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With Balbay Gone: 3 Ways to Easy Offense

In light of the season ending injury to the only real point guard on the roster I feel the need to go back to citing Rocky analogies. Again. Certainly coming to an Austin Sports Talk radio show in the next two days no doubt.

I feel like jumping in my ferrari and driving around the suburbs of Houston really fast. I'm hurt. I'm angry.

Just as Rocky had a love/hate thing going with Apollo, my feelings on Doge have always been mixed. But projecting things out while knowing that loveable little Turk won't be on the court has me downright frightened.

Who's going to run the show? How are we going to get easy buckets in transition? Who's going to guard James Anderson? Are the Kansas Jayhawks working out with state of the art Eastern Block weight lifting equipment and using steroids? Moscow, Kansas. Hmmm....

One thing's for sure, there's no easy way out, but here are three ways to easier offense.

1. Maximize Number of Ballhandlers. Number one reads like the dry erase board in Vasherize's bedroom, but if we're talking hoops this is sometimes your only option when you lack a true point guard. Here's a pretty good synopsis of what I'm talking about. It's a philosophy Duke has used with great success this year, and one Texas has the personnel to succeed with as well.

Here's my lineup for ballhandling maximization with a cap tip to Scipio. Bradley, Brown, Hamilton, Johnson, and James.

This gives you 3 plus-ballhandlers and pressure outlets in the frontcourt. The backcourt is a nice complement with two catch and shoot guys. Think of it as basketball played upside down. Your 3-5 spots are going create offense because they're likely the players that have perimeter mismatches. Watch Greg Monroe of Georgetown and notice how John Thompson III uses the talented center to facilitate offense.

Our frontcourt will be looking to penetrate and kick to Bradley and Brown who will have more room to maneuver after rotations than they would being primary ballhandlers. This group also lays the ground work for running iso's and two man games which I'll get to in a second.

The downside to this group is three fold. Defense, rebounding, and decision making are warts you'll need to cover for. We can zone and play with big cajones to answer problems one and two. As for three, it's not like John Stockton is a viable alternative here.

2. Five out offense. Put in a call to John Thompson III and ask him about open post offense. Or we can fly the Milenium Falcon to Dagobah and kidnap Pete Carril. This offense works well with the personnel group listed above, but again defense, rebounding, and decision making may be issues.

With this offense we can manufacture good ball movement because we'll have 5 quick athletes on the floor and we can do things like weaves and dribble handoffs vs. other teams bigs without much pressure.

Spacing will be enhanced because we have 5 solid shooters on the floor who are also threats to put it on the deck, and some versus slower players. We can't be shy about getting to the rim off the dribble, though. Dribble penetration is a staple of this offense. I'm talking to you Avery Bradley.

3. Iso's and 2 man games. Examples of these types of sets are a dime a dozen. It's basketball 101 type stuff. Use varieties of ball screens, back screens, and back cuts for your two man game. Why two man? Because with my personnel group I can pick on your plodding center and your weak defending forward at a time and place of my choosing. Geez, I sound like Dubya calling a small forward a terrorist.

In all seriousness, think about it. I run a ballscreen for Jordan Hamilton with Gary Johnson and I have two mismatches twenty feet from the bucket. If they switch the mismatch is amplified. If they over hedge Gary Johnson is shooting an open 15 footer or he's backing down the guard coming to help.

Or, we can take decision making mostly out of the equation with iso's, most of which come in the form of the 1-4 low. It's a set designed to get your best ballhandler/scorer as much space as possible. In this case it's likely Jordan Hamilton. Jordan starts with the ball at the point while we game our other four players flat along the baseline.

By game I mean run single screens, staggered double screens, or other screening machinations that make defenders focus on helping away from the ball. Jordan blows by the bigger defender or backs down the smaller one. Nothing too complicated.

These are three simple strategies Rick can use to compensate for the loss of Balbay.

Remember, Rick, there's no easy way...there's no shortcut home...there's no easy way out...

Givin' in can't be wrong.