Basketball: Crash the glass, but don’t hit it that hard?

So I was reading this post from RedsArmy.com about the Celtics’ strategy on offensive rebounding, and it doesn’t really make sense to me.

Quoted:

“There are plenty of coaching strategies out there in regards to offensive rebounding. Some teams crash the boards like five Dennis Rodmans while others ignore it like five Mark Blounts. The Celtics don’t exactly ignore it completely, but they don’t seem to make it a priority. Instead, Doc Rivers decrees his team to get back on defense as soon as a shot is being launched. Contemporary championship history proves that this is probably the most effective approach to take.”

“… Doc seems to emulate Gregg Popovich’s methodology, which is to get back and get your defense set up. The champions don’t seem to dominate the offensive glass too much in either the regular season or the playoffs.”

So yes, I get the bit about getting ahead of the fast break and getting everyone ready for defense, but isn’t that basically killing your potential for any second-chance points? Also, it means greater pressure on making the shot the first go. And if your team is in a shooting slump, that’s bad. Very bad.

Oh well. I’m not an NBA coach by any stretch of imagination, and I’m sure the stats prove this theory to be a plausible one.

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Basketball: Transition, and the art of setting a pick

In my earliest days in the secondary school era, I didn’t have the faintest idea on why a pick (or screen) was so important. It was highlighted in the legendary basketball manga Slamdunk, when Akagi set screens for Mitsui to shoot his treys during the Sannoh match, but to me that was about it. Stuff you read about in the comic, didn’t seem to apply to reality that time. I was all into shooting, shooting and more shooting. Until I sprained my wrist, and shooting became a bitch for a few years after that.

So time passed, and I still didn’t do much in the way of setting picks in my poly days of basketball. I was more like get the ball, try to get the ball in period. Less shooting, more layups but that was it. Off the ball, try running around to get the ball. Life was simple back then.

And in my NS days, I more or less maintained the same profile, with a bit of post up added into the mix.

It wasn’t until my days of playing in Changkat, that I realised you could actually set an off-the-ball pick, and get your teammates free. Of course, NZ had been preaching about it over the years, and seeing Alan do it in games made me a bit of a believer. At this point, I had totally swapped roles from forward (sortof) into center, and it was a bit of a major transition back then, to have to undergo an entire change of playing style. But I (sortof again) tried to do what I could, and I think I learnt quite a bit about defending big guys under the basket (thanks to all the constant contact with Shaq) as well as getting shots off under the basket.

Along came Melbourne after that, and I was hit with a variety of opponents. It seemed like I was being randomly assigned to guard people of extreme physiques and heights. I had to guard small quick guys (killers!) and at times, big hulking dudes who were under the basket. I also had to learn how to quicken my step, and guard two guys at once if needed. Or run around to get myself open, and run for the rebound. And most of all, I could drop the low post style I had in Singapore, and return to doing what I wanted to do. I learnt how to make cuts, take mid-range shots, improve my drive to the basket, make steals, dribble better, and most of all? I learnt to set picks.

Setting picks when you are off the ball, essentially is one of the most important things you could be doing. You get your teammates off the guard, and let them have a go at getting a shot in.
You get your ball handler off his guard, giving him a second’s delay in driving into the basket or setting up a shot if he wants to, making it a pick and pop. He could pass it back to you, turning it into a pick and roll. Or he could just drive his way in. A variety of options, opened up by one simple move. A pity not everyone realises why his defender left him open for a layup, or worse – why the hell a screen is being set for him, and doesn’t even bother using it.

I reckon you can do a pick in two ways:

  • Set a pick perpendicular to your guy’s defender close up. That is a little obvious, but helps you to take the brunt of impact when the defender smashes into you. Takes the wind out of you when you get hit, try it.
  • Or, you could set a pick further away, out of the defender’s visual range. The ball handler then drives in your direction, and the defender runs, and smashes into you. Less easily detected, more impact.

Similar, but not exactly the same. It’s funny how I’ve been playing basketball for 13, maybe 14 years now, and these stuff only start to make sense now. Talk about having a very, very slow sense of understanding.

Event photography

Not easy at all, especially wedding AD (actual day) shots. Tough to get to the right spot, indoor lighting is a bitch without flash, have to make sure the subjects stay still (if it is even possible).

That being said, some of the pictures still turned out good. Continuous low speed shots saved the day heh heh, and cropping saved a few more. Case in point:

And I think I look pretty good in this picture. SUIT UP!

V says I look like a client who has just been taken to court. Oh well, it could’ve been worse. And the pic looks a little grainy because of the high ISO, forgot to swap it back to 200 after I exited the church.

(Removed excerpt from recent posts; they now display in full. Makes the blog look a little richer IMO.)

March on!

Yet another month whizzes by in the blink of an eye. My fourth Lunar new year in Melbourne, which passed pretty peacefully as always. (No pineapple tarts, alas!) A pity we don’t get public holidays for that over here, but I got a pretty good break over the Labour Day weekend so that’s a good substitute.

I’m still rooting for the Boston Celtics this season, but they have been on a pretty bad streak ever since KG got injured on the hyperextended knee.

  • Pierce’s not playing too good, perhaps he’s not fully recovered after so many injuries.
  • Ray Allen’s been awesome after the trade, absolutely beautiful jumpers coming off the screens.
  • Rondo should drive and dish more pick-and-rolls or pick-and-pop plays. And yes, start making the play before the shot clock winds down to 6 seconds or less.
  • Perkins should stop shuffling his feet, hold off the dribble after getting the ball and regain his offensive energy; his attacks have been lacking recently.
  • It’s good to see Rasheed going down to the post more often, I love the way he bumps and gets off the glass on his mid-range post jumpers. And he’s got quick hands for good D.
  • Big Baby Davis (BBD) is playing with absolutely sheer grit and energy on those offensive boards, it’s a real pity he got smacked down so many times. Thumbs up to his efforts so far.
  • Daniels is giving consistent performance with his drives and close range shots.
  • Nate Robinson has been an adequate replacement for Eddie House, but I have yet to see much of his drives; it’s more of the long range shots so far. MOAR!

That being said, I’m still pretty certain they’ll make the playoffs; whether they get to the conference finals and the actual finals is another story. We’ll see, we’ll see.

My own basketball has been pretty good, to say the least. I’ve regained the enthusiasm for the sport, and still sort of find myself improving somewhat. On making different plays for different teammates, on improving my drive, on finding my own style in the game. Life is good.

The juggling act that I do for a living continues; balancing daily ops in one hand, and ad-hoc projects in the other. And yes, let’s not forget about the occasional outage every so often. Shit happens, and more often than not I’m the one who cleans it up. And I’ve been in the mood for documentation recently, so that means writing up guides and procedures for our customer service staff, updating network documentation and implementing change management; or rather documenting the various changes that’s applied to the network and systems. In my younger days, I used to think documentation was a massive crock of BS heh.

I took time out last night to update the blogroll as well; removed some sites that I no longer read, and added a whole bunch of daily reads like basketball stuff, manga sites and rearranging the order of the categories so that the frequent reads come up top on the list. Makes more sense to keep the links I use frequently online, so it’s basically accessible everywhere. I should probably get around to updating the Cookie gallery on the sidebar, but I can’t be fcuked to upload pictures to Flickr at the moment. I’ll get to that when I’m in the mood heh.

So yes, that’s how March is looking like. A wedding’s coming up next week so I expect to have updated mug shots of ME! Yes, the downside of being a photography enthusiast – next to zero shots of myself pfft.

Until the next post, cheers.