Playoff my biggest concern - You won't like this.

Treesquid PhD

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Watching Kevin Durant game to game has been incredible, I was always a fan, but I never have the time to watch all teams or even all great players night to night. Because I am employed and have kids, I think we can all relate. Also, it's obvious that Book is benefiting from KD as he has been freed up to score at an elite level. Even though Book isn't as efficient as KD, he still is extremely efficient. The narrative from the media is about the bench, and while I do agree the Suns are a little thin on the bench, I am really concerned that there is a blueprint to beat this year's version of the Suns in a series.

It won't be easy, but this is what I am observing, I am not an advanced analytics basketball person, but I do follow the numbers. So, quants please chime in. What I saw yesterday from Dallas was actually a really good defensive game plan with bad defensive players.

I saw the defense collapse on Ayton, and shade KD, while essentially letting Booker get his one on one. KD is a true shooting efficiency monster. I read that his true shoot was close to or at 80% in three games, which is mind blowing. But I did really like what Jason Kidd did. Not only did he collapse on Ayton but he also left the corner threes uncontested. Normally this would be a death blow because uncontested NBA corner threes are the best three point shot one can get. However, as much flowers as Josh Okogie gets with his hustle and rightfully so, he is a terrible shooter. I was quickly reminded by a friend that he that he went 5 for 10 vs. Chicago, which is correct. However, I went back and watched the looks he is getting and in the games that KD and Book are playing in Okogie's shots are not only uncontested, but they are also completely wide open.

Okogie's three-point shooting over his career is sub 30% this season it's above 32%. However, since he has been starting his volume of shotting is significant.

From game 57 to game 65 (since he has been starting) his median volume is 13 shots per game. Since KD has been playing his median shots per game has been 13 shots per game. In the small 3 game sample size Okogie has shot 23.2% from the field. In the three games as the starter and corner three D player he is averaging .25% I don't have the data, but I do believe almost all of those have been from the corner. What's concerning to me is that these shots are wide open and not contested, so it's bad. I know I am treading in emotional waters with a budding fan favorite, but this is clearly the path I would choose if I was defensing the Suns.

Kevin Durant in his three games has been 10/15, 7/10 and 12/17. Despite the unbelievable efficiency look at the median volume of shots KD is taking, it's less than Okogie, teams are just doubling and tripling Durant while leaving Okogie wide open. Now I don't think JO will continue to shoot this poorly from the corner, but he isn't going to shoot 5/10 on a regular basis either. What is important is that you want Josh Okogie to shoot 13 to 15 of the team 80 to 90 shots and limit the amount of looks KD gets. I also noticed that Okogie doesn't have the highest offensive basketball IQ and seems a bit lost and rightly encouraged to take a wide ass open corner threes. However, if I am Denver or a Golden State, I am more than happy to let Okogie take 13 shots per game and make at best 38 to 40 percent of those shots.

In the game yesterday Monty flat out benched Okogie, I think he played just a few second in the fourth quarter and he is a starter. Monty is smart enough to know that teams will see what Dallas did and replicate it. That's why JO was pulled, for all the grit and defensive talent he has, he is a bottom tier shooter and not deserving of a starting role or a crunch time role. The problem is your options are bad. Ish had a great game but I don't expect Ish to do that consistently, Ross is a bad defensive player, and Criag is streaky as well. I wouldn't be surprised to see Criag get the starts as the season closes.

What does this mean? It means that teams will continue to live with JO's high volume shooting in the corner and just try to limit with numbers the amount of looks KD and Booker can get, while collapsing on DA. It also means CP3 has to fill that shooting void on his clear decline (no shade, he is almost 38, respect).

It also means that JO as a fan favorite is also the 2023 version of fourth quarter Frank, fun player, fan favorite but not exactly the guy you want taking a significant percentage of shots. Now this is only for this season, JO is only 24 and if he is smart he shoots about 25,000 corner threes in the offseason. But for this season it's a gap I don't think that can be solved. Perhaps Shamet can fill the void, I am confident that he would hit a higher percentage of wide open corner threes than JO, the number do bear that out.

What else? JO might not want to be something he not, a shot maker. He is an above average driver and if he takes advantage of that it could free up looks for Ayton, Book and DA cutting or lead to fouls. I just don't think Monty hoping he solves his shooting can be fixed this season.

