Michigan Offense - Kamar Baldwin

Discussion in 'Butler Basketball' started by MasterSplinter, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. MasterSplinter

    MasterSplinter Active Member

    Like many of you I had some high hopes Kamar would be in the mix for BE player of the year and at least have some draft whispers, mainly because it'd mean we had a pretty darn good season. It's evident he is struggling, but I'm still perplexed as to what is going on. Some say he is trying to force it, playing hero ball, or even possibly playing selfish. It's critical he and the team figure this out as our season is very much dependent on how he plays the rest of the year, especially offensively. We don't seem to be a great defensive team but if we can at least be near average and get Kamar flowing on offense, we still have some mileage.

    Since the Georgetown game there are more comments on the Michigan offense LJ supposedly runs (not sure I actually see us run the Chin or Shuffle sets very often). It makes sense that he would do so, and I don't really fault it as it's proven to be a pretty good offensive scheme. However, I'm not convinced the Michigan offense suits our guard play. We have neither an elite point guard (Michigan had Darius Morris - NBA, Trey Burke - NBA, Derrick Walton Jr. - Euroleague, and now Zavier Simpson - Ohio Mr. Bball) nor do we have a high quality pure 2-guard (wait before you jump on me for this). AT is serviceable and I think we all think he has upside, but he's not the personnel for Michigan offense at least this year. KB might be a better fit for the point in Michigan offense but I think this season is demonstrating he is better without being the initiator of the offense. So where does that leave KB? Should he slide to 2-guard? Would love to think so but he is a) undersized and b) doesn't shoot the 3-ball well enough. So we are left with a couple of guards that are quality players but neither have the complete tool set to play the 1 or 2 in the Michigan offense.

    In the offseason, I and others wondered if Kamar should move to point guard to increase his NBA draft stock. That was ill-advised. I'm not sure what part of his game he worked on in the offseason, but looking back, I'd change my mind and tell him to move all in on 2-guard and become deadly from 3. Combine that with his ability to get to the rim, active defense (usually) and he'd be tough to handle. But his 3pt shooting has regressed which makes him one dimensional offensively and a kind of hybrid guard that is tough to slot into an offense without another scorer (think Kelan Martin).

    I don't have a fix, but our current offense isn't the answer. His numbers this year are pretty bad, especially as he is our highest usg guy. I think moving him more off ball and slashing/cutting would help to get him to his spots better. That means AT will need to handle more and be effective and Kamar has to look for others, especially for open 3's.

    What do you all think? Or maybe he's just not that efficient of an offensive player and we have to accept that? Or maybe we just aren't running the Michigian offense effectively enough to know?

    Some numbers comparing 17-18 to 18-19 (this is from Sports Ref so if others have better metrics feel free to chime in):
    Usg - 25.6%...29.4%
    Ortg - 105.3...98.2 (OUCH! Only AT was worse in 17-18 and KB is worst on team in 18-19)
    Drtg - 101.8...97.0
    OBPM - 2.4...0.7 OUCH!
    DBPM - 3.7...3.5
    3pt % total - 33.1%...28.1%
    bwesson15 likes this.
  2. MasterSplinter

    MasterSplinter Active Member

    BTW, the counter to this is that Beilein created the Michigan offense at D2 LeMoyne specifically because he didn't have talent and they qualified for the D2 tournament the first year they used it. Go figure! Really is a head scratcher how it works as our offense and facilitates/limits KB's skill set.
  3. schoops

    schoops Well-Known Member

    I just look at the length, athleticism, and shooters that we have and think how good this team could have been at running Lickliter's offense.

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Butler Hoops mobile app
    Rufus T Firefly likes this.
  4. Insane Dawg

    Insane Dawg Well-Known Member

    Certainly not having Martin to take the pressure off KB is a big factor. McD, PJ and Baddley don't offset losing Martin. Maybe in time Tucker can take some of the pressure off.
    znelson15 likes this.
  5. Irishdawg

    Irishdawg Banned User

    I actually think comparing AT to Zavier Simpson is pretty appropriate. Both are much better defenders than offensive players, and neither one can shoot worth a darn. I said this in another thread, but I think if Baldwin was more of a catch and shoot guy from three vs. putting the ball on the floor and then shooting it, he'd be a lot more accurate with those looks. The rest of the team for Michigan (especially on the wing) is much better at creating their own shot than what Butler has. Maybe Tucker can get there, but right now he's not great at getting his own shot (he is better than McDermott), and Jorgensen can create a look, but again, he's much better as a catch and shoot option than he is off the dribble.

