That’s A Wrap: Offense

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Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our recap of the 2013-2014 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Indiana’s offense.

Final stats (32 games): 72.3 ppg, 44.8 FG %, 49.8 eFG %, 34.3 3P FG%, 73.0 FT %, 45.3 % FTR.

After spending back-to-back season as one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country, Indiana’s offense took a couple steps back in 2013-2014.

It was easy to see why. Gone were Cody Zeller’s and Victor Oladipo’s high-percentage looks. Gone too was the precision of Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls from distance. All four were also crucial members of Indiana’s transition attack, and all four moved on. And instead of three upperclassmen in the starting lineup, this season’s offense featured three freshman.

While Yogi Ferrell took steps forward and Noah Vonleh was overpowering at times, it simply wasn’t enough to make up for the departed. After finishing third nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency in 2012-2013 and fourth in 2011-2012, Indiana fell to 127th this past season.

The turnovers were a big part of it. As has long been discussed, the Hoosiers’ sloppy play and poor decision making had them forfeiting 21.8 percent of their possessions for the season (310th nationally) and 21.9 percent in conference play (12th). But Indiana also squandered points by getting their shots blocked at a high rate as well (12.4 percent: 331st nationally, 13.2 percent: 12th in conference).

Six seasons in, these two areas have been consistent low spots for Indiana’s offense under Tom Crean in conference play:

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The offense also suffered at times due to personnel issues. By season’s end, the 3-point shooting wasn’t as bad as one might think (36.6 percent, third in conference). But with point guard Ferrell (40.0 percent) and center Vonleh (48.5 percent) as the best marksmen, it created some offensive imbalance. Instead of flanking threats around Ferrell and Vonleh to keep defenses honest and spread between the rim and the point of attack, Indiana’s best 3-point looks came from its primary ballhandler and center.

Evan Gordon (33.3 percent) and Will Sheehey (33.0 percent) were the only other Hoosiers to shoot over 30 percent from distance, but were streaky and therefore not always a reliable threat.

At its best, Indiana’s offense featured a hard-to-stop Ferrell with Stanford Robinson having room to get into the lane and score as well. When Ferrell was hitting treys and also getting to the bucket, drawing defenders and either scoring himself or finding teammates, Indiana’s offense stood a chance. This was also a strong offensive rebounding squad (33.0 offensive rebounding percentage, third in conference), which helped make up some for all the turnovers. It was middle of the road in getting to the line (38.6 FTA/FGA, fifth in conference) and in the top third for free throw percentage (73.6, fourth in conference), allowing for some extra points as well. (Strong offensive rebounding and a high free throw rate were staples of Indiana’s offense during its back-to-back Sweet 16 runs.)

But when facing a packed paint or a 2-3 zone, the offense devolved into a weave of death around the perimeter, seconds ticking off the shot clock, contested or poor shots to follow — if a turnover didn’t happen first. It could be one dimensional and predictable, as UM Hoops pointed out with a deep shot chart analysis of Indiana’s top five scoring threats heading into the final Big Ten contest against the Wolverines.

Bottom Line: Due to a lack of shooters and a high turnover rate, Indiana’s offense finished seventh from an efficiency standpoint in the Big Ten. The incoming recruiting class featuring the likes of James Blackmon Jr. and Rob Johnson figure to give the Hoosiers not only more shooting threats, but a more varied and dynamic scoring attack from the perimeter. Couple them with potential leaps from Robinson, Troy Williams, Devin Davis and Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Indiana’s offense should feature more diversity next season.

PreviouslyStanford RobinsonTroy WilliamsCollin HartmanNoah VonlehDevin DavisAustin EtheringtonJeremy HollowellHanner Mosquera-PereaYogi FerrellPeter JurkinWill SheeheyJeff Howard, Evan Gordon

  • HoosierOz

    Excellent chart and article Ryan, didn’t realize how consistently bad those 2 categories were. Seeing any stat 310th and 331st is just plain bad for a team with the talent this team had. Past is the past though…let’s hope for a light switch to turn on next year and some better play all around.

