The clock is winding down, a few picks are set and players run to open areas but for the most part Paul Pierce dribbles slowly up the middle of the court and waits for 3-4 seconds to be left on the clock. He jabs, he lunges, the steps back, hand in his face, falls away and...
Sometimes it goes in, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes we celebrate and sometimes we don't. It is usually a tough shot but that's the nature of isolation plays at the end of the game. But is it the best play? Pierce is the best guy on the team at getting and making his own shot. But does that mean he should just clear out the floor and take it?
Henry Abbott of TrueHoop takes an extended look at the "hero ball" movement.
HERO BALL is to the NBA what polyester is to clothes. Few claim to like it, yet curiously, it never seems to go away. TNT analyst and former Suns GM Steve Kerr can hardly contain his glee when he hears Synergy's stats. "Well ... hello!" says Kerr, whose title-clinching 17-footer for the Bulls in 1997 is perhaps the signature anti-hero-ball moment. "I've never been a big fan of isolation." Robert Horry, aka Big-Shot Rob, had the chance to win games in crunch time only because ball movement brought the shot to the open shooter: him. Horry, not surprisingly, calls isolation "bad basketball," before adding that it's something the best coaches simply don't use: "People always want the lead dog to take the shot. People forget you've got to be pretty good to be in the NBA. Even though they don't take a lot of shots, those other players are very capable of making those shots."
An interesting study. Read the whole thing.