April 16, 2014

Cavaliers Film Room: The Princeton Offense

Thanks to Mike Brown Auerbach, and the Lakers’ early season struggles, the Princeton offense has become a popular topic amongst analysts and talking heads. It’s this offense that many are saying is preventing Steve Nash, the Lakers’ offense, and the list of celebrities trying to find a seat on the LA bandwagon from reaching their full potential.

Closer to home, we see a version of this Princeton “Option” offense night in and night out with the Wine and Gold.

“What exactly is the Princeton offense you may ask?

“Is it an offense which features five guys with their collars popped? Not quite.

“An offense consisting of five guys who prefer a glass of red wine over a cold beer? Most likely not.

“An offense run primarily through the high post, that attacks mismatches through constant movement, pick and rolls, and back door cuts?” Bingo! [Read more...]

Cavaliers Show Peek of Princeton Offense

It was poetic. It was fluid.  It even led to a Byron Scott smile. One placed roughly one foot above a set of crossed arms, but a smile is most definitely a smile.

The first quarter featured a young Cavalier team trading largely in slop, ultimately resulting in double-digit turnovers and a few head-scratching moments vis a vis extra, perhaps unnecessary pass attempts. But once this ten-man rotation had even more time to gel, perhaps aided by a post-first quarter pep talk from Scott, fans were graced with flashes of what the Wine and Gold can become on the offensive end.  With roughly seven minutes to go in the third frame, the team’s first unit – on a night that was largely dominated by the “reserves” – flawlessly executed back-to-back plays that included nary a dribble.

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Valade: Cavs Longing for a Point-Center

While watching his undersized team allow the Atlanta Hawks to score 40 points in the paint this past Saturday may have helped expedite the process, the Cavaliers have reportedly been on a longstanding hunt for a post presence to help the New Expression get back on track.

With his team presently sitting at 8-21, fifth place in the Central Division, head coach Byron Scott continues to look for the right pieces to place into his Princeton style offense.  Predominantly constructed around ball movement and backdoor cuts, a center (or “point-center” per Pete Carril, the creator of the Princeton offense) that can post up and attract attention with the ability to see the court and make pinpoint passes is vital.  And with all due respect to Anderson Varejao, Ryan Hollins, JJ Hickson and Antawn Jamison, for this offense to begin clicking, the Cavaliers need a dominant figure in the paint.

“I’ve watched teams that have post-up guys and I know what a post-up guy can do as far as this offense,” Scott said to The Plain Dealer’s Jodie Valade. “When you get a good post-up guy, this offense runs even better. Then you have somebody who’s a threat that’s hard to double because of the movement and spacing.”

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Somewhere, a Cleveland Cavalier Just Shot a Three…

Would it be far-fetched to consider December 15, 2010 a turning point in the Cavaliers’ season?

In the midst of a stretch that saw the Wine and Gold play some of the most deplorable basketball this region has seen in the last 10 years, Byron Scott’s team went down to Miami, Florida where they would be 17-point underdogs.  Having a lead at several points throughout the game, the Cavs gave an obviously talented Heat team all they had

While the result was a loss, it was a game that saw effort, heart and actual efficient basketball – the Cavs produced 95 points in 93 posessions, well over their average for the year.  But what it also saw was ball movement, specifically of the drive-and-kick variety, leading to 33 three-point field goal attempts. 

Fast forward to Monday night in Cleveland and the Cavaliers – despite a losing effort – played one of their most efficient basketball games of the season.  In an 86-possession game (the team’s slowest game of the year thus far), the Cavs produced 90 points for an offensive efficiency of 104.7, their fifth-best on the year.  But for the second straight game, and third in four contests, the Cavaliers shot a slew of three-pointers, totaling 28 attempts on the night.  [Read more...]