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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Atlanta

    Fast Breaks...this year versus last year

    It just dawned on me that one of the biggest differences this year vs last are the number of fast breaks per game we have witnessed...Haven't looked at the numbers but intuitively it feels like night and day...Top 5 highlights on each game seem to include many more. Mason is getting out on the break at an alarmingly positive rate, Cook and the other guards are pushing much more...we are finishing at a high percentage...I'd say this a major reason we have gotten off to such a great start and can be a real differentiator in a drive to another championship.

    Our more quantitative posters hopefully will see this as a worthy topic for rumination and fill in my many holes of analysis.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Manhattan
    Quote Originally Posted by Duke76 View Post
    It just dawned on me that one of the biggest differences this year vs last are the number of fast breaks per game we have witnessed...Haven't looked at the numbers but intuitively it feels like night and day...Top 5 highlights on each game seem to include many more. Mason is getting out on the break at an alarmingly positive rate, Cook and the other guards are pushing much more...we are finishing at a high percentage...I'd say this a major reason we have gotten off to such a great start and can be a real differentiator in a drive to another championship.

    Our more quantitative posters hopefully will see this as a worthy topic for rumination and fill in my many holes of analysis.
    I think the big difference here is twofold: the improvement of our perimeter defense and the improvement of our guards, particularly Sheed and Cook.

    More steals and disruption happening on the defensive end. We now we have a full complement of guards (Cook and Sheed, especially) who know how to keep their heads up, push the tempo, control the ball in a fast break and look for easy passes to players like Mason, who runs the floor better than any other big man in college basketball IMO. Other guys are following the example and it's a fun team to watch.

    Anybody have any stats on our ability to turn over the ball from last season to this year? That's what's night and day - our defense is miles better than last year and it's showing in all aspects of the game.

    I'd also like to take this opportunity to remind the board at large that Carolina is an awful basketball team. Just thought I'd throw that in there. Go Duke!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Norfolk, VA
    I agree with Native the difference is defense. Fast break opportunities are created by turnovers and rebounds. In the 3-point era, long rebounds off missed bonusphere shots really create an opportunity.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Seattle, WA
    Quote Originally Posted by Duke76 View Post
    It just dawned on me that one of the biggest differences this year vs last are the number of fast breaks per game we have witnessed...Haven't looked at the numbers but intuitively it feels like night and day...Top 5 highlights on each game seem to include many more. Mason is getting out on the break at an alarmingly positive rate, Cook and the other guards are pushing much more...we are finishing at a high percentage...I'd say this a major reason we have gotten off to such a great start and can be a real differentiator in a drive to another championship.

    Our more quantitative posters hopefully will see this as a worthy topic for rumination and fill in my many holes of analysis.
    This is certainly an incomplete measure, since it doesn't take into consideration opportunities, conversion rate, etc., but per the box scores, we have 69 fast break points through 8 games this season compared to 42 through 8 games* last season. So that's certainly consistent with your impressions. Interestingly, we've done better on the break against top competition - 12 against Kentucky, 13 against OSU, and 17 against Louisville, in contrast to 6 against Georgia State and 0 against Gulf-Coast.

    *the box score for last year's Belmont game does not list fast break points, so the 42 points is from games 2-9 (Presbyterian through Colorado State).
    Just be you. You is enough. - K, 4/5/10, 0:13.8 to play, 60-59 Duke.

    You're all jealous hypocrites. - Titus on Laettner

    You see those guys? Animals. They're animals. - SIU Coach Chris Lowery, on Duke

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    North Raleigh
    Another thought to add in to the mix on the topic of an improved D..

    How many Charges have we actually taken this year? (I don't know, I'm asking)
    Sure doesn't seem like very many...

    I think that the Perimeter D is good at staying in front of people so we dont HAVE to do that so much this year.
    A comparison of 8 games in this yr vs: past yrs would be interesting...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Watching carolina Go To HELL!
    Quote Originally Posted by wilko View Post
    Another thought to add in to the mix on the topic of an improved D..

    How many Charges have we actually taken this year? (I don't know, I'm asking)
    Sure doesn't seem like very many...

