I’ve had some thoughts rolling around my head about what Mark Adams’ team is going to look like based on the hires that Adams has made. Adams has hired Barret Peery and discussed hiring South Plains head coach Steve Green and I am thinking that there are parts of what they do really well that Adams wants to introduce into how Texas Tech plays..
The first thing that I wanted to do is take a look at some of the advanced stats for Peery’s Portland State teams, courtesy of T-Rank. The easy thing that stood out for me was that Peery’s teams were 16th in the nation in forcing teams to turn over the ball and 25th in the nation in limiting opponents grabbing offensive boards. Peery’s press is something that we’ll get to in a second, but they key is the elite pressure and then also not allowing second chance points.
It should also be noted that the offense wasn’t great, Portland State wasn’t a great shooting team last year, 335th in eFG%, 329th in 3-point shooting percentage and 319th in 2-pont shooting percentage. But it should be noted that Portland State did two things really well offensively, they rebounded the heck out of the ball on the offensive end, 92nd in the nation, creating more opportunities offensively, and they they also shot free throws at a pretty high rate, 85th in the nation.
Now at this point, you’re probably thinking that Peery and offense don’t go together, that he’s purely an offensive guy, but let’s look at numbers from 2020 where Portland State was terrific offensively, 56th in the nation in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, the Vikings were 6th in the nation in offensive rebounding and very much limited turnovers, 88th in the nation. Defensively though, Portland State struggled, 296th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, still relatively high turnover rate, 85th in the nation, but the other metrics weren’t so great. That high-end offense and low-end defense ended up resulting in an 18-14 record, 12-8 in conference.
If I had to guess, my thought would be that sometimes, as a coach, you play the hand that’s dealt to you, the 2020 Portland State team was guard-heavy, while the 2021 Portland State team featured two 6’10” post players who were a big part of the team, most likely anchors on the press that help make that machine go.
With Steve Green, this is a different situation and one where there’s more of a family connection. Aside from being a long-time coach at South Plains, Green has been a family friend, Adams said that Green was in Adams’ wedding, but in addition to that Luke Adams, the former Red Raider basketballer and current head coach at New Mexico Junior College, where Luke was an assistant with Green at South Plains for two seasons and an even deeper connection? How about how Green’s first college job was as a graduate assistant to Eddie Sutton at Arkansas.
Green went from a guy who was successful and could have probably skated for the rest of his career to a guy who was featured in the New York Times for figuring how how to distill the famed Golden State Warrior offense into something that would work at the junior college level. And that’s the key here, the offense is something that is digestible enough for Green to teach this offense to junior college teams that are essentially built year after year with very little consistency.
And to clarify, the Golden State offense isn’t the standard isolation or pick and roll type of offense, but an offense that is based off of motion, screening, and guys that can shoot. This will be a blast from the past, but the article focuses on Jordan Brangers (and Josh Webster too), the one-time Texas Tech commit, but the key to running a Golden State type of offense is predicated on having guys that can shoot.
There was one year where Chris Beard focused on guys that could shoot, and that team went to the National Championship game, Davide Moretti, Jarrett Culver, Matt Mooney, Kyler Edwards, Brandone Francis, and Deshawn Corprew.
“I just want guys who can shoot now,” he said. “If you have somebody on the floor who can’t score, you’re playing four against five. They just don’t guard them.”
And Golden State Steve Kerr on how offense evolves:
“For a long time in the N.B.A., people got away from the five-man game,” Kerr said in a telephone interview on Wednesday as he discussed the impact his team was having on college programs. “It was more of an isolation game. But people are going smaller and faster. And for us, I think the key is that we don’t hold the ball. We almost always have five playmakers on the floor. The ball moves, and nobody dominates it.”
I think that was one of the frustrating things about the Beard offense, which is that it squeezed every possession, limit possessions and play lights out defense to keep the game close and hope your team can execute in close-game scenarios.
Adams has said that he wants to get cleaner shots, play at a faster pace, and I’m guessing that he wants to press a bit given the Peery hire as well.
And based on the commits thus far, Chandler Jacobs is the guy that can shoot, an absolute freak in terms of a guy that can put the ball in the bucket, same thing from walk-on Ethan Duncan. KJ Allen is a guy that puts the ball in the bucket, but in a different way, scoring 18 points a game, making 67% of his shots, and grabbing 9 rebounds a game. Adonis Arms is a gifted passer at the wing and can score.
The players who remained also fit that mold, particularly Kevin McCullar and Chibuzo Agbo who are wings who are expanding their games, McCullar in particular, to be able to spread the floor and shoot, while Agbo is already sort of player that makes his impact that way. McCullar’s path to professional basketball is expanding his game, being able to pass the ball, and moving offensively for easy opportunities.
The one item that I think that Adams, Peery, and everyone else, is going to have to address is a post player that can shoot. I think, and this is my opinion, is that Beard’s reluctance or inability to find a Tariq Owens type of anchor each year was troubling and just weird. Maybe those guys are difficult to find, but Beard never seemed intent on developing that anchor and/or post player, whether it be Malik Ondigo, Russel Tchewa, Josh Mballa, etc.
Regardless, I’ll be interested to see how this progresses and how Adams rounds out the roster. That will be telling as well as if/when Green is added to the coaching staff in an advisory capacity, like Sean Sutton.