“Smashmouth” has been the phrase du jour of Pacers Coach Frank Vogel from the minute his boss Jim O’Brien was canned last season. He used that change — and a few changes to the offense, mostly dumbing it down — to spark a late-season resurgence from a team that had previously been on a road to nowhere.
In the offseason, he instituted even more tenets of his own philosophy. Namely, he wants the team to be aggressive in the paint, attack the rim and get every board in sight. One way he has helped turn all this smashmouth talk from just rhetoric to action is by systematically emphasizing offensive rebounding.
It seems to be working so far, as the Pacers lead the NBA with 15.0 offensive boards per game and three of their bigs are in the top 15 leaguewide. Through two games, Tyler Hansbrough (11th in the NBA), David West (14th) and Roy Hibbert (15th) are all averaging 3.5 offensive rebounds a night. All this despite the fact that Jeff Foster, the NBA’s fifth best offensive rebounder since at least 1971, has yet to play a minute this season.
Hoopsaddict’s Ryan McNeil breaks down how Vogel has changed his scheme to emphasize offensive rebounding.
A big reason for Indiana’s ability to own the glass is due to the fact they tweaked their offensive sets to maximize their chances of getting offensive rebounds.
“We completely reshaped our spacing so that on 99 percent of sets two bigs are at the basket,” head coach Frank Vogel told the media earlier this week. “One will be on the post or baseline with the other rolling to the basket. We are designed to be a strong offensive rebounding team.”
Vogul expanded upon this philosophy last night before his team’s game against Toronto.
“Part of our smashmouth attack involves playing with size and strength,” Vogul told HOOPSADDICT.com. “We want out guards attacking the basket. We want our bigs playing through the post. This summer we shaped all of our spacing so that we don’t have very many lifts sets where we have a big out near the three-point line. We try to have one of our bigs along the baseline or in front of the basket at all times and the other one is rolling”.
In short, it sounds like the Jim O’Brien disciple is trying to erase the final traces of his mentor’s outside-in philosophy. Instead, he is molding a system that keeps the Pacers’ big men in their lane.
Both literally and figuratively.