Okay, here’s a quick story. Back in my college baseball days, I was on the mound against St. Joe’s University. Coach comes out of the dugout and tells me to throw inside fastballs to the next batter. I don’t think it’s a good idea, but do as I’m told and 145 mph later am thanking God I still have all my teeth in my mouth as that dude tattooed the ball right back at me. Didn’t factor into the game, I was just following instructions and almost died, that’s all.
So here’s the deal. Raps/Mavs game. In the timeout, Sam tells the team not to switch on a pick, to fight through and stay with your man. Seems simple enough. But of course, when you see Dirty Dirk get open on a screen, natural instinct says to get out there ASAP. So MoPete takes off, a pass is made, 2 blocks are missed and the game is over.
To his credit, MoPete took the blame, saying that he had been told not to switch and he did and it resulted in the game winning basket. He was following instinct, which sometimes you have to do, but you also have to follow your coach. Hurts to say it, but you have to follow what the coach says or else you’re the one renegade and you don’t have any followers. If you’re going to have somebody beat you, let it be their star. If he makes the shot at the buzzer, then he’s already dropped 38 on you, 2 more to win the game is what he’s supposed to do.
But let’s look at this a bit closer. Why not switch? You essentially know that with that little time left on the clock, there is going to be some sort of high screen involving Dirk. They are most likely going to try to get him free for a shot with a low post option in case there’s a double team. So if you switch, you are risking that he drops a pass over the top and catches you flat footed or that he puts the ball on the ground and pulls up for a jumper. Not a lot of time on the clock, so if he gets the ball, he is probably going to shoot right away or look down low.
So forget a double team. Go man up with a switch, nobody on the inbound and then drop an extra player into zone. Could that work? Possibly. Personally, that would be the route I would go, forcing Dirk to beat me, but it’s a tough decision. Can’t put that one on Sam. He gave clear instructions and players have to listen to their coach or nothing will work.