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Cole Aldrich: a Defensive Illustration

Royce Young at DailyThunder posted a video for the Thunder faithful, featuring rookie Cole Aldrich, along with Young’s analysis.  Please read his first, and then I have a few additional comments.

Cole Aldrich’s Defense

Granted, that game was not an overall positive reflection of the Thunder’s interior defense.  On a case by case basis though, Royce takes a closer look at two specific plays that actually mattered when the game was close.

Here’s the video he’s using for his analysis:

In the first scenario that Young highlights, Aldrich is using his body effectively to prevent a superior low post player from getting to his spot.  For a classic back to the basket post player like Jefferson, he is typically going to have two to three specific spots he wants to get to on the court.  Starting out on the block, the offensive player is normally going to pivot either into the lane or to the baseline for a hook shot, a fade-away (0.00), or an up-and-under move.  The biggest key for the defender is what he does before the offensive player even catches the ball.  By pushing the player away from the basket and away from his preferred position, Aldrich is forcing him to take a lower percentage shot.  In this example, he has forced Jefferson just an extra foot or so away from the rim, but you can see that this is all it takes, because Jefferson front-rims his hook shot.

In the second scenario that Young highlights, the Jazz are using a back pick screen to rub Miles’ defender off of him so that he can get into the lane.  Aldrich feels the screen coming without seeing it (and perhaps his teammate communicated it effectively to him as well) so that when Miles came off the curl, Aldrich challenged the passing lane by “showing” his defensive posture.  And yet, he didn’t over-commit and leave Jefferson.  In doing so, it allowed Aldrich to filter Miles into the lane at a difficult angle where the shot was challenged, while simultaneously sealing off Jefferson from either a pass or a rebound.  It is fluid and innate, and the Thunder will need more of this classic post defensive play if they are to cleanse their wounds effectively.

Thanks to Young for putting this little video together.

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