Video Breakdown: Holiday Edition
Videos! Gifs! Pictures with giant red arrows! I know I’ve left you without any posts for way too long, and I promise to make up for it. The last Video Breakdown was right after the Butler game, and with all due respect to UMES….yeah I’m not going to rewatch that game. So, for today’s Video Breakdown: Holiday Edition, let’s focus on the last four games: at West Virginia (W 73-30), vs #3 Ohio State (L 78-69), at Minnesota (L 82-79), and vs Nebraska (W 70-64).
As always, videos and gifs are after the break. I hope a jam-packed video session starts to make up for the weeks I’ve missed. Later this week I should have a few Swamy Spotlights to post (and they might focus on a pair of brothers in our backcourt). Watch as many of the videos as you like, let me know what I got wrong in the comments below, and enjoy.
1.No, seriously, AJ Hammons could have easily had 25-30 points in the Ohio State game.
“I think I played OK. It was just too many turnovers for me, and then I didn’t finish at the basket. 6-for-16, that’s just horrible.” That’s how AJ Hammons characterized his 18 point, 16 rebound performance against Ohio State, and judging by the video, he’s right. Ohio State’s biggest post presence was Amir Williams (6’11”, 250lbs), but he was really no match for Good AJ. Offensively, Purdue made a point to get AJ post touches on early possessions, and he started with a great seal on Williams leading to two confidence-boosting early points (aided by a nice Ronnie Johnson entry pass). Soon after, he hit Ray Davis with an assist out of the post, hesitating for a half-second to pull Aaron Craft away from RayD. But then we see where he left points on the board. RJ’s weird no-look entry pass to Hammons left him in bad position, but AJ’s footwork and length gave him a bunny of a layup…which he missed. If you continue the video, there were 6 easily-convertible looks which Hammons missed (along with a beautiful pass from AJ to a cutting Peck for…two missed layups). All in all, Hammons had a great game, but it could have been dominant and pushed Purdue passed a top-five team to start Big Ten play.
Hammons’ good performances this year come when he establishes deep post position, or goes into his post moves without any extra dribbles or hesitation moves. Here are a few examples from all four games:
AJ has great footwork and dexterity when he’s fresh off the bench (or, as we armchair-analysts infuriatingly say, “engaged”), and he can usually juke post defenders out of their socks if he shows no hesitation immediately after getting the ball. Take this strong-as-hell move from the OSU game:
Or his great awareness of this lazy West Virginia defense as he calls for a lob from Terone Johnson:
Even though AJ missed on that OSU move, I want to see him absolutely abuse defenders like that. There’s no one in the Big Ten with the size, strength, or foot speed to challenge Hammons when he’s a beast like this…the only thing that can slow him down is his conditioning.
2.Purdue aimlessly passing the ball at the top of the arc, then settling for a terrible three-pointer or turning the ball over will cause me to destroy countless innocent remotes in fits of uncontrolled frustration.
I only put one example from each game, because if I strung every bad, wandering possession from these four games together it would cause every BS reader to spontaneously explode. Three out of the four possessions (WVU, Minny, Nebraska) were against zone, and who could have known zone defense has confused Purdue for a solid decade? The Ohio State possession was a prime example of RJ trying to take over the game himself, only to turn the ball over. The Minnesota clip is Bad Bryson at his ugliest…fumbling away most of the shot clock and hoisting a prayer. The Nebraska clip was hilarious, because you can see Coach Painter’s clear exasperation as he calls a timeout in the middle of the possession because we’re going to fall into the same zone-related trap as we have all year.
I’m going to end this section right now, because if I continue writing I’ll find myself drinking a gallon of lighter fluid.
3.Basil Smotherman: The Baseline Assassin
This nickname (coined by BTN’s Stephen Bardo) needs to happen. It’s unique, glorious, and perfectly fits Smotherman’s weapon of choice. This minute-long video of Smotherman destroying the dreams and ambitions of opponents by owning the baseline is only from the past four games. I may or may not be compiling clips of Basil’s baseline obliterations to “Bassline” by (known-douchebag) Chris Brown.
