thinks that his idea of the required speed and crispness of a pass, which is to say 3/4 speed and casual, is the NBA norm, and he seems forever surprised when such passes become turnovers. Tonight he couldn't extend himself to even catch two wing passes that became turnovers.
Brandon Bass really cannot make a pass under even token pressure, nor see nearly any play developing ahead of time.
Avery Bradley appears congenitally unable to make even basic, sensible plays by passing the ball, to wit, Maxwell tonight noted the same thing, saying, "And you just saw an Avery Bradley assist."
Of the starters that leaves Crawford and the aforementioned Sullinger. Sullinger is a good, potentially great passer.
Crawford can occasionally make a great pass, but mostly the ball sticks to him even when he's trying to pass it. There's a deadly lag in time between when the ball needs to get out of his hands and when it actually does. Sometimes he adds a quarter body turn and then passes across himself; sometimes he loses a quarter tic turning the ball over on his high dribble; most times it's just slow except when he makes the occasional quick strike. He gets 5-6 assists a night, but he's not a clean ball-mover. There's a noticeable difference between the way ball moves when Pressey's at the point.
So maybe the whole starters/bench equation should be reworked to put at least 3 passers on the floor instead of 3 "scorers?"
And who's the guy teaching Green, Lee, and, especially, Bradley to pass one-handed?