The tip-in by by Marcus Morris to beat the Wizards raises a lot of questions about how they closed a game that they once trailed by 16 in the third quarter only to lead at the end. The Detroit Pistons won 113-112 Saturday, but it was the last offensive possession that's worth being looked at again.
Coach Scott Brooks wasn't asked about it postgame, but given the shot John Wall took he should've been.
Had the Wizards gotten two points, the only way Detroit beats them is with a three-pointer which is much easier to defend. Instead, any shot beats them.
Unlike when Wall made the first game-winner of his career Jan. 10 vs. the Chicago Bulls, this wasn't the same situation. He took a jump shot in that game, and he was being contested by a 7-footer, but that was a much better look.
Andre Drummond is playing so far back and Reggie Jackson is aggressive in getting up on Wall to get around Markieff Morris' screen. Drummond's containment is there and Jackson is locked and trailing. But they completely ignore Morris. If Wall makes the pass, the Wizards have multiple options here. First, Morris has a wide-open three that could make it a two-possession game. He was 2-for-5 from deep. If Drummond steps up to close out Morris, he's easily beaten off the dribble and to the rim. If Wall drives all the way with Jackson trailing, the likelihood that he gets a whistle on any contact is rare in this situation. It's a low-percentage shot. The better option to get Wall 1 vs. 1 with Drummond or take Jackson out of the play is to pass back to Morris and reset. Wall can execute a dribble-handoff as Morris effectively acts as a screene. Wall would be going into the paint at full speed grabbing the ball. He'd be stepping into a jump shot or catching Drummond squaring up and unable to contest. If Drummond were to step up, that's Morris' cue to dive to the rim for the cleanup of a miss in a size mismatch with Jackson. More likely, Jackson sticks with Wall to double-team him and Morris could get a late delivery at the rim for an uncontested shot. Who knows how Detroit adjusts, if at all, but the result here is a stepback, low percentage jumper that's a tough shot even for the likes of Kyrie Irving. It bails out the defense rather than re-applying the pressure.
This was the winner Wall made, the first in his career, in a 101-99 win over the Bulls on Jan. 10. The backstory here was the Bulls continually switched on pick-and-rolls as long as Marcin Gortat set a solid screen on Michael Carter-Williams. That left Wall vs. Robin Lopez. But also look at the spacing of the floor here vs. the previous example. There are three defenders on the strong side vs. Detroit. In this one it's 2 vs. 2. There's a lot of room for Wall to operate and even though he still takes a difficult shot he's going to his strongside when it comes to taking pull-up jump shots -- his right. Lopez has no help and is playing so deep, Wall is able to get the needed separation and fade to drain it with five seconds left.
Brooks always talks about not caring about who takes the final shot, be it Wall, Beal, Morris or Otto Porter -- all of whom have done so this season. It's about the best quality shot that goes to the taker's strength.
When the defender is 0-2 feet from Wall when he's taking a shot more than 10 feet away from the basket, his accuracy is 21.4%, according to the NBA's SVU data. In fact, when he's defended in this situation he only takes that shot 1.9% of the time, an indication that Wall knows this isn't his comfort zone.
Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 23, 37 days before the NFL franchise tag deadline.
—NFL free agency starts 45
—NFL Draft 94
—First Sunday of 2017 season 230
Staying in house
—There are reasons to dislike the hire of Greg Manusky as defensive coordinator but the notion that he got the job because he is buddies with Jay Gruden really doesn’t hold water. They had no connection prior to last year and with them working on opposite sides of the ball they didn’t work side by side. I’ve heard the two have a friendly relationship but it’s not like he’s out of the Tampa Bay Yacht Club or anything.
—I know that everyone is obsessed with yardage rankings, which is a pretty weak indicator of the quality of a defense. Since you want to know, in Manusky’s nine seasons as a defensive coordinator his defenses have finished ranked 18th in yards allowed on average. In reality, Football Outsiders’ DVOA is a more accurate measure of the effectiveness of a defense since it takes the strength of the opponents into account. There isn’t much difference there, Manusky’s average DVOA ranking was about 17. In other words, he’s run middle of the pack defenses. Sure, you'd like them to do better but having a defense that's around average would represent an improvement over most of the last seven seasons.
—How has his talent been? Three different players have been first-team All-Pro selections. LB Patrick Willis made it three times, S Eric Weddle and DE Robert Mathis once each. Players under him made the Pro Bowl 13 times with Willis (3), Mathis (2), and DE Justin Smith (2) making it more than once. His defenses had three Pro Bowlers on one occasion when LB D’Qwell Jackson, CB Vonta Davis, and S Mike Adams all made it. That year the Colts defense was ranked 11th in yards and 13th in DVOA.
—It remains to be seen how much the Redskins will change schematically. Manusky has run both 4-3 fronts and 3-4’s so the Redskins could make a switch. Even if they go with a 3-4 base the unit is likely to be more aggressive than it was under Joe Barry. Some fans seem to be worried that promoting an assistant coach means that things will be done the same. Let me ask you this: If your boss was fired for not getting the job done and you were promoted into his position, would you do things the same way he did? I didn’t think so.
—There will be continuity on the offensive side of the ball as Matt Cavanaugh is going to get moved into the offensive coordinator job. It’s Gruden’s offense anyway so there would not have been much change even if they had brought someone in from the outside. It seems likely that Gruden will call the plays, although we won’t know for sure for a while. The only immediate question on that side of the ball is if Wes Phillips will stay on as the tight ends coach or if he will follow Sean McVay to Los Angeles. That should be resolved over the next several days.
Tandler on Twitter
This was in response to a tweet saying that Kyle Shanahan is likely to get roster and personnel control when he becomes the head coach of the 49ers.
Not sure it’s a good idea to give a first-time head coach personnel control but, hey, the 49ers know how to do it right. https://t.co/VR8yKf6fEo— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) January 22, 2017
In case you missed it
- 3 reasons why promoting Matt Cavanaugh makes sense for 'Skins
- Redskins promote Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator
- 3 reasons the Redskins hired Greg Manusky
- Garcon shows he's more than possession WR in 'Skins 6th best play
- Poll: What is your approval rating for the Manusky hire?
- Report: Redskins talking to Cavanaugh about running offense
- Manusky only the first step for the Redskins
- Is Gruden on the hot seat?
- Redskins hire internal candidate for defensive coordinator