I also know this is a work in progress, but don't be surprised if Monty inserts Shamet into that late game close out lineup and CP3 ends up taking more of those threes. If JO wants to really make it in this league long term he needs to take his shooting more seriously, if Ish can put in the work Josh needs to as well. This could result in millions of dollars for him, I hope he gets there. But for this season and these playoff, I am leaving Josh wide open and taking my chances.
 

Cheesebeef

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Even though Okogie has been a nice surprise and become a fan favorite I don’t think anyone’s going to bash you for this opinion. Nor do I think anyone would really disagree. Dude’s got to hit some of those shots or Monty has to find someone off the bench who can.

My bigger fear with Okogie/Ish of the team is can they hit big shots in their first foray in the playoffs. We saw how hard that was for much more accomplished guys like Mikal “the next Devin Booker” Bridges and Cam Johnson.
 

JCSunsfan

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Even though Okogie has been a nice surprise and become a fan favorite I don’t think anyone’s going to bash you for this opinion. Nor do I think anyone would really disagree. Dude’s got to hit some of those shots or Monty has to find someone off the bench who can.

My bigger fear with Okogie/Ish of the team is can they hit big shots in their first foray in the playoffs. We saw how hard that was for much more accomplished guys like Mikal “the next Devin Booker” Bridges and Cam Johnson.
:lol:
 

95pro

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Monty could stick Booker and Durant in the corners and go pick and roll with cp3 and Ayton, bold move i know.

But yes a few of us said Okogie would be targeted to be the scorer. It could have been the magnification of the game for Okogie, hopefully he uses this as a learning experience. He bounced back from the first KD game so i have high hopes for him going forward and adjusting to this role.

Hopefully the 5th men in the corners are practicing on their 3's. We still need to integrate Ross more, he's an offensive weapon that has been under utilized. I just wish the suns would make a decision on Shamet, whether to keep hoping for his recovery or just be honest with his diagnosis. Lets hope Payne can round into form as well, he'll be important as well as cp3 legs have fallen off.

Kidds defensive scheme works well on us because we share the ball well, it's almost a zone they play against us by doing just enough to not get called for the illegal defense. Other teams just go iso on the mavs and succeed, which is why having KD helped so much.
 

CardsSunsDbacks

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The Bulls gambled on JO threes and got burned, Dallas gambled and it worked. However it fell apart when they gambled on letting Ish get those same wide open shots. These are NBA players and will hit more than their fair share of wide open corner threes. They will also get a ton of game reps of those shots between now and the playoffs. I suspect that at least one of these guys will be ready to hit those wide open shots come playoff time.
 

Chaplin

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Josh has been on a tear recently, so I don't think it's a stretch to say he deserves to be that 5th guy. He's going to have his bad days, and last night was one of them. He wasn't covered, he just wasn't hitting. If he hit his first couple shots, this would have been a different game.
 

Proximo

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I'm sorry this is just a monster over reaction to one bad shooting game from Okogie.

If he makes 4/8 open 3's we win that game by 15 and everyone is gushing about how great we are today.

Guess what more nights than not, Okogie will make 50% of open corner 3's. I am not worried at all.
 
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Treesquid PhD

Treesquid PhD

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I don't think it's realistic for Ish to hit those shots all the time, I am very impressed with how much better he is this season compared to last year at shotting threes, obviously he put in a lot of work. However, there is a reason he was a 2 way player and probably would have remained in that status if we didn't send 3 starting caliber players to the Nets. I don't think the bright lights impacted JO, because he is an NBA player, his game right now is not catch and shoot. He has been more of a dribble shooter player his entire career and now he is being put in a role offensively that he has to figure out on the fly. I have zero doubts that JO will improve over the off season. I am more concerned about maximizing the all time great level KD is playing at now. The perfect player IMO for that role is Finney-Smith, man would that make this lineup impossible to beat!

I think Jones solves this problem next year with internal development (JO) and moves (Shamet and CP3 on tradable contracts), is it even possible for the Suns to go after Cam Johnson and force the Nets to match? I am not familiar with the cap rules.
 

elindholm

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Guess what more nights than not, Okogie will make 50% of open corner 3's. I am not worried at all.
He's a career 29% three-point shooter. Not everyone does better from the corners. It's a shorter shot, but harder to judge the distance since you don't get depth information from the backboard.
 
