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View Full Version : How Do We Reacclimate MBIII?



Rich
02-22-2018, 09:30 AM
I posted this in the post-Louisville thread, but thought it deserved it's own topic. We've all seen situations where a star player goes out near the end of the season and has trouble reintegrating into the "new" team that has gelled since his absence.

So imagine you're Coach Capel or Scheyer and Coach K asks you what we should do to reacclimate Bagley without losing the spark we've seem to have found since he's been on the bench. What should Bagley's new role be on the team? Or, after all, our offensive efficiency was through the roof before MBIII was injured so should we just go back to our old approach of dumping the ball down low to him and initiating the offense that way? Then again, that seemed to put Allen, our senior who finally seems to have his mojo, in a slump. How about on defense? Do we need to do anything different with MBIII in the lineup in place Delaurier/Bolden? Do we bring MBIII off the bench in a sixth man role to give the team a burst of energy?

Coach K tells you that no suggestion is a stupid suggestion and that he really wants to know what you think. What's your analysis?

flyingdutchdevil
02-22-2018, 09:35 AM
I posted this in the post-Louisville thread, but thought it deserved it's own topic. We've all seen situations where a star player goes out near the end of the season and has trouble reintegrating into the "new" team that has gelled since his absence.

So imagine you're Coach Capel or Scheyer and Coach K asks you what we should do to reacclimate Bagley without losing the spark we've seem to have found since he's been on the bench. What should Bagley's new role be on the team? Or, after all, our offensive efficiency was through the roof before MBIII was injured so should we just go back to our old approach of dumping the ball down low to him and initiating the offense that way? Then again, that seemed to put Allen, our senior who finally seems to have his mojo, in a slump. How about on defense? Do we need to do anything different with MBIII in the lineup in place Delaurier/Bolden? Do we bring MBIII off the bench in a sixth man role to give the team a burst of energy?

Coach K tells you that no suggestion is a stupid suggestion and that he really wants to know what you think. What's your analysis?

Put Javin and Marvin in a gene splicing machine. Rename the combined athlete "Jarvin". Allow that player to play 40 min a game.

:D

In all seriousness, Marvin should start when he comes back. But he shouldn't play 30-35 min a game. Manage his minutes. Talk to him about playing more "team ball" (ala Carter and Javin) and hustle back on D. If he doesn't hustle back, pull him quick.

ncexnyc
02-22-2018, 09:35 AM
Rotate the bigs. Carter and Javin start the game. Coach K. then subs in the tandem of Bolden and MBIII.

It took both Javin and Bolden awhile to get the rust off from their injuries. I don't see why MBIII would be any different.

CDu
02-22-2018, 09:36 AM
Offensively, I'd reintegrate him in one of two ways:
A. as a direct replica of DeLaurier's role offensively, as exclusively an off-ball lurker/cutter/finisher. Bagley has better hands, skills, and instincts than DeLaurier, so that should be a natural upgrade.
B. as a cross between what DeLaurier is doing and what Carter is doing. Namely, option (a) as well as working in pick-and-roll and handoffs with Allen. Again, Bagley's skill set works nicely in that framework, and gives us more ways to attack while not burying Carter.

We can always sprinkle in post-up looks too, but it doesn't need to be the primary focus of the offense which is what we'd drifted into by midseason.

Defensively, I'd have him play the exact same role DeLaurier is currently playing (forward in the 2-3). Then, DeLaurier becomes a direct sub for Bagley, and Bolden becomes a direct sub for Carter. Rotations then become very clean.

gam7
02-22-2018, 09:44 AM
Offensively, I'd reintegrate him in one of two ways:
A. as a direct replica of DeLaurier's role offensively, as exclusively an off-ball lurker/cutter/finisher. Bagley has better hands, skills, and instincts than DeLaurier, so that should be a natural upgrade.
B. as a cross between what DeLaurier is doing and what Carter is doing. Namely, option (a) as well as working in pick-and-roll and handoffs with Allen. Again, Bagley's skill set works nicely in that framework, and gives us more ways to attack while not burying Carter.

We can always sprinkle in post-up looks too, but it doesn't need to be the primary focus of the offense which is what we'd drifted into by midseason.

Defensively, I'd have him play the exact same role DeLaurier is currently playing (forward in the 2-3). Then, DeLaurier becomes a direct sub for Bagley, and Bolden becomes a direct sub for Carter. Rotations then become very clean.

Agree with this. Also key will be keeping Grayson's role exactly as it is. Bagley generates a lot gravitational pull. But to win it all, we absolutely need this Grayson.

UrinalCake
02-22-2018, 09:51 AM
Rotate the bigs. Carter and Javin start the game. Coach K. then subs in the tandem of Bolden and MBIII.

I like the idea of having only one of Carter and Bagley in the game. But you can't reduce their minutes by that much. I'm thinking you start them together (because you have to) and give them each 30 minutes, but have 20 minutes with both of them together and 20 minutes with only one. That leaves 10 minutes each for Javin and Bolden.

Call me crazy but I'm honestly not that worried about re-integrating Bagley. I think we run the same style we've been running the past three games. Continue moving and sharing the ball. There will be a few post isolations for Bagley, but it's not going to be our whole offense. The issue to watch is more about having everybody maintain their intensity on both sides of the ball, if we can do that then we'll continue to have success.

flyingdutchdevil
02-22-2018, 09:56 AM
I like the idea of having only one of Carter and Bagley in the game. But you can't reduce their minutes by that much. I'm thinking you start them together (because you have to) and give them each 30 minutes, but have 20 minutes with both of them together and 20 minutes with only one. That leaves 10 minutes each for Javin and Bolden.

Call me crazy but I'm honestly not that worried about re-integrating Bagley. I think we run the same style we've been running the past three games. Continue moving and sharing the ball. There will be a few post isolations for Bagley, but it's not going to be our whole offense. The issue to watch is more about having everybody maintain their intensity on both sides of the ball, if we can do that then we'll continue to have success.

Yeah...20 min for Carter and 20 min for Bagley isn't enough. They have to learn to coexist (and I think they kinda do). Bagley has more issues working with the guards than Carter.

I don't think we should be worried about integrating Bagley offensively. I extremely worried about defense, where I think everyone and their mother prefers Javin.

CDu
02-22-2018, 09:56 AM
I like the idea of having only one of Carter and Bagley in the game. But you can't reduce their minutes by that much. I'm thinking you start them together (because you have to) and give them each 30 minutes, but have 20 minutes with both of them together and 20 minutes with only one. That leaves 10 minutes each for Javin and Bolden.