    I have thought about this as well, but the better versions of those teams had Mike Green, who IMO is the best point guard that Butler's had in the last 15 years. Even without him the offenses were really good, but relied almost entirely on 3 point shooting (way more than this year's team) against teams who did not have the length and athleticism defending them as they do now. Green gave the offense versatility because of his ability to get to the foul line. Before Green, Butler's best free throw rate ranking under Lickliter was 261st (worst was 313th). After Mike Green came in, they ranked 93rd (07) and 164th (08) during Stevens' first year.

    Hinkle's mentioned this in other threads, but this team is awful at drawing fouls and getting to the foul line, which means they're almost completely reliant on jump shooting to create offense. FWIW, Nze, in his freshman season under Coach Jordan had a free throw rate nearly twice of anyone on this year's team not named Joey Brunk. Now he was terrible at shooting free throws, but he'd at least get there.

    What's concerning to me in looking at all of this is that Beilein's offenses have NEVER been good at getting to the line. Considering that Butler isn't going to get the size of athlete that Michigan gets, that to me is problematic if in fact Jordan is trying to mirror Michigan's offensive approach. Probably worth a question to the Coach to figure out if he thinks it's an issue. The bigger issue by far the last couple of games has been on the defensive end of the floor, but to me this is also something that can hold Butler back from becoming the best team they can, both this season and going forward.
  6. dawgs2014

    dawgs2014 Well-Known Member

    I think another question to look at is whether or were trying to fix something that’s not broken. We currently are ranked 38th in the country in offensive efficiency after taking a nose dive the last couple games and were 22nd last year. Defense conversely is ranked 72 this year and 45 last year.
    I think this makes for an interesting discussion topic-theoretical optimization always does-but we just played by far our two worst defensive games of the year (yes, our worst two game offensive stretch too) and I think we possess much greater defensive upside than offensive, partially because there’s diminishing returns when you start from a better place, but also because of the lack of ability to significantly improve offensive skills during the year.

    To engage in your debate, if you can’t change your offensive system to accommodate your players that’s bad coaching. Ideally you recruit to a style that fits how you think is most advantageous to play, but you have to deviate where needed.

    Kamar is not a pg. I’m ready for that experiment to end. I also think Aaron Thimpson missing more shots would be a net benefit to the offense because he’ll attract more attention and that will space the floor so our penetration becomes more effective.

    One thing I’ve noticed is the diminished role of Sean and Paul in the offense. Paul has really struggled inside the arc, shooting 45% on 2’s until the IU game and 27% since. His 3’s have gone from 43% to 33% comparatively too. He’s only shooting about half as much though.

    Through the IU game, McDermott was shooting 46.5% on more than 7 3 pt attempts a game. That’s elite shooter territory. Since then he’s shooting 31% on 4 a game.

    If we’re going to play these guys as many minutes as we do, we need to be getting them more shots. They just don’t offer us a ton if they’re not shooting. The reduction in shots leaves our offense too one dimensional.

    One more thing I noted-Tucker shot 4 free throws against Presbyterian and 6 against Irvine. He’s shot none since. I think he needs to attack off the bounce more and drive with the expectation he won’t get fouled. I think they’re scouting that he’s driving to get fouled and just letting him miss layups.

    Sent from my iPhone using Butler Hoops
  7. Insane Dawg

    Insane Dawg Well-Known Member

    JP and McD are being ignored.
    harvesting likes this.
  8. harvesting

    harvesting Active Member VIP Member

    It’s well known McD’s strength is spot up shooter. You have to pass the ball for that to happen. We have guys who don’t pass the ball. In the last minutes of the IU game how many times did they pass the ball to Sean after he’d already hit 6 3’s? Same against Georgetown he just hit a 3 to get within 6 and they didn’t make the pass again they didn’t even look to make the pass, and it was there. Of the two 3’s JT hit one was an assist from Sean. Whose passing the ball?