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Treesquid PhD

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I'm sorry this is just a monster over reaction to one bad shooting game from Okogie.

If he makes 4/8 open 3's we win that game by 15 and everyone is gushing about how great we are today.

Guess what more nights than not, Okogie will make 50% of open corner 3's. I am not worried at all.
It wasn't emotional at all, it was an observation and Monty even benched JO. I did provide some research to back up my concerns. What data do you have to prove JO is going to knock down open corner threes?
 

Proximo

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I don't think it's realistic for Ish to hit those shots all the time, I am very impressed with how much better he is this season compared to last year at shotting threes, obviously he put in a lot of work. However, there is a reason he was a 2 way player and probably would have remained in that status if we didn't send 3 starting caliber players to the Nets. I don't think the bright lights impacted JO, because he is an NBA player, his game right now is not catch and shoot. He has been more of a dribble shooter player his entire career and now he is being put in a role offensively that he has to figure out on the fly. I have zero doubts that JO will improve over the off season. I am more concerned about maximizing the all time great level KD is playing at now. The perfect player IMO for that role is Finney-Smith, man would that make this lineup impossible to beat!

I think Jones solves this problem next year with internal development (JO) and moves (Shamet and CP3 on tradable contracts), is it even possible for the Suns to go after Cam Johnson and force the Nets to match? I am not familiar with the cap rules.
No it's not. The suns have a 6 million dollar exception - but otherwise the only contracts they can offer are minimum salary contracts. Cam is going to get a lot more then 6 million. Most likely so is Okogie, so we are probably going to lose him as well.
 

sdscard4

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Watching Kevin Durant game to game has been incredible, I was always a fan, but I never have the time to watch all teams or even all great players night to night. Because I am employed and have kids, I think we can all relate. Also, it's obvious that Book is benefiting from KD as he has been freed up to score at an elite level. Even though Book isn't as efficient as KD, he still is extremely efficient. The narrative from the media is about the bench, and while I do agree the Suns are a little thin on the bench, I am really concerned that there is a blueprint to beat this year's version of the Suns in a series.

It won't be easy, but this is what I am observing, I am not an advanced analytics basketball person, but I do follow the numbers. So, quants please chime in. What I saw yesterday from Dallas was actually a really good defensive game plan with bad defensive players.

I saw the defense collapse on Ayton, and shade KD, while essentially letting Booker get his one on one. KD is a true shooting efficiency monster. I read that his true shoot was close to or at 80% in three games, which is mind blowing. But I did really like what Jason Kidd did. Not only did he collapse on Ayton but he also left the corner threes uncontested. Normally this would be a death blow because uncontested NBA corner threes are the best three point shot one can get. However, as much flowers as Josh Okogie gets with his hustle and rightfully so, he is a terrible shooter. I was quickly reminded by a friend that he that he went 5 for 10 vs. Chicago, which is correct. However, I went back and watched the looks he is getting and in the games that KD and Book are playing in Okogie's shots are not only uncontested, but they are also completely wide open.

Okogie's three-point shooting over his career is sub 30% this season it's above 32%. However, since he has been starting his volume of shotting is significant.

From game 57 to game 65 (since he has been starting) his median volume is 13 shots per game. Since KD has been playing his median shots per game has been 13 shots per game. In the small 3 game sample size Okogie has shot 23.2% from the field. In the three games as the starter and corner three D player he is averaging .25% I don't have the data, but I do believe almost all of those have been from the corner. What's concerning to me is that these shots are wide open and not contested, so it's bad. I know I am treading in emotional waters with a budding fan favorite, but this is clearly the path I would choose if I was defensing the Suns.

Kevin Durant in his three games has been 10/15, 7/10 and 12/17. Despite the unbelievable efficiency look at the median volume of shots KD is taking, it's less than Okogie, teams are just doubling and tripling Durant while leaving Okogie wide open. Now I don't think JO will continue to shoot this poorly from the corner, but he isn't going to shoot 5/10 on a regular basis either. What is important is that you want Josh Okogie to shoot 13 to 15 of the team 80 to 90 shots and limit the amount of looks KD gets. I also noticed that Okogie doesn't have the highest offensive basketball IQ and seems a bit lost and rightly encouraged to take a wide ass open corner threes. However, if I am Denver or a Golden State, I am more than happy to let Okogie take 13 shots per game and make at best 38 to 40 percent of those shots.