Call me crazy but I'm honestly not that worried about re-integrating Bagley. I think we run the same style we've been running the past three games. Continue moving and sharing the ball. There will be a few post isolations for Bagley, but it's not going to be our whole offense. The issue to watch is more about having everybody maintain their intensity on both sides of the ball, if we can do that then we'll continue to have success.

Yeah, I am in the same boat as you. I don't see reintegrating Bagley as a huge challenge. Mainly because he does SO many things well (and better than his alternatives) and can play so well off the ball that I don't think he has to cause a restructure of the offense. He can dominate within the framework that we've played the last 3 games. No need to change what is working. Just put in better options in those side pieces and let the manna rain down from heaven.

This isn't like re-integrating a ball-dominant PG to a team that had figured out how to run its offense with a different PG. Nor is the amount of time Bagley has missed so great that it is impossible to get him back in form.

CDu
02-22-2018, 09:58 AM
I don't think we should be worried about integrating Bagley offensively. I extremely worried about defense, where I think everyone and their mother prefers Javin.

I don't prefer DeLaurier defensively to Bagley. And I'm not worried about the defense when Bagley comes back. We were a very good team in zone defense with Bagley. We've been a very good team in zone defense without Bagley. The difference is that we've finally committed to playing exclusively zone since Bagley went out, whereas we still trying like all heck to be a man-to-man team prior to Georgia Tech.

FerryFor50
02-22-2018, 10:13 AM
I don't prefer DeLaurier defensively to Bagley. And I'm not worried about the defense when Bagley comes back. We were a very good team in zone defense with Bagley. We've been a very good team in zone defense without Bagley. The difference is that we've finally committed to playing exclusively zone since Bagley went out, whereas we still trying like all heck to be a man-to-man team prior to Georgia Tech.

Agreed. I think Bagley replicates what Delaurier brings, but with less foulibg and more offense.

Jeffrey
02-22-2018, 10:29 AM
IMO, a PG, Kyrie, after 3 months is very hard. A SF, Marvin, after 3 weeks is not hard. If Javin was averaging a double-double, I might have some true concern.

kAzE
02-22-2018, 10:33 AM
Agreed. I think Bagley replicates what Delaurier brings, but with less foulibg and more offense.

I don't think that's really true. DeLaurier plays with more intensity on defense. He will recklessly challenge every shot he can at the rim, often getting called for a foul or ending up on the floor as the result of a collision. Bagley is much more judicious when it comes to challenging shot attempts in the paint. Whether that is because he is actively thinking about avoiding fouls or just doesn't want to mix it up with opposing bigs, he's not as tenacious on D as Javin. He doesn't lack the ability to replicate Javin, but he lacks the will to do the dirty work that Javin does.

But to be fair, most of our guys were playing like that during our recent bad stretch. Javin's play has been a big part of our resurgence on defense. Guys are seeing his hustle and stepping up their own effort on defense because of his example. Hopefully Marvin will do the same when he comes back.

I just wish Javin could catch a basketball . . . he should have had at least 6 more points in this game off of easy dunks if he could just catch a pass -_-

Jeffrey
02-22-2018, 10:34 AM
I don't prefer DeLaurier defensively to Bagley.

I agree, Marvin recovers quickly, blocks shots, and gets off the floor very quickly for boards. He is also going to do a much better job wearing out his defender, leaving them less offensive energy.

Jeffrey
02-22-2018, 10:43 AM
He doesn't lack the ability to replicate Javin, but he lacks the will to do the dirty work that Javin does.


IMO, that changes completely in the last 5, or so, minutes of a close game. Marvin turns up the D when the game is on the line.

kAzE
02-22-2018, 10:44 AM
IMO, that changes completely in the last 5, or so, minutes of a close game. Marvin turns up the D when the game is on the line.

That may be true, but that may also be why we so often find ourselves needing to come back from being down big. Need that effort for 40 minutes, not 5.

CDu
02-22-2018, 10:47 AM
IMO, that changes completely in the last 5, or so, minutes of a close game. Marvin turns up the D when the game is on the line.

Yep. His last ~5 minutes against UNC were fantastic.

Bagley doesn't exactly replicate what DeLaurier does. But I certainly wouldn't say he doesn't do the dirty work. His defensive rebound rate is WAY too impressive to say he doesn't do the dirty work, especially considering that he does so while playing ~35+ minutes in most of his games.

CDu
02-22-2018, 10:48 AM
That may be true, but that may also be why we so often find ourselves needing to come back from being down big. Need that effort for 40 minutes, not 5.

I think that has more to do with the fact that we spent the majority of games trying (and failing) to play man-to-man defense and less to do with Bagley's effort.

Jeffrey
02-22-2018, 10:53 AM
That may be true, but that may also be why we so often find ourselves needing to come back from being down big. Need that effort for 40 minutes, not 5.

Marvin is burning a lot more calories on offense than Javin. Neither are Bobby Hurley, there is a limit to how much energy they can expend, on both sides, in 40 minutes.

Troublemaker
02-22-2018, 10:54 AM
I don't prefer DeLaurier defensively to Bagley. And I'm not worried about the defense when Bagley comes back. We were a very good team in zone defense with Bagley. We've been a very good team in zone defense without Bagley. The difference is that we've finally committed to playing exclusively zone since Bagley went out, whereas we still trying like all heck to be a man-to-man team prior to Georgia Tech.

We will be a good zone team regardless. I agree with that. The key to shooting up the D rankings the past few games was the zone, not Bagley sitting. The effect of playing zone on the team is so widespread that switching out one player at one position isn't going to ruin the overall momentum. Most notably, Duval went from a poor defender in m2m to a great defender in zone, and no matter who is on the wing, that dramatic leap from Duval isn't going away.

Now with that said, I personally love DeLaurier in zone defense. He routinely impresses me with his quickness, and I do think he has better instincts and timing than Bagley, which is reflected in a superior steal rate (3.0% to 1.7%) and a superior blocked shot rate (4.9% to 3.2%). Combine those stats with the coaches' praise for DeLaurier's defense dating back to the preseason, and I do think we're talking about a superior defender here, particularly in a zone where his fouling can be deterred a bit.

Marvin is physically capable of doing some of the same things as Javin, for sure, but I think he reacts slower on the court. So, I'm uncertain as of now whether his defensive impact will be the same. "Show it to me," is where I'm at with Marvin. If he can do it, I wouldn't be surprised. And if he can't, I also wouldn't be surprised.