Girls like Basil’s baseline.
4.Defensive lapses happen too often
Too often, Purdue’s perimeter defenders (who had high expectations this summer) get caught staring at the ball instead of watching their man. In the first clip, Kendall Stephens gets completely lost after a Minnesota offensive rebound. His lack of awareness leaves Sterling Carter to defend both of Minnesota’s perimeter players, allowing for a pretty easy three pointer. Looking at the WVU play, Ray Davis shows us the definition of “matador defense” as the ball handler drives right past him. Instead of setting his feet and getting in the ball handler’s path, RayD simply side-steps out of the way (olé!)…but keeps his hands up five feet away from the ball for no apparent reason. The next sequence against Nebraska is another example of poor defensive effort, with Terone Johnson getting caught lazily following his defender’s cut.
Instead, TJ should have recognized the situation and clogged that passing lane. Or, he could have closed out on the wide open shooter. Or, he could have called out a switch to Jay Simpson, who’s feet have been coated in cement for the last month (more on this in a future post). Instead, TJ doesn’t really do any of that. Luckily for us, Nebraska’s Walter Pitchford missed.
The second half of the above video shows where we have been susceptible to a variety of interior cuts (much like the Sienna post on helping the helper). This is caused by a lack of awareness and communication on the weak side of most plays. If all five players are vocal, communicate on switches, and keep their head on a swivel when we double the ball, these mistakes shouldn’t happen. Unfortunately, they occur far too often.
Purdue has shown this lack of communication/awareness during inbounds situations:
That first play against WVU…oof. Let’s take a look at a freeze frame:
Both Sterling Carter and Basil Smotherman are chasing after the same guy, leaving Smotherman’s man wide open. It looks like Smotherman thinks they’re switching on everything and Carter wants to stay on his assignment, and I’m not sure who is right (we usually switch when matchups are favorable, but I’ll side with Carter’s basketball IQ on this one). This could be avoided by (you guessed it!) Smotherman calling “switch!” as he abandons his man. Instead, WVU gets an easy layup…and misses. Thank goodness, because Jay Simpson wasn’t about to challenge the shot.
Next, we got burned twice against OSU within a three-minute stretch. In the first clip, just watch Hammons. I’m usually touting his defense, and truly think he already has elite college defensive instincts…but he’s basically a statue on this play. Seriously, I don’t think he moves until the ball goes through the net.
Let’s freeze-frame the last play of this sequence:
Peck gets taken out of the play off a sneaky screen, and both RJ and Hammons should recognize this. RJ should hedge and take away the driving lane, while keeping a hand extended towards his assignment. Hammons should (less aggressively) contest the lane without jumping, ready to ‘help the helper’. Instead…nobody moves. Purdue allows an easy layup.
Though it’s slightly discouraging to see a 2-2 record from four competitive games, there are lots of things Purdue can build on. I’ve heard some complaints that this roster is “unwatchable” and doesn’t garner much excitement…but if you’re a big enough Boilermaker fan to put up with last year’s dismal effort, you should be able to support these guys. There are spots where criticism is absolutely warranted (and Coach Painter isn’t above reproach, as BoilerDowd summarized effectively here), but the beginning of the season isn’t the time to completely give up on these Boilermakers. Remember…this isn’t football. It’s easy to say that Purdue “needs to win X game” here and there, but no singular loss eliminates tournament hopes, and talented teams have the capability to put together a four or five game stretch of exciting wins. I believe seven Big Ten teams should be locked in to the tournament, and five of those spots have been bookmarked for MSU, Wisconsin, OSU, Iowa, and Michigan. Two teams from the Illinois-Minnesota-Purdue-IU tier will be fighting for those last spots, and I think our guys have a great chance.
Purdue plays at Illinois this Wednesday at 9pm (on BTN). Rayvonte Rice is listed as day-to-day, which is huge for our ‘upset’ chances. I think we steal that win. Let’s do this thing.