FanPost

Ime needs to do more when Tatum has a mismatch

I'm tired of blaming "effort" for everything. We are an undersized team that is one of the best defenses in the league and doesn't get beat much on the boards anymore. I don't feel like we have gotten "punked" since the Raptors game. We could use some real solutions. There is a degree to which I understand the tactical aspect of blaming effort on all parts. Analysts don't have to think or make decent content on the fly. Fans don't actually have to watch the game or look at statistics. Players and coaches don't have to reveal the real plan behind the scenes of how they will actually address things in practice. It's turned into a bit of a social contract. Today, I will look into a particular issue: Everything stops when Jayson Tatum has the ball with a good mismatch.

At this point, I could blame Tatum for the lack of ball movement, but I don't think it completely explains the real dynamics that I'm watching. What I'm seeing is Tatum taking the ball and backing it out with 4 statues waiting for the ball to come to them. This isn't completely braindead logic because it makes life easy on Tatum. All he has to do is draw two defenders and it is easy to figure out where the ball should go. However, if the other team is willing to gamble on Tatum's defender taking him 1v1 with non-committal hedges from the rest of the defense, the whole concept breaks down. No one is moving, no one is getting open, and that pretty much forces Tatum into ISO mode. This puts a lot of pressure on Tatum to get into a rhythm and try to convince defenses to overreact, which often ends in him pressing for tough shots. That seems like something that is on the coaching staff.

Ime needs to give the other guys on the floor something to do when Tatum has a mismatch. Whether it be setting screens for Tatum or each other, they just need to give him more good options that actually advance the play. It also makes Tatum harder to blitz when the other team has off-ball actions to consider. It might be harder for Tatum to get the timing and court vision down, but it has to happen if this offense is going to advance. When we start seeing Tatum hit cutters from above the break, that is when the offense is really going to get going. That is how Brown and Tatum will make others better. I don't like the idea that Brown and Tatum are unwilling and unable to make their teammates better when nobody is moving when they get the ball. The Jays can enhance what others can do, but others need to actually do. They aren't Harden and Durant and it is really important to not treat them like it.

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