("Show it to me" can generally be said for everyone, though. Now that we've gone exclusively to zone, I think us fans are learning more and more about the team as zone defenders every game.)

kAzE
02-22-2018, 10:55 AM
Yep. His last ~5 minutes against UNC were fantastic.

Bagley doesn't exactly replicate what DeLaurier does. But I certainly wouldn't say he doesn't do the dirty work. His defensive rebound rate is WAY too impressive to say he doesn't do the dirty work, especially considering that he does so while playing ~35+ minutes in most of his games.

That might be part of it. If you're not selling out to challenge shots, it's easier to get defensive rebounds. Not saying Bagley does this, but I do remember some specific occasions where Bagley had a chance to go after a shot in the paint, but instead just halfheartedly waved his hand at the shot, or just completely allowed the opposing player to get off an uncontested shot. This doesn't happen when Javin and Wendell are the paint. The shot is either going to be altered/blocked, or Javin is going to get called for a foul. (By the way, how freakin good is Wendell Carter on defense? He blocks EVERYTHING.)

There's clearly a balance that Bagley needs to find. He can't be as reckless as Javin because he needs to stay on the floor, but he also can't just allow uncontested layups. Wendell has really been able to figure this out. We haven't had a rim protector like him in a long, long time, and he's able to stay on the floor for 30+ minutes every game while still providing incredible defense. We need Bagley to get on that level.

PackMan97
02-22-2018, 10:56 AM
I agree with others than this shouldn't be a huge problem for Duke. Even those Bagley has been the focal point of your offense, he isn't a ball hog or shown to play poorly when he doesnt' get the ball as much as he thinks he should.

My biggest concern is that Allen has really stepped up in Bagley's abscence and finally looked like the Allen of his sophomore season. I think you need Allen and Bagley playing both at their full potentional to make a run at a title.

flyingdutchdevil
02-22-2018, 10:58 AM
That might be part of it. If you're not selling out to challenge shots, it's easier to get defensive rebounds. Not saying Bagley does this, but I do remember some specific occasions where Bagley had a chance to go after a shot in the paint, but instead just halfheartedly waved his hand at the shot, or just completely allowed the opposing player to get off an uncontested shot. This doesn't happen when Javin and Wendell are the paint. The shot is either going to be altered/blocked, or Javin is going to get called for a foul. (By the way, how freakin good is Wendell Carter on defense? He blocks EVERYTHING.)

There's clearly a balance that Bagley needs to find. He can't be as reckless as Javin because he needs to stay on the floor, but he also can't just allow uncontested layups.

Lol. Poor Javin. Even in a zone, he loves to foul (yeah, his foul numbers are way down in the last 3 games, but he still fouls a lot).

Javin's aggression on D is amazing. He's got that bulldog mentality. I would hate to play O against him; I'd either get Lebroned on a fast break or fouled aggressively. Regardless, Javin will target me...

Jeffrey
02-22-2018, 10:58 AM
I think that has more to do with the fact that we spent the majority of games trying (and failing) to play man-to-man defense and less to do with Bagley's effort.

When we are starting 4 freshmen, we are asking a lot for them to quickly learn M2M and multiple zones. I'm pleased we seem to now be focusing on zone.

kAzE
02-22-2018, 11:02 AM
Lol. Poor Javin. Even in a zone, he loves to foul (yeah, his foul numbers are way down in the last 3 games, but he still fouls a lot).

Javin's aggression on D is amazing. He's got that bulldog mentality. I would hate to play O against him; I'd either get Lebroned on a fast break or fouled aggressively. Regardless, Javin will target me...

It reminds me almost of the way Grayson used to play, where you were terrified he was going to kill himself on every play. Javin does that now, but on defense.

CDu
02-22-2018, 11:05 AM
That might be part of it. If you're not selling out to challenge shots, it's easier to get defensive rebounds. Not saying Bagley does this, but I do remember some specific occasions where Bagley had a chance to go after a shot in the paint, but instead just halfheartedly waved his hand at the shot, or just completely allowed the opposing player to get off an uncontested shot. This doesn't happen when Javin and Wendell are the paint. The shot is either going to be altered/blocked, or Javin is going to get called for a foul. (By the way, how freakin good is Wendell Carter on defense? He blocks EVERYTHING.)

There's clearly a balance that Bagley needs to find. He can't be as reckless as Javin because he needs to stay on the floor, but he also can't just allow uncontested layups.

Carter is tailor-made for the center in a 2-3 zone. And on the blocks, he's an absolutely elite man-to-man defender too. His only defensive deficiency (and it is a big one) is his ability to defend away from the basket. He is one of the biggest reasons why we are so much better as a zone team than a man-to-man, as he was arguably the least effective big we have (with DeLaurier in the hunt as well because of his proclivity for fouling) at handling high ball screens. Switching to the zone basically eliminated that problem for Carter because it allows him to stay in the paint. Especially so now that we are having the "off-guard" or weakside forward be responsible for defending the free throw line. It is really maximizing what Carter does well - challenging/blocking shots without fouling while also being an uber-elite defensive rebounder. Seriously: Carter is in the 99.7 percentile in shotblock rate and the 99 percentile in defensive rebounding rate. So keeping him near the rim is an absolute godsend to the defense.

The other thing to note is that the zone has really helped another guy immensely: Trevon Duval. Duval REALLY struggled in ball screen situations, and his on-ball reaction times haven't been great. But he's an uber-elite threat in a "free safety" role. The 2-3 zone has basically mitigated his problems with ball screens while also allowing him to really maximize his ballhawking.

Basically, I think the two biggest reasons that we are playing so much better defensively of late is because the zone has largely eliminated the weaknesses of Carter and Duval. To a lesser degree, it has helped Allen and Bagley (he played well in zone too, and I suspect we'll see him play well once he returns to form) as well by allowing them to be more ballhawks than isolated as on-ball defenders. And it has helped DeLaurier by cutting down his foul rate and allowing him to ballhawk too. And it has helped White by allowing him to be a positional defender and rebounder rather than a man without a position in man-to-man defense.

Basically, so many of our players are so perfectly suited to be defenders in a 2-3 zone. It's crazy that we took this long to get there, but I'm glad the staff finally committed to it.

Jeffrey
02-22-2018, 11:10 AM
He is one of the biggest reasons why we are so much better as a zone team than a man-to-man, as he was arguably the least effective big we have (with DeLaurier in the hunt as well because of his proclivity for fouling) at handling high ball screens.