  • Speed

    Agreed…this article is spot on! Concerning it the coaching staff’s inability to adapt to the shortcomings this team displayed from day one. Crean seems to develop a strategy and attempt to force the players to adapt instead of formulating a plan around the teams’ abilities. Let’s hope we have some shooters next year. Three point bombers would help destroy the zone defenses we seemingly face each night.

  • Chronic Hoosier

    “The offense devolved into a weave of death around the perimeter.” I’m putting this on the #SeasonOnTheDrink’s tombstone. Perfect.

  • David Macer

    Find it very interesting that the 11-12 and 12-13 were just as bad as 13-14 in these areas. It has to do with the frantic pace of play Crean likes. Shooting the 3 certainly can cover up these ills !!!

  • Kyl470

    Quick thing to point about. The article stated that IU started four seniors last year which was not the case. Victor and Cody started every game as did Yogi. So that is 3 guys from the starting line up that were not seniors.

  • JetpackJunky

    Sixth man was a Junior too.

    Plus, we only had 3 seniors on the team right? Elston, Watford, and Hulls?

    Ryan must have meant “upperclassmen”.

  • http://www.insidethehall.com/ Alex Bozich

    Fixed.

  • iuoiu

    Spot on. The turnovers as well as blocks are part of the territory with the pace at which TC wants to play. If you’ve been close enough in games to hear him talking on the sideline, he’ll often yell to the players on the floor and bench that he thinks we are playing too slow of a pace. He does not want them dribbling at the top of the key thinking about what to do next, he wants ruthless, quick decisions that usually means drive first ask questions later. Unfortunately this year our primary drivers were wet behind the ears so often drove into a packed middle full of blocked shots and TOs.

    But as we saw in 12-13, if TC has an offense with shooters who can stretch the defense then we can just hurt folks – and not just with buckets. Those aggressive drives often had the effect of sitting key players on the bench with foul trouble. A lot of folks belly ache when one of our guys drives, gets blocked and fouled. I love it though. Those fouls are like a slow death. Game after game after game I just sat there and smiled as Cody, Vic and co. just racked up fouls in the first half then finished them off with a spurt while half the starters on the other team sat on the bench.

    So despite the TO’s and blocks, this approach can and has worked. But as we saw this year no approach works when you can’t shoot the outside jumpers. That’s about to get fixed though so I look forward to bigger steps next year.

  • SCHoosier

    Yes the lack of shooting , TO’s and the “weave of death around the perimeter” made for a really predictable , inefficient offense. How many times did you see two players in the same area (spacing)..Yogi and Will shoving and pointing people to their correct positions and wasted dribbling until nothing was left but a desperate 3 pt attempt. TC has said he wants a better passing team next year…OH YEA! I hope that is the goal. Possessions will be more effective with shooters who in turn will give IU more spacing for Yogi and Stan to get to the rim. Sharing the ball and finding the shooters in game rhythm will be critical. I still think defense and rebounding will be the key to Hoosier success next year.. unfortunately senior leadership and decision making will be non-existent…which means that yoke falls on Mr. Ferrell .

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I really like how ITH’s journalists do not sugar coat things. They look to facts and apply them well. I think this season illustrates how important guard play is to having success in the win/loss column. Yogi was one of the very best point guards. But you need at least 2 players that you can count on for shooting and ball handling.

    Enter JBJ & RJ. It is also very helpful to have a 3/4 who can truly shoot from range. I know many posters have been pounding CTC, which his substitution patterns are head scratchers from time to time, but he was missing the key element to success: ballhandlers/shooters.

    Yogi is a given. I believe JBJ will be a stud. If TW develops an outside shot similar to VO’s and bulks up a bit for defense, if Stan develops better ball handling skills and a mid-range game, and if CTC learns to leave his best players on the floor, then I think this team could be special. And yes, I know we don’t have a proven 5. But all HMP has to do for this team to be good is to rebound, be a rim protector, and dunk.

  • CreanFaithful

    What is crazy to me is that IU finished 127th in the nation in offensive efficiency and that was good for SEVENTH in the BIG10. Wow!

  • dtfreed

    A wrap offense? Move on to who might come in to help, we saw these numbers all year. No need to keep re-hashing last year’s players and numbers.