    Sent from my iPhone using Butler Hoops mobile app
    Tark43, seadawg and BUcheer like this.
  9. znelson15

    znelson15 Well-Known Member

    To me it all comes down you pg
    To run this offense you need an elite offensive pg
    We may forget Thompson is just a sophomore and at times he is that elite but he needs time and needs to develop
    He isn’t the nba player those other guards were right out of hs
    Also kB has hit a ceiling right now and bounced off that ceiling
    Not sure why but I just take it as he is a silently sneaky second option guy and that is how he thrives and he can’t be that in this team
  10. TheDawgDub95

    TheDawgDub95 Well-Known Member

    The 2nd half of the DePaul game is the first time I saw the ball moving like this offensive scheme requires. Before I get too excited, though, I have to remember that two of the shots came from AT (glad he took and made them in rhythm but we need to see this more to feel confident it can be replicated) and Tucker took a couple of pretty bad shots that happened to go down, ala nights when PJ is hot. Those were the types of shots I saw Tuck missing in the one practice I watched that had me worried.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Butler Hoops mobile app
  11. Baddog

    Baddog Well-Known Member

    Interesting pre-game article in The Star this morning prior to St. John's game. Focus on Baldwin. Here's a couple of quotes from Coach Jordan regarding Baldwin:

    - "You don't want him to be passive, Jordan said, because he needs to be aggressive and assert himself."

    - Jordan has encouraged Baldwin to be "shot ready" when open from behind the arc. (Shooting .289 from 3. Thought....maybe instead of being "shot ready" Baldwin might want to look first and see if one of the other players on team is open closer in or on the arc....since there are a few who can shoot it much better from the perimeter.

    Not that there was ever any question about it, but Baldwin's hero ball antics are directly related to and encouraged by Jordan. If you've been scratching your head all season long on why Jordan allows Baldwin to do it, especially since it has been counterproductive and taken the other players out in so many games, the answer is that the coach wants it and encourages it. Confirming this, the complaints about Baldwin's selfish play should probably ease up a bit. This is what the head coach wants to see. So in actuality, many of the complaints about individual players and their play should probably be tempered somewhat as well.

    Is any player being placed in a position to really maximize their real talents on this team? No, since it appears Jordan is more concerned with getting up the first open shot available, from anyone, rather than valuing each and every possession and working for the best shot. Do we run plays (like we once did for Archey) to get a guy like McD open, or even Tucker or Jorgensen? High / lows, inside / out? It's just kinda get what you can in this free flow offense.

    Inexperience. Really? Numbers and stats? Simple eye test alone is enough here. So we score a lot of points so why complain about the offense? Team is a grossly underachieving 11 - 7. Not a great defensive or rebounding team. Would seem to make sense to emphasize and play to OUR strength (offense) in that we might want work for the best shots (limit the rebounds) and also minimize the other team's possessions (ok but not great defense). Jordan's up tempo, take-it-when-you-got- it-even-though- we-can-get-better-shots offensive plays right in to the hands of the opponent on most nights. False sense of "turning the corner"....a game like DePaul when almost everything went in in the second half. Masks so many other shortcomings.

    Players do need criticism, but make sure that criticism is directed in the right place. Still maintain there is plenty of talent (and experience) on this team to be top five in the league and maybe a little tournament run.....if coached up. Sure as hell not holding my breath for that to happen.
    bmradio99 likes this.
  12. Irishdawg

    Irishdawg Banned User

    Offense is #29 in efficiency. Defense is #73. Maybe improvement on the other end of the floor is where you should be focusing your "analysis". We get it. Jordan is the worst coach in human history in your eyes. FWIW (and I know this won't mean much since it doesn't agree with your post above), Butler's offensive efficiency has actually been equal or better on average under Jordan than Holtmann, Stevens and Lickliter. Defense is where the team has the most room for improvement.
    jal8908 likes this.
  13. jal8908

    jal8908 Well-Known Member VIP Member

    I die a little inside every time I read the term "hero ball"
  14. met_man

    met_man New Member

    This right here. I have to agree.

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