Yep, it was almost as bad as Okafor. At least with Okafor, we had Jefferson.

kAzE
02-22-2018, 11:14 AM
Carter is tailor-made for the center in a 2-3 zone. And on the blocks, he's an absolutely elite man-to-man defender too. His only defensive deficiency (and it is a big one) is his ability to defend away from the basket. He is one of the biggest reasons why we are so much better as a zone team than a man-to-man, as he was arguably the least effective big we have (with DeLaurier in the hunt as well because of his proclivity for fouling) at handling high ball screens. Switching to the zone basically eliminated that problem for Carter because it allows him to stay in the paint. Especially so now that we are having the "off-guard" or weakside forward be responsible for defending the free throw line. It is really maximizing what Carter does well - challenging/blocking shots without fouling while also being an uber-elite defensive rebounder. Seriously: Carter is in the 99.7 percentile in shotblock rate and the 99 percentile in defensive rebounding rate. So keeping him near the rim is an absolute godsend to the defense.

The other thing to note is that the zone has really helped another guy immensely: Trevon Duval. Duval REALLY struggled in ball screen situations, and his on-ball reaction times haven't been great. But he's an uber-elite threat in a "free safety" role. The 2-3 zone has basically mitigated his problems with ball screens while also allowing him to really maximize his ballhawking.

Basically, I think the two biggest reasons that we are playing so much better defensively of late is because the zone has largely eliminated the weaknesses of Carter and Duval. To a lesser degree, it has helped Allen and Bagley (he played well in zone too, and I suspect we'll see him play well once he returns to form) as well by allowing them to be more ballhawks than isolated as on-ball defenders. And it has helped DeLaurier by cutting down his foul rate and allowing him to ballhawk too. And it has helped White by allowing him to be a positional defender and rebounder rather than a man without a position in man-to-man defense.

Basically, so many of our players are so perfectly suited to be defenders in a 2-3 zone. It's crazy that we took this long to get there, but I'm glad the staff finally committed to it.

Can't spork you, but this is right on. However, I don't believe the coaching staff just didn't know how much better we are at zone. I think they knew very early on that zone would be very effective with this group. My hunch is that they just really wanted to see if we could get better at M2M over time. Did it cost us a few wins? Very possible. But in the long run, it doesn't matter. The M2M experiment seems to have failed, so now we're playing zone full time, as many of us predicted we would.

Jeffrey
02-22-2018, 11:19 AM
Basically, so many of our players are so perfectly suited to be defenders in a 2-3 zone. It's crazy that we took this long to get there, but I'm glad the staff finally committed to it.

Yep, we would have been pick & rolled right out of the tournament.

Jeffrey
02-22-2018, 11:22 AM
However, I don't believe the coaching staff just didn't know how much better we are at zone. I think they knew very early on that zone would be very effective with this group. My hunch is that they just really wanted to see if we could get better at M2M over time.

I think they were hoping to have a 2015 repeat of a team learning to play M2M by March. In January, the 2015 team would have also been pick & rolled right out of the tournament.

CDu
02-22-2018, 11:23 AM
Can't spork you, but this is right on. However, I don't believe the coaching staff just didn't know how much better we are at zone. I think they knew very early on that zone would be very effective with this group. My hunch is that they just really wanted to see if we could get better at M2M over time. Did it cost us a few wins? Very possible. But in the long run, it doesn't matter. The M2M experiment seems to have failed, so now we're playing zone full time, as many of us predicted we would.

Yeah, I agree that they probably recognized this early on. What I meant was that they finally committed to it and gave up on the dream of converting this to a man-to-man team. You can see it in the progression throughout the season. When things looked bleak within a game, we'd switch to zone, and that would often spur a big run. But the next game, we'd go back to man-to-man and try again. And we tried a number of different solutions in man-to-man, but none seemed to work with any consistency. Finally, with Bagley hurt and Bolden and DeLaurier still playing their way back into shape, we decided to go zone for a full game to survive 40 minutes. And then we had the miraculous performance in zone against Va Tech, and the staff finally decided it was time to commit to the zone.

trinity92
02-22-2018, 11:34 AM
There's clearly a balance that Bagley needs to find. He can't be as reckless as Javin because he needs to stay on the floor, but he also can't just allow uncontested layups.

Maybe turning MBIII loose on defense with license to foul would be a great way to get him back on the court. Let him be reckless and foul, and no matter what, weíre guaranteed to get a lot more minutes out of him than we have been while heís sitting.

53n206
02-22-2018, 11:44 AM
Whatever!!-Regardless!! I like the way we are playing now.

DarkstarWahoo
02-22-2018, 11:45 AM
Put Javin and Marvin in a gene splicing machine. Rename the combined athlete "Jarvin". Allow that player to play 40 min a game.

One of my favorite old Bill Simmons bits was his suggestion to combine Stromile Swift and the late Lorenzen Wright, for fantasy purposes, into one player named Stromenzen Wrift.

UrinalCake
02-22-2018, 11:59 AM
Based on the recent Scheyer interview (shout out to the DBR podcast!) it sounds like the original plan was to use M2M as our primary defense and to use the zone as a change of pace during the game in order to disrupt the offense as they were unprepared for it. The belief was that the zone wouldn't be as effective if used for an entire game because the other team would adjust to it and in the bigger picture teams would game plan around it.

We finally flipped the switch to now using zone as our primary defense. It remains to be seen whether we will try to sprinkle in some M2M and use THAT as the change of pace. It also remains to be seen whether opponents will eventually find ways to solve the zone once they have more game film on it.

OZ
02-22-2018, 12:07 PM
I agree with others than this shouldn't be a huge problem for Duke. Even those Bagley has been the focal point of your offense, he isn't a ball hog or shown to play poorly when he doesnt' get the ball as much as he thinks he should.

My biggest concern is that Allen has really stepped up in Bagley's abscence and finally looked like the Allen of his sophomore season. I think you need Allen and Bagley playing both at their full potentional to make a run at a title.

"Nail on the head" post. The team has changed defense since Bagley left; it will take him time to adjust. But, with his attitude and ability, that shouldn't take long. My major concern is Allen... DON"T change a thing about his present role. He is the difference maker in how far we go from here.

Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15
02-22-2018, 12:19 PM
Count me in as not at all worried about integrating Bags. If/when he comes back, it will be a turbo boost.

kAzE
02-22-2018, 12:27 PM
"Nail on the head" post. The team has changed defense since Bagley left; it will take him time to adjust. But, with his attitude and ability, that shouldn't take long. My major concern is Allen... DON"T change a thing about his present role. He is the difference maker in how far we go from here.

Well, unfortunately, that's not really going to be possible when Bagley comes back. In order for Grayson to keep playing this current role (taking 15-20 shots a game), Bagley would need to become a secondary option on offense. The key will be in finding the perfect balance between those two. Grayson has to be able to find Bagley in the post, but Bagley can't just continue to be a black hole, either. He needs to try to look for Grayson and help Grayson get some shots, too.

jv001
02-22-2018, 12:34 PM
Some really good posts on this thread. Not much to add but one thing that Coach K may have up his sleeve come tournament time would be switching zone defenses. Matter of fact it seems our 2-3 zone is changing according to the opponent and sometimes a certain player. Last night Grayson was motioning to Trevon and Gary where Louisville's really good 3 point shooters were. I have been impressed how Grayson has stepped up in his captains role. His experience has really helped the freshmen. GoDuke!

jv001
02-22-2018, 12:42 PM
Well, unfortunately, that's not really going to be possible when Bagley comes back. In order for Grayson to keep playing this current role (taking 15-20 shots a game), Bagley would need to become a secondary option on offense. The key will be in finding the perfect balance between those two. Grayson has to be able to find Bagley in the post, but Bagley can't just continue to be a black hole, either. He needs to try to look for Grayson and help Grayson get some shots, too.

You have hit on what I think will be the most important thing the coaches will have to work on when/if MBIII returns. That's keeping the offense running through Grayson without him losing his aggressiveness. It was apparent Grayson was deferring to Marvin before the injury. Teams learned how to defend Marvin and the ball stopped moving. Sort of like you said, a black hole. If Marvin will pass out of double teams and not try to dribble out of them, the offense will be fine. Of course it would be great if Marvin decided to go to his right and use his right hand. GoDuke!

Jeffrey
02-22-2018, 12:44 PM
The key will be in finding the perfect balance between those two. Grayson has to be able to find Bagley in the post, but Bagley can't just continue to be a black hole, either. He needs to try to look for Grayson and help Grayson get some shots, too.

IMO, it was mostly a spacing issue and a lot of that has already been addressed by moving Grayson to the point.

dukelifer
02-22-2018, 12:51 PM
Count me in as not at all worried about integrating Bags. If/when he comes back, it will be a turbo boost.

If Bags can focus on defensive rebounding and give more punch than Javin on Offense - Duke will be a better team. I do think that Javin is a better more natural defender- so that is something to watch. But Bags will help in those moments where the offense can stall as he can create as well. Duke is playing much better of late- the D is confusing opponents- and perhaps Allen is peaking at the right time. Still need to see a bit more to be convinced.

Troublemaker
02-22-2018, 12:51 PM
Can't spork you, but this is right on. However, I don't believe the coaching staff just didn't know how much better we are at zone. I think they knew very early on that zone would be very effective with this group. My hunch is that they just really wanted to see if we could get better at M2M over time. Did it cost us a few wins? Very possible. But in the long run, it doesn't matter. The M2M experiment seems to have failed, so now we're playing zone full time, as many of us predicted we would.


Yeah, I agree that they probably recognized this early on. What I meant was that they finally committed to it and gave up on the dream of converting this to a man-to-man team. You can see it in the progression throughout the season. When things looked bleak within a game, we'd switch to zone, and that would often spur a big run. But the next game, we'd go back to man-to-man and try again. And we tried a number of different solutions in man-to-man, but none seemed to work with any consistency. Finally, with Bagley hurt and Bolden and DeLaurier still playing their way back into shape, we decided to go zone for a full game to survive 40 minutes. And then we had the miraculous performance in zone against Va Tech, and the staff finally decided it was time to commit to the zone.

Considering how we can count the number of zone-first teams around the country on one hand (if we can even get up to 5), I think Coach K and the staff deserve a lot of credit for making the transition. (Not that either of you guys are saying otherwise). College basketball coaches just don't seem to like playing zone (or at least they prefer to be man-first), and I'm sure they have some logical reasons why if we surveyed them.

It took awhile for Coach K to go zone-first but it did not take awhile for Coach K to go zone. He already had the team practicing zone pretty extensively in the preseason and was stating in press conferences that we would be a good zone team. And then, while we played m2m first in most of our games, he always used zone very liberally, particular in 2nd halves of games. That was how everyone -- including the staff -- could notice that this team was good in zone.

So, kudos to the staff for making the full transition eventually. I'm not sure many coaches would've done the same. And that doesn't get into how it's not as simple as just saying "Let's go play zone." You have to have the knowledge of how to implement one (which Coach K learned from his friend and USA assistant Boeheim), and you have to know what drills to run in practice for the players to improve and play it well, and you have to be know all the adjustments you can make within the zone to take away whatever the opponent is hurting you with.

WVDUKEFAN
02-22-2018, 01:02 PM
Maybe I'm being too optimistic, but I don't see MB III's reacclimation into the line up as a problem, especially from the offensive end. As others have posted, limited minutes to start until he knocks the rust off is a good approach. I would like to see how he handles the defense. As a team, the defense is really starting to get good. The bigger picture here is that psychologically, the team has learned they are not as dependent on him as they might have thought they were (not that they ever really needed to be - he didn't need to score 25 points a game for them to win, but that's what was happening). I also think he's learned a lot sitting on the bench next to the coaches. He can obviously play the game, but he got to observe it a lot more. Seeing it in the game and getting that instant feedback is better than film study. We also have a comfort level of rotating Marques and Jav into the mix at any juncture. While neither is an MBIII, we are going to get solid minutes. They both played great last night - blocks, dunks, and being really active on both ends of the floor. I think the combination of Grayson running the point and the commitment to zone defense were great choices. We still haven't seen the best Duke basketball to be played this season in my opinion.

COYS
02-22-2018, 01:17 PM
Count me as another who is not too worried about Marvin coming back. As has been discussed, already, any comparison with Kyrie's return seems strained, at best. Even if Marvin sits until the postseason, he still While his defense has been hit or miss, it is also worth noting that he was shouldering an insanely large offensive load this season, as well. It's very hard to be a really good two-way player who is also a high-usage player on offense . . . especially as a freshman. I think zone will help him because he won't have to chase guards around the perimeter anymore.

