Breaking Down Andrew Bogut's Tip-In

Sebastian Pruiti did a quick breakdown of the Bogut tip-in last night over at NBA Playbook. Again, more than anything, I believe this was just a really, really, really good play by the Bucks. Luc Mbah a Moute’s pass was picture perfect, Brandon Jennings set a great screen and even though Jeff Foster was able to recover and challenge the finish, Andrew Bogut simply elevated and guided the ball through the hoop with precision.

You couldn’t draw it up any prettier. And you probably couldn’t replicate the execution.

Pruiti does take issue with the defensive strategy, however, primarily questioning the team’s decision to not either (a) play zone, or (b) put the 7’2″ Roy Hibbert beneath the hoop to protect the cup.

the Pacers didn’t think it was important to protect the rim with their big man.  Jim O’Brien would much rather have him on the basketball trying to bother the pass.  Now, I agree with the philosophy of having a big man defending the inbounds pass when it is obvious that the inbounder is going to make a pass to a shooter on the outside.  There, a center’s length can bother the pass, cause the pass to be off the mark, and maybe force a miss.

But when it is painfully obvious that there is going to be a lob play (less than 1 second left), why do coaches insist on having their centers play 45 feet away from the rim?  Their reasoning is that they want to bother the pass, but do centers really have that much of an effect?  Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings both said they practice this play every day, and presumably the same guy is practicing the actual pass over and over, so is a center there really going to effect him?  I personally think that a center standing at the rim (remember, because the ball [isn't] in play, defensive three seconds isn’t a factor) bothers the pass more than if he [is] covering the inbounder.

In this situation, I understand why Jim O’Brien would put Foster, a guy who is theoretically the team’s best one-on-one post defender, on Bogut. But with 0.5 seconds left, you do know that they are probably going to try a lob. If the ball is likely headed to the rim, Foster’s better quickness at fighting through screens is less important since Roy could easily just stand closer to the rim and “play the ball” more so than the man. Why not just plant him below the hoop and let Hibbert volleyball spike away any pass that may be headed towards the rim?

Devil’s advocate part two, however, are we really sure that, even this season, Roy can be trusted not to foul there? Foster stayed with Bogut and challenged the shot — he just couldn’t elevate with the Australian. But he did manage not to foul, which is pretty major there.

Ultimately, this is a play that probably won’t work more than 10% of the time simply because everything has to go perfectly. By fouling while trying to protect the rim, you allow them to win the game without everything going perfectly. That would probably be even more heart-breaking. At least this way you can dop your cap to the opponent and say “Fantastic work, sir” rather than kicking yourself.

Also, I have to think that putting a 7’2″ guy in front of the passer can potentially disrupt the pass more so than putting a 6’10″ guy in front of him — no matter how many times the guy has practiced the throw in an empty gym. Maybe putting the smaller Solomon Jones on the inbounder has the same effect, but I think it’s just good strategy to put one of your tallest guys on the ball. One more way to help ensure everything doesn’t go perfectly.

I do like the zone idea though, I think.

Maybe next time they can try that.

And then when the inbounds pass goes to a guard on the perimeter and he hits a Derek Fisher-style prayer, we can question the logic of not protecting the outside.

In conclusion, helluva play, Scott Skiles.

UPDATE: Henry Abbott of TrueHoop talked about this play with basketball smart guy David Thorpe, who was mostly perturbed with the fact that Foster was sticking too close to Bogut even before the screen, as if the proposition of the 7-footer catching and shooting from 18 feet was a big threat.

I called David Thorpe to ask him what he would have had Jeff Foster, Hibbert’s replacement, do on this play. It’s tough to keep a seven-footer like Bogut from getting a hand up by the rim.

His response is that Foster made a glaring error in his starting position, before the ball is even inbounded: “The whole team looks more concerned about the catch-and-shoot. See how they’re hugging their guys, all over the court? The last thing you want to give up is a seven-footer — and not just any seven-footer, but a former top overall pick — at the rim. He’s hugging Bogut 18-feet from the hoop, but what’s the threat there? The real threat is at the rim.”