In the game yesterday Monty flat out benched Okogie, I think he played just a few second in the fourth quarter and he is a starter. Monty is smart enough to know that teams will see what Dallas did and replicate it. That's why JO was pulled, for all the grit and defensive talent he has, he is a bottom tier shooter and not deserving of a starting role or a crunch time role. The problem is your options are bad. Ish had a great game but I don't expect Ish to do that consistently, Ross is a bad defensive player, and Criag is streaky as well. I wouldn't be surprised to see Criag get the starts as the season closes.

What does this mean? It means that teams will continue to live with JO's high volume shooting in the corner and just try to limit with numbers the amount of looks KD and Booker can get, while collapsing on DA. It also means CP3 has to fill that shooting void on his clear decline (no shade, he is almost 38, respect).

It also means that JO as a fan favorite is also the 2023 version of fourth quarter Frank, fun player, fan favorite but not exactly the guy you want taking a significant percentage of shots. Now this is only for this season, JO is only 24 and if he is smart he shoots about 25,000 corner threes in the offseason. But for this season it's a gap I don't think that can be solved. Perhaps Shamet can fill the void, I am confident that he would hit a higher percentage of wide open corner threes than JO, the number do bear that out.

What else? JO might not want to be something he not, a shot maker. He is an above average driver and if he takes advantage of that it could free up looks for Ayton, Book and DA cutting or lead to fouls. I just don't think Monty hoping he solves his shooting can be fixed this season.

I also know this is a work in progress, but don't be surprised if Monty inserts Shamet into that late game close out lineup and CP3 ends up taking more of those threes. If JO wants to really make it in this league long term he needs to take his shooting more seriously, if Ish can put in the work Josh needs to as well. This could result in millions of dollars for him, I hope he gets there. But for this season and these playoff, I am leaving Josh wide open and taking my chances.
Funny
This same exact topic was posted by a talking head at ESPN. Basically yesterday's game is a blowout if we could hit open 3s earlier in the game..also Ayton was Basically left open at the basket but Monty went away from feeding him. The Suns become unbeatable once they figure out the formula
 

95pro

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I'm sorry this is just a monster over reaction to one bad shooting game from Okogie.

If he makes 4/8 open 3's we win that game by 15 and everyone is gushing about how great we are today.

Guess what more nights than not, Okogie will make 50% of open corner 3's. I am not worried at all.

That's bold even with that stipulation: open corner 3's.
 

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The Bulls gambled on JO threes and got burned, Dallas gambled and it worked. However it fell apart when they gambled on letting Ish get those same wide open shots. These are NBA players and will hit more than their fair share of wide open corner threes. They will also get a ton of game reps of those shots between now and the playoffs. I suspect that at least one of these guys will be ready to hit those wide open shots come playoff time.
Word and I think it could be more of whoever has the hot hand playing with the "starting four" at the end of close games, which could be pretty much anyone not named Landale or Biz
 

Covert Rain

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Monty could stick Booker and Durant in the corners and go pick and roll with cp3 and Ayton, bold move i know.

But yes a few of us said Okogie would be targeted to be the scorer. It could have been the magnification of the game for Okogie, hopefully he uses this as a learning experience. He bounced back from the first KD game so i have high hopes for him going forward and adjusting to this role.

Hopefully the 5th men in the corners are practicing on their 3's. We still need to integrate Ross more, he's an offensive weapon that has been under utilized. I just wish the suns would make a decision on Shamet, whether to keep hoping for his recovery or just be honest with his diagnosis. Lets hope Payne can round into form as well, he'll be important as well as cp3 legs have fallen off.

Kidds defensive scheme works well on us because we share the ball well, it's almost a zone they play against us by doing just enough to not get called for the illegal defense. Other teams just go iso on the mavs and succeed, which is why having KD helped so much.
No way. Because both Book and Durant are at their best in the mid-range. If he relegates them to the corners there will be pitch forks out. That would be something way beyond bold. ;)

Okogie has only looked great in 1 of the 3 games he has started. So, I imagine these next few games are going to go a long way to determine if he remains the 5th starter. He is fun to watch and good defender but he has to knock down 3's when wide open. Teams are going to dare anybody but Durant and Book beat them.
 

