Video breakdown: The Good, Bad, and Ugly vs Butler
Let’s separate that Butler game, which left many Purdue fans with a sour taste in their mouths, into three clichéd categories: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
Videos after the break, click that beautiful “Continue Reading” button below to watch em.
THE GOOD: AJ Hammons sparked our last good run
AJ Hammons got into a little foul trouble in the first half, but it looked like Coach Painter wasn’t too upset with him. In fact, after an early second half foul, Coach Painter seemed happy with Hammons’ aggressiveness and clearly encouraged him as he went to the bench. Painter got Hammons back in the game with around 15 minutes left…and he was a beast. The two videos sequentially highlight that great six minute stretch, from the 12 to 6 minute marks of the second half.
Offensively, Hammons was very assertive and fought for position against smaller defenders. The first play is the ideal-version of our new offense: space the floor with threats in the corners, and find a clean pass to Hammons in the post. Terone’s entry pass is on-time (even if it’s a little off-target), and Hammons goes straight up without that unnecessary extra dribble. Hammons’ quick move to the basket capitalizes on his undersized defender being off balance. In the second play (0:05), AJ gets the ball a little further from the basket than I’d like, but that baseline fadeaway hook was gorgeous.
THE THIRD PLAY (0:11) GOT ME UNREASONABLY EXCITED. Carter swings to Peck, who can’t find a clean passing lane in to AJ. Peck takes a subtle side-step (veteran move), giving AJ just enough room to work, and then makes a great cut to the basket while his defender shades towards the ball. AJ hits Peck in stride (made possible because AJ is massive) and Peck draws the foul. My only complaint: if AJ keeps the ball high (doesn’t bring the ball below his shoulders), he makes a better pass to Peck and gives him a legit and-one chance. The last two plays are very similar to the Peck/Hammons give-and-go, but Hammons has a little more room to work and gets two great looks (even though he misses the second). The chemistry between Peck and Hammons is fantastic, and more of this would be wonderful against smaller lineups.
The video above shows Hammons’ defense during this same six-minute stretch…and it’s tremendous. The first play starts with Hammons doing a poor job boxing out after Butler’s perimeter attempt (something nobody on the team does well…another spotlight for another time) but makes up for it by recovering very quickly, staying vertical, and forcing Eric Fromm into a travel. Next, AJ shows off just how absurdly large he is. Seemingly without much motion, he covers the inbounds passer and saves an easy layup on a well-executed play by swatting the ball into the first row. Detractors on twitter called this a showy play that gave the ball back to Butler…but what I saw was a defensive rock who covered the defensive mistakes of his teammates (Carter massively overplays his man, and Terone just freaking stands there). Finally, AJ had his patented fantastic-footwork-in-semi-transition block that seemingly happens at least once a game and appears in this space every time.
Also should be counted in The Good: Bryson Scott. Though he was often too concerned with bullying his defender and didn’t spend enough time looking for a pass, he got to the basket well and was active on defense. Good game overall, and one of three players I’d grade favorably in this game (Hammons and Carroll being the others).
THE BAD: Unforced errors
Terone Johnson finished with 6 turnovers, and most of them were of the infuriating variety. The first section of the video highlights some sloppy drives from the brothers Johnson, turning good point-scoring opportunities into Butler fast breaks. Then we look at TJ’s inbounding indecisiveness…leading to Butler fast breaks. Then we see some laaaaazy perimeter passing and horrible movement from Ray Davis (4 turnovers and an all-around bad game), Basil Smotherman (stuffed his stat line in garbage time), and Bryson Scott……..leading to Butler fast breaks. And, to top it all off, we see another poor entry pass to Hammons lead to a misused possession. We gave Butler way too many easy opportunities while Hammons went on his great run, and it hurt us in the end.
THE UGLY: An Unbelievable Meltdown
Hammons punished Butler’s lack of size just prior to this clip, but unfortunately the game’s last 6 minutes featured an awful meltdown that cost us any hope at our first Crossroads Classic victory:
I covered the details of this kiss-of-death stretch in Saturday’s postgame write up, and might have an aneurysm if I have to delve into the details of that video again.
Absent from this breakdown: Ronnie Johnson. The only video clips I have are two terrible defensive plays and one fast break. So...it would be nice if our starting point guard came to play.
My takeaway: This Butler loss wasn’t the end of the world (the Bulldogs aren’t a mid-major anymore, and are very solid this year), but it was a game that was well within our grasp.
Dowd addressed some legitimate concerns about Purdue’s lack of a signature win, and zlionsfan did a great job highlighting our non-conference shortcomings, so I’ll counter with positivity (though I agree with many points they brought up): last year through 11 games, our team was agonizing to watch, had a 5-6 record, no identity, zero chemistry and no shot at a tourney bid. This year, we have kids that represent the program well, are entertaining to watch (generally speaking), and have a legitimate identity as an inside-out team…even if we have significant consistency issues. Last point I’d like to reiterate: It’s clear that, through 11 games, Coach Painter accepts that this roster won’t benefit from a Gene Keady/Bobby Knight-style motion offense. With huge post threats committed to this program for the next couple of years (Hammons, Simpson, and 2014 commit and 7’2” monster Isaac Haas), it should be clear that the motion-style that brought us success in the past isn’t suited for the present. Now…this doesn’t mean players should just stand still while the post man works *coughTERONE*. It means that movement and spacing should open up our first and second options in the paint (drive-and-kick or swinging around the perimeter to look for post entry passes).
Plug of the day: BoilerBall.com, an interesting site for visual college basketball stats. Keep in mind that their post-game grades seem to be based purely on a simple box score (not pace adjusted, doesn’t reward non-stats defense, and punishes volume shooters), so frame those results within the context of the game. But still…it’s pretty cool.