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Old 12-03-2013, 03:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bjjs View Post
Open...? Denver has three guys with a foot in the paint. JV is the second pass in that scenario.
That's the point. The article is about where Valanciunas is failing at the moment and where he needs to improve.

I'll just go ahead and post the rest of it:

But it's not all on the wing "stars." The classic image of Valanciunas to this point is of him setting a pick, rolling down the lane, and raising both his arms in the air, convinced he's wide open — and then pouting when he doesn't get the ball:

But Valanciunas often rolls to the hoop before making any contact on his pick, meaning he has provided Kyle Lowry, Gay, or DeRozan with no daylight — no space to penetrate, no clear angle to hit Valanciunas in the lane. "He feels like he's open," Casey says, "but he's not. He's just so far down there. He needs to learn the short roll."

Casey doesn't mind when Valanciunas cuts hard to the rim without really screening, but he'd prefer the big fella lay the wood on dudes much more often.

On defense, the Drakes employ a fairly aggressive pick-and-roll scheme that asks big men to jump out hard on ball handlers — or at least hang around the level of the pick. Valanciunas has the mobility to do that, and he's a hard worker. But the timing just isn't there. He'll often slide into help position just a beat late, leaving himself in no-man's-land — too late to cut off the ball handler or even get in the guy's way, but still far enough from his original mark that a dangerous passing lane is open.

"He's still learning the speed of the game at this level," Casey says. "He works his butt off. He has as much potential as any of the bigs I've ever worked with. But he needs to spend the summer in New York or L.A., playing pickup with guys that are 6-7 or 6-8 — to get used to their speed."

Here he is leaving Mozgov (on the left side) to contain Nate Robinson jetting off a screen, though he does so in such a way that he's too late to cut off the pass to Robinson, and yet still far enough from Mozgov to open up the possibility of a Robinson-to-Mozgov pass:

It'll come. And if the Drakes decide to blow things up and trade one (or all) of their high-priced perimeter guys, Valanciunas will have plenty more chances to hone a promising post game — and a jump shot Casey wants him to take more often.
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