I am curious to see how Grayson adapts. I'm actually a little skeptical that Grayson has struggled more with Bagley for any X's/O's reason. Javin and Marques spend less time on the perimeter than Marvin and Wendell do, so I don't think it's as simple as saying that our two bigs clog the lane for Grayson. And even in the MSU game when Grayson did his best JJ impression, he hit a lot of threes . . . many of them difficult shots . . . that he can take just as easily with Marvin on the floor or not.

Marvin's absence also corresponded with Grayson's move to primary point guard. It's possible that THIS move has actually been more significant for his jump in performance than the absence of Marvin. His total shots might decrease a little when Marvin comes back, but hopefully his new-found ability to pilot the offense and get points for himself will remain.

Dukehky
02-22-2018, 01:27 PM
I'm not worried at all.

Our defensive scheme has changed to the point where he has a very defined role. I know people love Javin, but Javin isn't a better defender than Bagley. Put Bagley down there with Carter and Trent, and he's got an area to cover. He can do that.

Offensively, I just don't see the issue. it's not Kyrie, it's not the point guard. He doesn't have the ball in his hands all the time. We've been playing 2 bigs the entire time. So instead of having Javin or Bolden in, we have Bagley, who is MORE of a stretch 4, or we can put Bagley on the block and let Carter stretch it out.

I don't buy the lack of driving lanes for Duval and Grayson with Bagley and Carter out there either. You don't have to guard Javin or Marques. You can spread it out and let them drive, except you have guys who the other team has to guard on the perimeter.

I know that it's scary to change something up when we're playing so well. The only thing Bagley has to focus on doing a little more than when he last played is making the extra pass or kicking it out of a double team every once and a while.

Duke got a lot better when Brand came back in 1998, when Boozer came back in 2001, and even when Kelly came back in 2013 (even though he didn't play that well after Miami).

We're reintegrating the best player in the country who has missed 4 games. I doubt he misses 5. Let's not get crazy. We're going to beat the absolute hell out of teams with him on the court while playing this kind of D (again, I don't think he hurts us on defense, but if you do, then fine, he's going to more than make up for however much better you think Javin is than him on defense in how much better he is on offense).

Bagley's defensive issues have been on communication. He's a decent rim protector and is actually pretty good as an on ball guy. I'm not worried about putting a 7 foot freak in the zone.

Nugget
02-22-2018, 01:37 PM
I don't prefer DeLaurier defensively to Bagley. And I'm not worried about the defense when Bagley comes back. We were a very good team in zone defense with Bagley. We've been a very good team in zone defense without Bagley. The difference is that we've finally committed to playing exclusively zone since Bagley went out, whereas we still trying like all heck to be a man-to-man team prior to Georgia Tech.

I agree with this -- Marvin ought to be able to replicate what Javin is doing in the zone on defense and having Marvin on offense is a massive upgrade.

Javin is certainly giving it is his all, but the other teams don't respect him as an offensive threat and the more minutes we play with both he and Trevon on the floor, the more we handcuff ourselves offensively with two guys on the floor whom the other team can pretty much always help off of.

907bluedevils
02-22-2018, 02:16 PM
There shouldn't be any issue with MBIII getting back into the swing of things. Although I do like how Javin's been playing, but I can pretty much guarantee that any important game Duke plays the rest of the year including the tourney that MBIII should be getting much more playing time than Javin, if not all of it. You don't really bench a ACC and national POY candidate. The team is better with him on the court.

TruBlu
02-22-2018, 02:44 PM
I agree with those who donít see a problem with Marvin coming back. He has had multiple games of being able to observe our zone defense to know whatís expected, and Iím sure he is being coached up on that as well.

On offense, he needs to understand when heís being double teamed, and find the open man (another big on the inside or a slashing Duvall, or an open 3 point shooter on the outside - not Duvall). Again, Iím sure heís being coached up on that as well.

We need to continue using our bench to give our starters a rest, and to bring fresh energy into the game.

Troublemaker
02-22-2018, 03:12 PM
There shouldn't be any issue with MBIII getting back into the swing of things. Although I do like how Javin's been playing, but I can pretty much guarantee that any important game Duke plays the rest of the year including the tourney that MBIII should be getting much more playing time than Javin, if not all of it. You don't really bench a ACC and national POY candidate. The team is better with him on the court.

Literally no one is suggesting that Marvin should be benched. Obviously we all want him to be worked back into the rotation. The discussion is more about (a) what is the right way to go about doing that and (b) what is the level of concern we have about his re-acclimation disrupting how well things are going.

On a Concern-o-Meter that goes from 1 to 10, my concern is a 2 or 3. It could not have possibly been a 5 or higher; as others have written, he's not a ball-dominant guard and might slide back into the rotation fairly seamlessly.

That said, my concern is also not a 0. While it would make sense for Grayson to continue to hunt his shot and stay aggressive even with Marvin back, I want to see him do that first instead of just assuming that he will. It was weird in the first place that Grayson had become so deferential. And, likewise, while it would make sense that Marvin could use his athleticism to be a consistently active and disruptive defender for 30-35 mpg in a zone, I will also wait and see on that.

OZ
02-22-2018, 03:23 PM
Well, unfortunately, that's not really going to be possible when Bagley comes back. In order for Grayson to keep playing this current role (taking 15-20 shots a game), Bagley would need to become a secondary option on offense. The key will be in finding the perfect balance between those two. Grayson has to be able to find Bagley in the post, but Bagley can't just continue to be a black hole, either. He needs to try to look for Grayson and help Grayson get some shots, too.

Totally agree; but, I was speaking of more than number of shots. Allen has taken more of a point guard responsibility. He has the keys now. He needs to keep them. As far as Allen's offense, the BOLDEN part of your post works for me.

CDu
02-22-2018, 03:54 PM
Considering how we can count the number of zone-first teams around the country on one hand (if we can even get up to 5), I think Coach K and the staff deserve a lot of credit for making the transition. (Not that either of you guys are saying otherwise). College basketball coaches just don't seem to like playing zone (or at least they prefer to be man-first), and I'm sure they have some logical reasons why if we surveyed them.

An aside, but I think you might be underestimating the number of teams going zone. Obviously Syracuse, Louisville, Baylor, and Duke (this year) are primarily zone teams. But Xavier, Michigan, and West Virginia do too. Even Villanova played zone in their championship run. And that is just among the teams that frequently are in the top-25. I think I read somewhere that as of 2013, over 20% of all D1 defensive possessions were some sort of zone, and that number was on the rise.

