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FILM SESSIONS: David West — Different defensive strategy, same result

Last Saturday I broke down the defensive struggle the Bobcats suffered through against Kyrie Irving in Charlotte’s two point loss. Dunlap elected to not double team Irving late and it ended in the Bobcats losing as Irving hit a clutch shot with 1 second remaining.

This week, we’re going to take a look at how the Bobcats elected to defend David West late in the game last night — sending double teams running at him, regularly, late in the game Saturday night. So, for everyone who was yelling at the TV (I was one of them) when the Bobcats didn’t blitz Irving last Friday night, last night’s strategy should have made you happy. Unfortunately, it ended in the same result — a Bobcats loss.

In this first example, we see Hakim Warrick show/hedge very hard on George Hill during Hill/West PnR — not sure why, considering the Bobcats ran double teams at West all night. You would think that Warrick would simply want to sag under the screen, keeping both Hill and West in front of him. Instead, he hedges hard and this leads to a Lance Stephenson dunk after the Bobcats scramble to rotate.

Hill passes to West off the PnR as Warrick is out of position — this leaves West wide open at the elbow with Haywood and MKG forced to both run at him. Stephenson reads this all perfectly and cuts baseline, freely, where West easily finds him for the dunk.

In this next clip, David West posts up, identifies defense/throws ball out, then re-post and more-or-less just toys with the Bobcats defense.

As West receives the ball on the first post up, he simply reads where the double team is coming from to identify where he’s going to throw the ball for an open shot. As West receives the ball on the re-post, Haywood runs across the lane for the double team — this forces Ben Gordon to rotate and put a body on Ian Mahinmi, leaving George Hill wide open. West hits Hill, 3 good.

In this last clip, it appears as if the Bobcats get a clue on what West is doing on the first post up.

On the first post up, Henderson comes over to double West and forces him to throw the ball back out. At this point, West thinks that he knows where the double is coming from and identifies what corner 3 will be open. As the re-post occurs, the double team never comes from Hendo and West now identifies this as a one-on-one opportunity — sort of. West remains patient, faces up Hakim Warrick and begins to make his move to the basket. As West goes right, he simply waits until either Haywood or Gordon jumps to help — Gordon drops down first and West simply kicks out to D.J. Augustin for the dagger 3.

Coach Dunlap and the Bobcats apparently learned from their mistake against Kyrie Irving just over a week ago. Last night, the Bobcats continually ran double teams at David West in an attempt to get the ball out of his hands and confuse him — it resulted in the exact opposite of the plan. West is a great passer and shows us, also, just how smart of a basketball player he is. It certainly helps that the Pacers were knocking down these shots late in the game, but props to West for always knowing exactly where the open man was and making the Bobcats strategy look a little bit silly.

Personally, I think that the strategy was a good one. Unfortunately, Indiana was hitting shots and there really isn’t too much else to it except that.