    I think that the Perimeter D is good at staying in front of people so we dont HAVE to do that so much this year.
    A comparison of 8 games in this yr vs: past yrs would be interesting...
    I think the refs are calling fewer charges this year - the flopping thing and all... Except when they call one of our players for a charge, and then the "other old" rules apply. Just ask devildeac, he'll tell ya!
    Ozzie, your paradigm of optimism!

    Go To Hell carolina, Go To Hell!
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Just down the road :(
    Quote Originally Posted by pfrduke View Post
    ...we have 69 fast break points through 8 games this season compared to 42 through 8 games* last season.
    Ha! If I read that right, it equates to an additional 3.375 fast-break pts per game...or, greater than 1 additional fast-break basket per game than last year!! Thus, it does not appear to be a big difference maker.

    For the 1st 8 games of 2011 & 2012, our steals are 6.225 -> 6.875, and our turnovers forced are 14.75 -> 14.5. This doesn't seem very significant either. Looking at our defensive efficiency, defensive rebound %, and tempo so far this year, I do not suspect fast-breaks are considerably more frequent though I welcome dissenting opinions. My own suspicion is that the visual difference is produced by secondary break and early offense opportunities. We have played some teams with high defensive pressure which, when overcome, leads to the appearance of a break. At any rate, I would love if someone was willing to break down our secondary break schemes from this year vs last year. My gut is that they are similar as, in recollection, it seems Austin's unique role was predominantly in the half-court set.

    This season, I have frequently wondered if we are playing with a different mentality of pacing or if our flow has simply been dictated by the teams we've played. Cook's direct comparison stats against opposing PGs is certainly favorable. However, I personally think Siva, Smith, and Craft outplayed him in directing the games, creating, and isolating mismatches...veteran qualities of the floor general. I don't think we really have an offensive identity yet as the style of games have largely been dictated by our opponents. It is remarkable and exciting that we are good enough to handle that...and kind of cool that the roles and MOTM switches frequently! I am looking forward to Cook (still quite young) growing during this part of the season when he probably won't be spurred on by the grit, heat, and rush that lit him up to date. I have thought that game awareness would flow through Seth or Ryan, but I'll be a happy man if Cook becomes, not just our team leader, but the floor leader.
    Last edited by bedeviled; 12-02-2012 at 02:36 PM. Reason: Edit: I probably should give props to how much our defense affects game flow. Oh well.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by native View Post

    i'd also like to take this opportunity to remind the board at large that carolina is an awful basketball team. Just thought i'd throw that in there. Go duke!
    i concur!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by bedeviled View Post
    Ha! If I read that right, it equates to an additional 3.375 fast-break pts per game...or, greater than 1 additional fast-break basket per game than last year!! Thus, it does not appear to be a big difference maker.
    It's easy to underestimate the statistical significance of what appears to be small number in these kinds of contexts. I actually take the opposite conclusion: that 3.4 points per game in fast breaks is actually really significant. Consider that last season, Duke had seven games where the margin at the end of regulation was less than 3.4 points.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Washington, D.C.

    Agreed

    Quote Originally Posted by Wander View Post
    It's easy to underestimate the statistical significance of what appears to be small number in these kinds of contexts. I actually take the opposite conclusion: that 3.4 points per game in fast breaks is actually really significant. Consider that last season, Duke had seven games where the margin at the end of regulation was less than 3.4 points.
    The other thing to consider how tough Duke's opponents have been this year. It's a lot harder to get fast breaks against good teams, so I view the difference as significant.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Towson, MD
    The #1 reason, far and away, is Quinn Cook is actually getting playing time. He was the only guard on our entire roster last season capable of running fast breaks, but he didn't get substantial playing time. Sulaimon is the second big reason. He also helps generate fast breaks because he is a great defender and can handle the ball in transition.