And it makes sense. The rules changes for freedom of movement are a big part of it. But also the shot clock being shortened to 30 seconds, which makes two zone benefits: more possessions mean more chances to foul, and zones save foul trouble; and zones eat up the already-short shot clock.

Troublemaker
02-22-2018, 04:17 PM
An aside, but I think you might be underestimating the number of teams going zone. Obviously Syracuse, Louisville, Baylor, and Duke (this year) are primarily zone teams. But Xavier, Michigan, and West Virginia do too. Even Villanova played zone in their championship run. And that is just among the teams that frequently are in the top-25. I think I read somewhere that as of 2013, over 20% of all D1 defensive possessions were some sort of zone, and that number was on the rise.

And it makes sense. The rules changes for freedom of movement are a big part of it. But also the shot clock being shortened to 30 seconds, which makes two zone benefits: more possessions mean more chances to foul, and zones save foul trouble; and zones eat up the already-short shot clock.

The 20% wouldn't surprise me. That's probably around the percentage Duke was at this season before going zone-first. Most teams have zone as a secondary defense and will play it some. But I'm talking about the number of zone-first teams like what Duke has converted into being, particularly in the power conferences. I personally can't name 5.

Syracuse, Baylor, and Louisville (matchup, but they also play straight man some) are what I have. I think the other teams you mention play some zone but are still primarily man teams. For example, in this WaPo article about Baylor last season, there is this quote (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fancy-stats/wp/2017/01/10/the-key-reason-the-baylor-bears-became-the-no-1-team-in-college-basketball/?utm_term=.b6a3a60f4513): According to Synergy Sports, only two other high-major squads use zone more frequently than the Bears (57 percent of its possessions)

So what Duke is doing is pretty rare. And I commend Coach K and staff for doing it.

MChambers
02-22-2018, 04:54 PM
Can't spork you, but this is right on. However, I don't believe the coaching staff just didn't know how much better we are at zone. I think they knew very early on that zone would be very effective with this group. My hunch is that they just really wanted to see if we could get better at M2M over time. Did it cost us a few wins? Very possible. But in the long run, it doesn't matter. The M2M experiment seems to have failed, so now we're playing zone full time, as many of us predicted we would.

I bet we'll see some M2M, perhaps Saturday. K said they are still working on it. Won't be used as much, however.

MChambers
02-22-2018, 04:56 PM
It's a really nice problem to have. In fact, it's not a problem.

Jeffrey
02-22-2018, 05:51 PM
It's a really nice problem to have. In fact, it's not a problem.

Does that leave us with "It's really nice"? If so, I agree!

CDu
02-22-2018, 06:14 PM
The 20% wouldn't surprise me. That's probably around the percentage Duke was at this season before going zone-first. Most teams have zone as a secondary defense and will play it some. But I'm talking about the number of zone-first teams like what Duke has converted into being, particularly in the power conferences. I personally can't name 5.

Syracuse, Baylor, and Louisville (matchup, but they also play straight man some) are what I have. I think the other teams you mention play some zone but are still primarily man teams. For example, in this WaPo article about Baylor last season, there is this quote (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fancy-stats/wp/2017/01/10/the-key-reason-the-baylor-bears-became-the-no-1-team-in-college-basketball/?utm_term=.b6a3a60f4513): According to Synergy Sports, only two other high-major squads use zone more frequently than the Bears (57 percent of its possessions)

So what Duke is doing is pretty rare. And I commend Coach K and staff for doing it.

The 20% and rising was for all of D1, whereas the quote you mentioned was for high-major teams only. The fact that high-major teams donít play it much (only a handful play it more than 50% of the time) means that somebody below the high-major teams is doing it a lot.

Beilein has long been a zone coach, primarily 1-3-1. He appears to be playing it less often this year with Michigan, but it is a big part of what he likes to do. He is sort of doing the opposite of Coach K right now: playing more man because his players arenít tuned in to the zone. West Virginia runs a full-court press (by definition a zone) as its primary defense, with a 1-3-1 zone and man-to-man as secondary defenses. It appears that Synergy differentiates between a press and zone, which is probably why WV doesnít get categorized like Baylor or Syracuse.

You are certainly correct that among the power-6 conferences the zone is rare. So in that sense, what Duke is doing is indeed rare. My point was more that there are surely teams at the mid-major and below that play it fairly regularly in order for D1 to have 20+% of possessions be in zone.

Ian
02-22-2018, 06:43 PM
Definitely reduce the number of post ups by Bagley. Let Bagley be the guy waiting for the pass off penetration, and tell him to go chase down offensive rebound putbacks with abandon. Play defense with controlled aggression as we aren't afraid of him getting into foul trouble, and kick it out more when post ups aren't there instead of forcing it up.

Jeffrey
02-22-2018, 06:59 PM
... tell him to go chase down offensive rebound putbacks with abandon. Play defense with controlled aggression as we aren't afraid of him getting into foul trouble...

I don't want to see our best player and probably our GOAT freshman in foul trouble. Amazing how many here are discussing a 22/11 freshman who uses the court as a trampoline.

Troublemaker
02-22-2018, 08:29 PM
The 20% and rising was for all of D1, whereas the quote you mentioned was for high-major teams only. The fact that high-major teams donít play it much (only a handful play it more than 50% of the time) means that somebody below the high-major teams is doing it a lot.

Beilein has long been a zone coach, primarily 1-3-1. He appears to be playing it less often this year with Michigan, but it is a big part of what he likes to do. He is sort of doing the opposite of Coach K right now: playing more man because his players arenít tuned in to the zone. West Virginia runs a full-court press (by definition a zone) as its primary defense, with a 1-3-1 zone and man-to-man as secondary defenses. It appears that Synergy differentiates between a press and zone, which is probably why WV doesnít get categorized like Baylor or Syracuse.

You are certainly correct that among the power-6 conferences the zone is rare. So in that sense, what Duke is doing is indeed rare. My point was more that there are surely teams at the mid-major and below that play it fairly regularly in order for D1 to have 20+% of possessions be in zone.

The bolded sentences are all I was saying, CDu. It's true that I could've been more specific in my original post, but when I was talking about counting up zone-first teams around the country, I was not expecting folks to know whether Abilene Christian is zone-first or not. It's the teams we watch on TV that interested me.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if zone-first teams were rare even at the mid or low major levels despite the 20% number. The two variables we are missing are (A) how many teams in all D1 play zone as a secondary defense and (B) on average, what percentage of possessions are those teams playing zone? Depending on what A and B are, zone-first teams can be rare or fairly regular, as you put it, to account for the 20%.

