If we want to avoid the brackish waters of a fringe playoff team we must improve our defense. We were 23rd in defense last year but 4th in offense. Adding 3 point shooters diversifies our offense and would have helped in the playoffs (San Antonio all but dared us to shoot 3's) but that's not what stopping us from being a contender. During the regular season we gave up 99.0 points per game. During the first 3 games of the playoffs we gave up 107.2 points per game. My basic premise is this: We have enough offense to win on most nights but we can't get stops when we need to to win. Here's a look at last season's playoff teams i.e. the teams we need to beat to be a contender.
WESTERN OFFENSIVE RANK DEFENSIVE RANK EASTERN OFFENSIVE RANK DEFENSIVE RANK
OKC 3 17 MIAMI Heat 7 4
SAN ANTONIO 2 16 CHICAGO 18 1
LAKERS 15 15 PACERS 13 10
MEMPHIS 20 5 BOSTON 26 2
CLIPPERS 14 13 ATLANTA 17 6
DENVER 1 29 ORLANDO 21 7
DALLAS 19 12 KNICKS 11 11
JAZZ 4 23 SIXERS 22 3
AVERAGES: OFFENSIVE RANK OF ALL PLAYOFF TEAMS 13.3
DEFENSIVE RANK OF ALL PLAYOFF TEAMS 10.8
What's interesting to note is that only 3 teams were better than us offensively DENVER, SAN ANTONIO, OKC, but only 1 team was worse than us defensively, DENVER. I think DENVER is in the same fringe playoff team boat as we are.
We do have some good individual defenders but our team defense is lacking. We were particularly bad at defending the pick and roll. Just watch the first 3 playoff games as Tony Parker had a field day.
Here's my ideas on how we improve this.
1) Training camp. Last year there was no real training camp to speak of and TY was trying to install a new defensive philosophy.
2) Practice. See idea number 1.
3) Removing Big Al from games when he is unable to stop the pick and roll. This isn't a Big Al bash but FAVORS and KANTER were better at this than Big AL. It also wasn't Devin Harris' fault either. He's quick and has good length but when you get picked off, your'e counting on your center to stop the dribble penetration. Big Al was too ineffective at this. Mo Williams will fare no better if this doesn't change.
These are my ideas but please share yours.