Foster made himself easy to back-screen, because it was clear the whole time exactly where he would be — attached to Bogut. And the screen prevented him from having the freedom and timing to elevate and meet the ball.

Food for thought.

Tags: Andrew Bogut Brandon Jennings David Thorpe Henry Abbott Jeff Foster Jim O'Brien Luc Richard Mbah A Moute Roy Hibbert Scott Skiles Solomon Jones

  • Nadir Zaidi

    To those of you that watched the game against the Bucks, there was a replay of Hibbert’s missed shot at the end that showed the ball barely touching the rim. Either way, there was hardly an excuse to miss it that bad, but the game should have gone into overtime. The Pacers broadcast showed the replay from behind Hibbert. You can see it hit the rim. I can’t find the replay anywhere else. Let me know what you think.

  • Tim Donahue

    Yes, it hit the rim, but I believe the call was that it went out of bounds before the clock expired. I didn’t re-watch, but the play-by-play doesn’t show that a 24-second violation was called. I think it went out and stopped the clock – so touching the rim wouldn’t matter in that instance.

  • mellifluous

    For the most part I agree with you that it was little more than a fantastic play by the Bucks. The one thing I question is having Foster play Bogut rather than McRoberts. I get the savvy vet angle, but if I’m in a situation where there’s about an 85% chance of a lob, I want my tallest best leaper on the floor.

  • Nadir Zaidi

    How about the decision to substitute Posey for McRoberts? It seemed like a questionable decision at the time, but understandable since McRoberts had 5 fouls. In the end, Posey was unable to box out Ilyasova, who got to the line after a crucial offensive board.

  • Tim Donahue

    mel – Maybe, maybe not. All I was thinking as they came out of the time out was, “Don’t foul.” To conclude that McRoberts makes a difference in that instance, you have to assume that he basically gets to the same position Jeff did, doesn’t foul, doesn’t get hung up on the screen, and is able to pick up the flight of the ball and make the leap.

    I can see both sides of the issue, and it basically came down to Obie trusting Foster more than McBob. It’s understandable. I think the fault here lies not in the personnel, but possibly in ignoring the Frederick the Great edict of “to defend everything is to defend nothing.” Obie may have thought that a catch-and-shoot had more chance of succeeding, because you see that Collison is completely engrossed in Brandon Jennings.

    Also, it’s a little thing that people get away with all the time, so I wouldn’t expect the call, but Bogut does a nice job of pushing Foster back into the pick as he makes the break. That’s where he got his advantage.

    Mostly this was just one team making a really good play.

    Nadir – Re: Posey

    The “boxing out” statement is a little bit off. On that play, Posey and ‘Sova were both under the basket on the baseline – almost out of bounds – when Bogut gets the ball on the wing against Hibbert. Bogut give a shake, then puts the ball on the floor, heading towards the baseline. Posey leaves ‘Sova to cut off the penetration.

    Now, Bogut pulls up after one dribble, so I don’t know whether the double was necessary, but from that point it happened pretty quickly. ‘Sova jumped up from the baseline to the block as Danny tried to come down. ‘Sova had an advantage simply because of where he was when the shot went up, blocked out Danny, and grabbed the rebound as it came off.

    It would be more clear cut, had ‘Sova just out-muscled, out-quicked, or out-jumped Posey for the board, but that wasn’t the case. If McRoberts is in, he might not double and get the board. He might not double, and Bogut might come down the baseline and get a bucket or a foul. He might double, and the same thing happens. He might double, and be able to recover and get the board.

    Maybe Posey shouldn’t have doubled. Maybe Danny should have been more aware and rotated sooner to pick up ‘Sova. Maybe McRoberts would have made it better, maybe not.

    The decisions in that situation or on the final play stand in line behind the slow start and some bad execution (Brandon Rush’s turnover on the preceding play, Hibbert’s Bare Ball.)