    Last year we had Rivers, Thornton, and Curry handling the ball most of the time, at least in terms of initiating the offense. After forced turnovers or long defensive rebounds, a vast majority of the time they chose to slow down the tempo, deciding against fast breaking (or starting a secondary fast break), and instead they almost always set up the half court offense. Several of the few fast breaks we did have did not result in converted field goals because Thornton and Rivers simply weren't capable passers in the transition. Rivers in particular turned the ball over quite a few times and had poor judgment and average court vision at best. He frequently held onto the ball too long when he should have passed to an open teammate, frequently leading to an offensive charge, a poor shot that didn't fall, or a bad pass/turnover after turning back from the rim.

    I honestly remember just a handful of successful fast breaks last year, and Cook led most of them. Since he's starting and getting big minutes this year, we've been able to generate a lot more breaks, and we've been able to convert on a majority of them thanks to his passing ability and solid IQ running an offense (in addition to the great play of Sulaimon starting and finishing breaks).

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Atlanta 'burbs

    Fast Breaks and Assists

    In addition to the fast breaks mentioned, our ball movement seems crisper, with less individual dribbling and more passing.

    Through 8 games, against a somewhat comparable schedule (remember we had a tough schedule early last year also), here are the assists averages/game:

    Assists last year - 11.6/game

    Assists this year - 15.6/game


    I haven't looked up the stats (and don't know how), but another general impression for me is that we seem to be getting better shots, earlier in the shot clock. Last year it seemed that we had many more "hurried" shots taken at or near the end of the shot clock.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Just down the road :(
    Quote Originally Posted by Wander View Post
    3.4 points per game in fast breaks is actually really significant. Consider that last season, Duke had seven games where the margin at the end of regulation was less than 3.4 points.
    Good point. I agree with the importance of points themselves. To factor that in, I looked back at the total number of points for 8 games each season (using the games designated by pfrduke). We scored 629 and 630 in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Thus, it is not like we are getting an extra 3.4 points per game; the points are just coming from somewhere else. Is the shift in fast-break vs somewhere else significant? I don't think so as it is 1-2 baskets per game. It's less than 3% of our possessions (Our tempo was 68.5 in 2011 (8games) and 69.25 in 2012).

    It would be fun to be run-and-gun, and we may very well eventually be that team. Right now, though, I don't think the numbers support a change to a fast-breaking team being "a big difference" between 2011 and 2012. After all, with essentially the same number of steals, forced turnovers, tempo, and a not-so-glorious rate of defensive rebounds, it's hard for me to justify where an increase in fast breaks would fit in (so pfrduke's #s make sense to me). As I stated, I suspect the pace and breaks we see visually are predominantly in secondary and early offense when we have broken the pressure defenses we've faced.

    Quote Originally Posted by MChambers View Post
    The other thing to consider how tough Duke's opponents have been this year. It's a lot harder to get fast breaks against good teams, so I view the difference as significant.
    I quoted this, just to "like" it as a nervous fan. Of course, it is hard to score by any means against the teams we've faced. Thus scoring 2 easy lay-ups is soooo much nicer than having to fight for those buckets in half-court.

  14. #14
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    Feb 2007

  15. #15
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    Mar 2007
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    Atlanta
    Quote Originally Posted by Duvall View Post
    Thanks for the Collins video and it appears there is some validity to what most of us are seeing....fast breaks also tire the other team out leading to pressure and turnovers...another added benefit...wonder what the opponents turnover average is this yr compared to last? It all kinda works together...bottomline I am stoked about the quality of our team this yr

  16. #16
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    Mar 2007
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    Atlanta
    Quote Originally Posted by TruBlu View Post
    In addition to the fast breaks mentioned, our ball movement seems crisper, with less individual dribbling and more passing.

    Through 8 games, against a somewhat comparable schedule (remember we had a tough schedule early last year also), here are the assists averages/game:

    Assists last year - 11.6/game

    Assists this year - 15.6/game


    I haven't looked up the stats (and don't know how), but another general impression for me is that we seem to be getting better shots, earlier in the shot clock. Last year it seemed that we had many more "hurried" shots taken at or near the end of the shot clock.
    Agree with all of the above as well...basketball is some much fun to watch when played the way the greats have always taught and played it

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Lewisville, NC

    Transition Offense

    From Duke Blue Planet and Coach Chris Collins:

    Blue Print: Transition Offense

    Good stuff, and a key area of improvement.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by OZZIE4DUKE View Post
    I think the refs are calling fewer charges this year - the flopping thing and all... Except when they call one of our players for a charge, and then the "other old" rules apply. Just ask devildeac, he'll tell ya!
    I don't think I've seen much of Duke's trying to "take the charge"... is that accurate? But, I do remember seeing a lot of Duke "taking the charge" and winning the call... Seems like they are "picking their spots" ...