CardsSunsDbacks

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I don't think it's realistic for Ish to hit those shots all the time, I am very impressed with how much better he is this season compared to last year at shotting threes, obviously he put in a lot of work. However, there is a reason he was a 2 way player and probably would have remained in that status if we didn't send 3 starting caliber players to the Nets. I don't think the bright lights impacted JO, because he is an NBA player, his game right now is not catch and shoot. He has been more of a dribble shooter player his entire career and now he is being put in a role offensively that he has to figure out on the fly. I have zero doubts that JO will improve over the off season. I am more concerned about maximizing the all time great level KD is playing at now. The perfect player IMO for that role is Finney-Smith, man would that make this lineup impossible to beat!

I think Jones solves this problem next year with internal development (JO) and moves (Shamet and CP3 on tradable contracts), is it even possible for the Suns to go after Cam Johnson and force the Nets to match? I am not familiar with the cap rules.
Ish, Okogie and Craig for that matter are not used to getting such wide open looks. It's hard to look at their career numbers and make assumptions about how they will do when left completely uncovered in the corner. I suspect it will be a losing strategy in most games because one of them will be in rhythm and will torch you for leaving them wide open.
 

Proximo

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He's a career 29% three-point shooter. Not everyone does better from the corners. It's a shorter shot, but harder to judge the distance since you don't get depth information from the backboard.
Actually almost everyone does better from the corners, just look at the stats - it is extremely rare someone does not shoot better from the corner.

There are many examples of players becoming good 3 point shooters out of nowhere, TJ Warren is one that comes to mind. And there are hundreds of examples of players going up 5 - 8 percent from one year to the next especially when they are young.

Okogie has had a string of almost 2 months shooting the 3 over 40%, that is more than enough data to say it is not a fluke.
 

sdscard4

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Only teams that worry me are Golden State and Milwaukee. The Dubs are the Champs and can flick that switch. Milwaukee is so damn good. Will be interesting. I'm just glad we're in the same sentence as these 2
 

Proximo

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That's bold even with that stipulation: open corner 3's.
Ok, maybe 50 is a slightly bold statement - I rounded up.

Of open corner 3's over 40% is highly likely

However, strictly speaking I think I am right - I said more nights than not. Typically it is the bad games where a player goes O for, or 1 for that really affects the overall percentage.
 

95pro

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No way. Because both Book and Durant are at their best in the mid-range. If he relegates them to the corners there will be pitch forks out. That would be something way beyond bold. ;)

Okogie has only looked great in 1 of the 3 games he has started. So, I imagine these next few games are going to go a long way to determine if he remains the 5th starter. He is fun to watch and good defender but he has to knock down 3's when wide open. Teams are going to dare anybody but Durant and Book beat them.

I was not serious about that at all.

But yes our 5th guy is still up in the air at the moment. Teams have dared cp3 and Okogie to shoot it so far. Now do they try to make Ayton beat us and stay home everyone else?
 
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Treesquid PhD

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Josh has been on a tear recently, so I don't think it's a stretch to say he deserves to be that 5th guy. He's going to have his bad days, and last night was one of them. He wasn't covered, he just wasn't hitting. If he hit his first couple shots, this would have been a different game.
I don't disagree. JO has significant skills on the defensive end that are extremely Holiday like. My main concern is KD getting more than 17 shots at the efficiency he provides. I do really like JO, but I don't think he should be taking 13 shots per game and definitely not 8 to 10 threes. I do not know what he is being told internal, probably take the open shot! But then again I am just looking at it from the opponent, swarm KD and Book let CP3 and JO shoot. That's the only way you beat the Suns.
 

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My biggest playoff concern is teams beating up on Chris Paul. That has worked in the past and it can work now. Chris Paul will be left wide open on a regular basis once in the half court set, and he is going to have to be able to hit those shots regularly. However, he will be hammered the full length of the court.

If we are going to win a championship, Cam Payne is going to have to step up.

We also could have really used Cam Johnson. I am not discounting Mikal, its just that Durant replaces Mikal. Its that open shooter like Cam that would be so deadly with this group.
 
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