Topic 8 – Analyse


After observation of the team during games and practices, the data gathered throughout that process must be analyzed.  Analysis is also required in real time during games, such as adjustments to opponents strategies.  

In-game analysis and adjustments occur before post-game analysis.  Within a game there are certain matchups that could help your team.  Usually a matchup is defined as two players who are guarding/being guarded by each other for different stretches throughout the game.  Different matchups give coaches opportunities to discover and analyze strengths and weaknesses both within a matchup, and a matchup by matchup basis.  Within each matchup each player has strengths and weaknesses compared to the other player.  For example, a tall, lanky, skilled player would have an advantage on jumpshots, or on a fastbreak, over a shorter, stockier player.  In the half court set, slow paced game, around the basket, the stockier player would have the advantage.  Based on the flow of the game, a coach can decide whether their players have an advantage within their matchup.  If the coach determines a player does not have an advantage, they can then look at other matchups for a “switch.”  When switching a matchup, a coach would swap a normal matchup of position on position ,such as point guard vs point guard, with a different position.  For example, maybe the shooting guard is at a disadvantage to the opposing shooting guard, the coach will have him switch with a more capable player.

Another aspect of in-game analysis would be mismatches.  Mismatches occur when your team is on both defense and offense.  On offense, it is in a coach’s team’s best interest to hunt a beneficial mismatch.  There are many ways to gain a favorable mismatch.  The most common is through a pick and roll, the ball handler drives to the basket off the screen, forcing the big man to guard them, and therefore switching the opposing point guard onto the center who sets the screen.  This simple action creates two beneficial matchups for the offensive team.  Other than a pick and roll there are many ways to get a mismatch, such as off ball movement, and set plays.  Mismatches also have an impact on defense as well.  For example, there are many ways to counteract the mismatch described above.  One way would be to have a three-player switch in which one of the wing players switches on to the big man who sets the screen, allowing the smaller point guard to stay on the perimeter.

Offense: Pick and Roll, Get the Mismatch Clip:

In this clip, Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team (blue team) uses the screen to drive toward the first defender on the white team, putting pressure on the defense and forcing the switch.  Once he has the switch, a positive mismatch for Luka, he isolates and attacks.  The wing defender helps, allowing Luka to find the open man. The mismatch created from the pick and roll created a positive play for the Mavericks (Blue team).

Defense: Pick and Roll, Three Player Switch:

In this clip, Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets NBA team (red team), a small point guard, almost gets switched onto Sabonis of the Indiana Pacers NBA team (white team); the big guard.  To avoid this mismatch, Carmelo Anthony of the Houston Rockets NBA team (red team) drops down from the perimeter to Sabonis (white team), allowing Chris Paul (red team) to stay on the perimeter.  While not perfect, the Rockets avoid a very bad mismatch by having this three player rotation.

With this information in mind, it is important that coaches take in everything in moderation.  They must decide whether or not to reinforce or modify matches and mismatches they see throughout the game.  It is important for coaches to find a balance.  It could be confusing for players if a coach is too erratic, and having them change the defensive or offensive strategy every time down the court.  Being too inflexible could also be bad for the team.  If a player is constantly becoming exposed on a certain play, by a certain opposing player, or by a certain move, repeatedly, then the coach could make an adjustment that would benefit the team.  “Everything in moderation” could be a good way to think about in-game adjustments.

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