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Just down the road :(
    Quote Originally Posted by wilko View Post
    How many Charges have we actually taken this year?
    The best I can piece together from play-by-play is that we averaged drawing 2 offensive fouls (not necessarily charges) per game in the first 8 games last year, 2 per game in the last 8 games last year, and 2.25 per game so far this year. It's shoddy data with no context, but no one answered with bettter stuff

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Just down the road :(
    Thanks for the C.Collins video and response. Now I know why I felt like a jerk trying to figure out why the fast break stats didn’t reflect the real-time visual experience…it’s those darn semantics!! My understanding is that the majority of the clips in the video are Duke “getting out on the break” or “getting out in transition” but are not “fast break” plays. Thus, they would not show up in the official fast break stats. Nit-picking, I know. The bottom line is that Duke is pushing the ball in transition. (My error, though, was more than semantics. I had suspected our visual speed was due to breaking pressure, but the clips provided are from possessions where the pressure was never set).

    If you’re bored by the semantics, I suggest you stop reading this post now But, I will continue on in case other people share my interests and can help me learn more about game analysis. I’m just a casual/lay fan, so I’d really appreciate if someone corrects me if I’m wrong (Please imagine that every sentence starts with “from what I understand”)! Here’s my conception of transition offense…

    FAST BREAK: My impression is that a fast break (fb) is when the O is out in front of the D, creating a man-advantage. Given that we have not played lazy defenses this year, it would be hard to accomplish an increase in fbs without an increase in steals/turnovers. Unless, of course, we turned into Loyola Marymount and started shooting outlet passes to sprinting lanes. I think the relative emphasis in fast break offense is on the sprinter's path so that the gunner knows where to fire the outlet and keep the man-advantage toward the basket.

    I spent too much time in vain this morning trying to find the official criteria for a fast break (so, if there is a score keeper in the house, please speak up). I know it must be super easy to find, but I couldn’t do it. The NCAA basketball rulebook refers to “establishing a position in any outnumbering fast break situation” when referring to blocking fouls, but that’s all I found. For the NBA, I found a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel link that states the following:
    “The fast-break points that appear in the official box score are determined by a cut-and-dried definition that is used by the league’s scorekeepers. The Bucks, though, chart fast-break points in a different way, using a bit more leeway and interpretation to determine what qualifies as fast-break points. The Bucks also take into consideration points that are scored off the “secondary” break, when there is a pass or two involved before the basket is score."
    This quote suggests that the NBA has additional criteria besides man-advantage.

    SECONDARY BREAK: If no fb, or “primary break,” is available, an O transitions into the “secondary break.” Here, they are attacking a defense that is present but not set. Obviously, this can have a different strategy than a 2-on-1 or 3-on-2 scenario though they are often of the same flow. Also, a secondary break (sb) is more likely to include all 5 O team members making their way downcourt. Many sb begin with putting the ball in the PG’s hands to initiate O. The emphasis for the runners becomes more weighted toward the spots they are to occupy. This is seen in Florida’s sb where Noah is more intent on getting to his block than looking for the pass. The Chris Collins video details Duke’s initial spots. Unfortunately, for us armchair PGs, he only shows easy baskets without breaking down how our set evolves from there. (Here’s a bonus link to videos of Chris running transition drills. I had heard rumor that Izzo incorporated helmets & pads in practices, and it turns out we use blocking pads, too!)

    EARLY OFFENSE: Secondary break systems very often include “quick hitter” or “early offense” plays while the lumbering giants make their way downcourt and/or the defense is trying to get its bearings. There is lots of stuff on how UNC’s transition offense evolves from fast break to early offense online. Finally, the O transitions fully from the early offense into its half-court set.

    Sorry about the length. I hope the content is valid.

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