While the lockout brought lots of ugly things, it also made for some great opportunities, not the least of which is to get to meet and interact with new people. A favorite of Jared and I was J.A. Sherman of the Oklahoma City Thunder blog Welcome to Loud City. Sherman wrote some amazing pieces on the lockout, and we exchanged dozens – if not hundreds – of e-mails over the course of the lockout.
But…the lockout’s over, and we get to leverage that experience for some basketball talk. With the Thunder in town, we did another one of our e-mail chains, fortunately spending very little – if any – time talking business.
Here’s a taste:
(Sherman) When you consider guarding Westbrook, it is more helpful to think about the team approach rather than the individual approach. If he gets the sense that he’s going to be played one-on-one all game, he’s going to start attacking and not stop until the game is over. However, if the Pacers take the approach that the Grizzlies did earlier this week and guide him into zones in the half-court where he is less comfortable, they will cause him to take a lot of sub-optimal shots that can screw up the Thunder offense. You don’t want Westbrook taking jumpers at the top of the key, but if you can shift him to the left or right, he becomes more susceptible to his own inaccuracies. Also, often the best defense against Westbrook is a good offense. If the Pacers decide to allow Collison to attack him on offense, Indiana can uncover a lot of Westbrook’s defensive deficiencies. He’s a gambler, so while he can disrupt an entire offense by himself, just as often he pulls himself out of position.
As for that other tall and lanky guy, this is your basic rule of thumb. If the Pacers can play Durant physically, pushing and pulling him in the half-court set, you have a chance to slow him down. However, if they just trust that a guy like Granger can stay in front of him and use his length to contest Durant’s offense, you’re going to be in trouble.
Tags: Frank Vogel