CDu
02-22-2018, 08:57 PM
The bolded sentences are all I was saying, CDu. It's true that I could've been more specific in my original post, but when I was talking about counting up zone-first teams around the country, I was not expecting folks to know whether Abilene Christian is zone-first or not. It's the teams we watch on TV that interested me.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if zone-first teams were rare even at the mid or low major levels despite the 20% number. The two variables we are missing are (A) how many teams in all D1 play zone as a secondary defense and (B) on average, what percentage of possessions are those teams playing zone? Depending on what A and B are, zone-first teams can be rare or fairly regular, as you put it, to account for the 20%.

I would expect the zone to be more common at lower levels of D1. There, the quality of athletes drops off, so I would expect more teams to find ways to hide guys. Pretty sure that Rice, for example, is a predominantly 2-3 zone team at the mid-major level. The less athletic your bigs are, they more likely you are to be willing to try to hide them with a zone. But, regardless, I fully agree that at the power 6 level it is rare. Teams are using more zone, but few of the 70-80 power 6 programs use it the majority of the time.

dukelion
02-22-2018, 09:02 PM
Dude missed 4 games not 4 weeks.

He'll be more than fine.

Ian
02-22-2018, 09:23 PM
I don't want to see our best player and probably our GOAT freshman in foul trouble. Amazing how many here are discussing a 22/11 freshman who uses the court as a trampoline.

It's not about wanting him in foul trouble, it's about playing without fear of foul trouble. I don't want him to play soft D after he picks up an early foul because he's afraid to have to sit down for the rest of the 1st half if he picks up 2, but stay aggressive knowing that his teammates can cover for him if he has to sit due to fouls.

Jeffrey
02-22-2018, 11:19 PM
It's not about wanting him in foul trouble, it's about playing without fear of foul trouble. I don't want him to play soft D after he picks up an early foul because he's afraid to have to sit down for the rest of the 1st half if he picks up 2, but stay aggressive knowing that his teammates can cover for him if he has to sit due to fouls.

I'm concerned about our best player being in foul trouble and you are not, correct?

Kedsy
02-23-2018, 12:11 AM
I'm concerned about our best player being in foul trouble and you are not, correct?

You mean Jack White?

Jeffrey
02-23-2018, 08:54 AM
You mean Jack White?

Of course!

Ian
02-23-2018, 10:59 AM
I'm concerned about our best player being in foul trouble and you are not, correct?

I'm more concerned about passive play to avoid fouls than I am about foul trouble.

ArtVandelay
02-23-2018, 12:17 PM
An aside, but I think you might be underestimating the number of teams going zone. Obviously Syracuse, Louisville, Baylor, and Duke (this year) are primarily zone teams. But Xavier, Michigan, and West Virginia do too. Even Villanova played zone in their championship run. And that is just among the teams that frequently are in the top-25. I think I read somewhere that as of 2013, over 20% of all D1 defensive possessions were some sort of zone, and that number was on the rise.

And it makes sense. The rules changes for freedom of movement are a big part of it. But also the shot clock being shortened to 30 seconds, which makes two zone benefits: more possessions mean more chances to foul, and zones save foul trouble; and zones eat up the already-short shot clock.

This interesting discussion between you and TroubleMaker begs the question of *why* a small number of teams play zone first. Surely there's a reason why NBA teams don't play zone too, right? The two of you know a lot more about hoops than me, so I'm curious what your take is. I always assumed it was because zones are actually not that hard to beat, particularly at high levels where you have good shooters and consistent execution. Only a handful of teams with elite athletes and good coaching (e.g. Syracuse) seem to be able to pull a zone off effectively. In particular, my sense has always been that you need long wingspan guys on the outside who can quickly close out on shooters.

What makes me a bit nervous about our recent winning streak, to the extent it's attributable to the zone, is whether it is sustainable, particularly against high-level competition. Now that we look like a zone-first D, teams are going to be able to game plan for it much more thoroughly. Also, surely Coach K thinks a zone is not as effective in a vacuum, otherwise he wouldn't have coached exclusively man for 30+ years and pushed the 2015 squad back into it when the zone appeared to be more effective for a time. So these things concern me.

That said, I liked CDu's post about how the zone hides some of this team's more glaring weaknesses and seems to have emphasized its strengths, so maybe it's the case that this iteration of Duke is the rare breed that actually functions better in a zone. I guess we shall see. But I suspect we're going to start to see M2M sprinkled back in before long. While Coach K has learned some new tricks, he's still an old dog at the end of the day.

DukeHoo
02-23-2018, 12:43 PM
This interesting discussion between you and TroubleMaker begs the question of *why* a small number of teams play zone first. Surely there's a reason why NBA teams don't play zone too, right? The two of you know a lot more about hoops than me, so I'm curious what your take is. I always assumed it was because zones are actually not that hard to beat, particularly at high levels where you have good shooters and consistent execution.

The best explanation I can think of for this is that, if you have players with good lateral quickness and length, man to man produces a more effective defense than zone. Zones give up more open shots than man (usually in well known spots, depending on the type of zone) and make it harder to end defensive possessions by making defensive rebounding harder (since players do not have an obvious opponent to box out as soon as the ball goes up). A team with good ball movement can simply get the ball to the spots where the zone's coverage is weaker (since players may not be certain who is supposed to go to those particular spots), see how the zone recovers, and then pass to a player in the soft spot with the least coverage. It's why people always talk about getting the ball in to the foul line area in a 2-3 zone: you can get the ball to the wings (since it's not clear who recovers to the spot 45 degrees to the basket in a 2-3 zone) if one of the guards comes down or you can get the ball to a cutting player near the basket if the forward comes up. A well played man to man defense simply doesn't give up those sorts of shots frequently, since individual defenders stay on their defensive assignment.

The problem is that man is much tougher to actually play well, since individual players botching their defensive assignments have a much larger effect. Man also relies heavily on effective communication, positioning, and footwork (especially off the ball), which means that teams that struggle with those tend to perform poorly on the defensive end when they play man. Zones just require a player to play well in their area, and don't require the same degree of effort off the ball. Not to say that players aren't required to put in any effort on the weakside, but it's a lot less than man. Players also don't have to worry about how to handle switches and rotations to the same degree as they do in man. They just have to worry about their area.