  • http://www.insidethehall.com/ Alex Bozich

    We do this series every year. It’s nothing different than what’s been done in the past.

  • Ole Man

    “Weave of death”. Classic!! LOL!

  • Ole Man

    I politely disagree on one point.
    I don’t think TOs are a part of “playing fast”, necessarily.
    Many of our TOs this year were in half-court.
    Also, TOs are an offshoot of carelessness; again, very wide spread with this team the past year.

  • IUMIKE1

    I agree but, boy, we’ve got an awful lot of ifs to overcome and you know what they say about ifs.

  • Gregory Spera

    God, I hate the “weave.” I know we will have better offensive talent next year. Don’t care if we bring in all McDonald’s All-Americans to run it. I know the B1G Championship team ran it last year. Don’t care. Just hate it.

  • IUMIKE1

    The SeasonOnTheDrink part is also justifiably perfect when applied to this last season. Bad time for IUbball but was great for my local alcohol retailer.

  • IUMIKE1

    the offense devolved into a weave of death around the perimeter, after seconds ticked off the shot clock, contested or poor shots followed — if a turnover didn’t happen first.

    Boy if that wasn’t our offense this past year in a nutshell I don’t know what is !

  • ForeverIU

    Ha, good poetry always gets your attention Ole Man, that’s one of the things I love about you.

  • ForeverIU

    Remember also there might be newbies reading these things for the first time, or who otherwise have a penchant for self-flagellation, lol. Welcome to Inside The (People’s) Hall.

  • Devout Hoosier

    Yeah, we’ll see quite a bit of it though. The dribble drive spaces four on the perimeter. The motion comes from these four players exchanging positions, that’s the “weave”. It’s just inherit to what Crean runs, so no matter what the personnel we’re going to continue to see a lot of it.

    Another crucial part of having that many on the perimeter is they all need to be able to shoot long balls. Indiana just didn’t have that so we didn’t really have the personnel to run DD but Coach stayed with it regardless.

  • PBzeer

    I don’t know how many times I’ve read “youth and inexperience” this past season. Yet there is this expectation that the incoming freshman won’t be affected by it. We “should” have better shooting next year. That though doesn’t mean we will, yet it gets treated as a given. Even if it is better though, will it be better enough to overcome the inherent problems with the Crean offense?

  • SplackThemHams

    Thats a Wrap: Offense

    Turnover
    Top of key weave
    Poor shot

    Rinse and repeat

  • MillaRed

    “devolved into a weave of death” ha ha. Man that is an all-time keeper. Ryan went up a notch in my book. If I posted that I would get blasted. Stealin’ my thunder!

    People hit on it already. Our offensive strategy/philosophy is canned. It does not take into account the current roster. Therefore a recruiting issue may be at hand.

    There are players that fit into every scheme. Cody, Vic, Yogi etc. We did not have many last season. We will see if next season is any different. Hope so.

  • SCHoosier

    Almost as good as the “Flying Walendas” on the Forum for Yogi’s ill-fated leave his feet drives under the basket..a TO 4 out of 5 times.

  • Shaggy_C

    Offensive efficiency is a pretty misleading stat, since it’s just based on points per shot attempt. If you get to the line frequently and make your free throws or if you are making threes consistently, you can have a pretty solid offensive efficiency rating despite a huge number of turnovers. Just look at the numbers for ’12-’13: #1 in the country for much of the year as a team overall yet we were almost dead last in the Big 10 in turnover percentage.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    I don’t think YF is a given. What I’m watching for is significant improvement. It isn’t that YF isn’t good, its that I think he hasn’t taken full advantage of the latent abilities he’s been given. So before you guys slam my opinion I’m just saying he has more upside potential than many other ballers.

    Specifically, I’m hoping YF either can drive and dish or learns to drive and dish. Not much of that this year so I don’t know whether he has this skill or not. I also hope YF can develop some sort of “tear drop” type shot to put pressure on defenses. And improve his passing skills both with entry passes to the post and in traffic. He made many good ones this year but many poor(er) ones also.

    Anyway, since the ball will be in his hands nearly 100% of the time I’m hoping he progesses from an average PG in terms of playing the position, to a good PG in terms of making others better players.

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