Jokic, Denver, Howard Beck discussed on The Lowe Post

The Lowe Post


With jokic on the floor, at least. And their offense is going to travel has traveled. It's going to be playoff ready. It's fine. 16th in defense and slumping right now is not going to be good enough. And jokic is a big part of that. I said, just last week with Howard Beck, I don't want to hear from these people who are like, yo kitch is actually a really good defender. I said he's average or worse. I know what my eyes see. He's average or worse. I think he's probably average in the aggregate. The playoffs isn't the aggregate. The playoffs is like one bad matchup and you're out. And so all the aggregate stuff doesn't really matter that much. And I do think one interesting thing about their defense is and one reason why I think there's some curiosity how it holds up in the playoffs is the two ends of the floor interact, right? And I think one of the reasons why Denver has been able to hang around the top ten in defense for part of this year in parts of some previous years is their offense is so goddamn good. They get to set their defense every time. I'm looking at the numbers today, cleaning the glass has them 26th in points allowed per possession in transition. Bad about that bad off of defensive rebounds by the other team and turnovers both. Right. And some of the other numbers are a little less sort of dramatic than that in other places. But the idea that if it becomes harder to score in the playoffs, if their offense, which is, let's say, 98th percentile now drops to 85th percentile in the playoffs. Is just that enough to imperil their defense. What do you think of that? And someone who as someone who just watches this team every game, when you're going to be watching these next 15 games and saying, I want to see signs that this team is dialing it in on defense. What do you watch for? I mean, that's a really good question. First of all, I want to go to the transition defense even off of just missed shots. One theory I have with this because this has been a trend with the nuggets for a while and one theory I have with it is Denver part of what makes them so dynamic on offense is they're so good at forcing switches and they're so good at taking advantage of those switches. Jokic is too big for the guards and the wings and then you have players Aaron Gordon, who's too big if you put a guard onto him or this or that. But if you don't score, you're often mismatched in transition the other way in Denver is especially bad guarding out of position as well. Jokic has to guard a guard. That's a really tough matchup for him. So I wonder if that's part of it, trying to come up with a theory of why is it that Denver's numbers are so different from made basket versus not. And I have a suspicion that's at least part of it. But what I'm looking at. That's interesting. That's a good thought. I think that last night's game against the Brooklyn Nets who, by the way, I love Brooklyn. I think they're such an interesting team to watch. But I think it was one of the most, if not the single most interesting game for trying to predict what are going to be the challenges for the nuggets in a postseason because they made their run in the third quarter when they went very small. Claxton picked up I think his fourth foul, they brought in Dorian Finney Smith to guard jokic and just said, hey, we're going to switch absolutely everything. And they hard doubled yoga trying to keep the ball out of his hands and as soon as he caught it, they sold out completely daring for anybody else to kind of go at them, not letting jokic make the passes out of there, but put them in position to where he just had to get the ball out quickly. And I think that's going to be the smartest strategy for Denver. Did Denver score a lot absolutely, but jokic had to guard the pick and roll on the other end every single time and be out on Spencer Dinwiddie. And last night, Brooklyn made their shots. So what am I looking for? I'm looking for Denver to be more dialed in and more effective against those type of lineups because they're not the type of lineups that I think beat most teams, but they're specifically designed to make Denver they're most vulnerable. So Denver's the closest thing Denver has to a base pick and roll defense is they've concluded for the most part. We can't hang jokic back at the rim like brook Lopez or embiid or the embiid blitzes now more than he has in the past. But these big guys who just, let's hang back in the paint and protect the rim. He's not a good enough leaper. He's not a deterrent at the rim, the nuggets are 29th in field goal percentage allowed at the rim. A lot of that is about you'll catch. Okay, so if we can't do that, what do we do? What is Nicole I like to do? Okay, he wants to attack the pick and roll higher on the floor. You and I have talked about this a lot. Just a listeners who know this. He's good at it. He's got pretty smart feet. So let's get him if the screen's at the three point arc, let's get him up to the arc, put two on the ball. And make the defense figure or make the offense figure it out from there. What makes me nervous about that strategy is teams with a lot of shooting and passing are going to get good shots against it a fair amount of time. And when I watched the nuggets, especially lately in this slump, that first pass to the rolling big man, it was claxton last night. It's been vucevic in recent games, hurdle. They're letting that pass through two easily. And once that guy gets the ball, it's a four on three, and it's easy picking. It's just a matter of what your choice is. And we saw what the sun's two years ago and I know everybody was hurt and campazzo and Austin rivers are starting ours. I know. But they had a ton of shooting. They moved the chess pieces around and interesting ways that really elongate the rotations behind those two guys on the ball to the point that you just can't these two shooters are separated by 25 feet of space. You can't guard both of them with one guy. I don't know, so the Denver's answer to that is with Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter junior on the wings where gigantic with

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