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Username Post: 2020 - Breakthrough Year?        (Topic#22964)
mobrien 
Sophomore
Posts: 149

Loc: New York
Reg: 04-18-17
Re: 2020 - Breakthrough Year?
03-26-19 04:38 PM - Post#282825    
    In response to mrjames

I hear you about Aiken's ability to maintain such high efficiency despite such high usage. It's why I thought he deserved to be Ivy POY. It's a rare, rare skill to be able to do that.

It's more that I think with Towns back and Kirkwood hopefully making a pretty big second year improvement, we'll have other guys who can use possessions efficiently enough to justify tamping down Aiken's usage a little. And, more to the point, that I wonder if Aiken's efficiency could be even better if he had someone setting him up sometimes instead of always being the other way around. It's admittedly a tiny sample size, but Kirkwood looked really good finding guys these last couple of games. He sees passes well, stopped rushing like he had earlier in the season, and took better care of the ball.

There's something to be said for getting other guys more touches if only to make them feel more involved, and keep the defense guessing a little more. So even though there are definitely times where we need Aiken to just take over — he made a couple of big shots to staunch the bleeding when NC State looked like they were about to run us out of the gym in the first half —there are other times where we get a little stagnant standing around watching him. We should have the pieces next year that we don't need to do that anymore.

 
SomeGuy 
Postdoc
Posts: 4908

Reg: 11-22-04
Re: 2020 - Breakthrough Year?
03-26-19 04:51 PM - Post#282827    
    In response to mrjames

I think the question is whether there is some mix where Aiken has lower usage and the rest of the team becomes more efficient. In other words, he may be detracting from what the other guys do at that rate. I don’t know if Morgan has a similar efficiency curve or not, but I often wonder whether having one guy take all that burden detracts from the whole even when that one guy can handle it. And to connect up with P38’s point, there may be a mix out there that puts Harvard comfortably ahead at the end, rather than counting on Aiken to do something crazy.

 
james 
Freshman
Posts: 77

Age: 44
Reg: 03-18-19
03-26-19 05:05 PM - Post#282830    
    In response to SomeGuy

Why do they want to take the ball out of his hands?

Well because they lose too many games to teams with lesser talent. This would include Yale when it mattered and Cornell and more importantly hero ball led to the need for hero shots.

Now Aiken doesn’t see the floor particularly well though admittedly when you shoot 18x sometimes guys are more open at the end of a clock bc well you don’t pass much.

Stats are cool but exceptional hero ball makes them lie. The real issue is Harvard has underperformed its talent level for 3 yrs. there are reasons—injuries, other teams that mesh well etc. but how do you explain the loss to Yale in the playoffs two years ago. Youth? No ivy in modern times has recruiting like this. I guess you could explain the loss to penn last yr and Yale this yr—home court adv and injuries particularly the penn loss.

I repeat—no ivy has recruiting like this.

So next year assuming health either the status quo exists and improves. Or it’s disappointing yet again. As a Yale fan I hope for the latter.

But I know what i would do. I would short the usage/efficiency stats and go long another pg. that is my quAnt formula. It will matter even more bc you need to factor in the other head of the monster, towns. Spread the ball.

it is inconceivable you can’t win the league outright and evengo undefeated at least in the league with this roster. It’s that good. We’ll see.





 
mrjames 
Professor
Posts: 5520

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
03-26-19 06:27 PM - Post#282833    
    In response to james

You’re blaming either Yale tourney loss on Bryce? This year’s was lost because Yale made a ton of low XPPS attempts, forced Harvard to go small to chase and then pounded Harvard inside to close it. Bryce had 38 pts on 1.45PPP at 42% usage. Harvard had its highest offensive rating of the season. In the 2017 edition, Harvard happened to have a miserable shooting night outside of Bryce, who had 28pts on 1.20PPP at 39% usage.

If you can post either of those numbers consistently, it’s no longer hero ball, it’s just effective offense. Hero ball was Desmond Cambridge’s Ivy campaign.

I generally think these comments are hitting on a key point, but it has nothing to do with Bryce. The offense this year was a poor fit for the team, because there were too many points where the ball would stick. The motion offense naturally levels out usage rates, because everyone has to be involved and has to create when the flow has given them a clear chance to. But this year (and last year too), the ball got stuck a lot (whole lot of low usage players not taking shots when shots were there), allowing teams to get set in their rotations. That pushed things deeper in the shot clock where Bryce had to go high PNR. (Also there was the whole not really being able to anticipate teammates’ moves which led to a lot of ugly-looking TOs).

In other words, I see Bryce’s numbers as a symptom of the offensive problems this team had, not the cause - and without his pretty historic production this offense would have looked awful. Similarly, his usage rates coming down won’t *lead* to better offense, but will be a function of better execution of the motion system. If him drawing help defenders and passing out puts the defense into rotation, and the offense is running properly, the ball should never end up back in his hands. All too often, it would hit someone not ready to take an open shot or someone in an unnatural spot where the decision took too long, and the advantage was lost.

The key for Harvard next year is how many possessions can be wrapped up in the first 20 seconds, because that’s when usage rates will be far more equal. The last 10 seconds are Bryce time, and he’s really, really good at it.

 
bradley 
PhD Student
Posts: 1176

Age: 70
Reg: 01-15-16
03-26-19 06:56 PM - Post#282836    
    In response to mrjames

I believe that Amaker will figure it all out as to how to score if everyone is reasonably healthy especially between Aiken and Towns. My only question which I raised before is not the 3-5 positions but will be the quality of big man play.

I do not see it as much of an issue in IL play but I do see it as a potential issue against quality non-conference teams. Lewis and Baker are good but not great and you need the big guys especially at the Big Dance. If I was a coach, I would go right at Lewis immediately, get him in foul trouble and get him off the court. What I have found interesting with Amaker and the coaching staff is that they have not received great results from Zena and Lewis over the years.

I do not see too many issues for the Crimson in IL play but can they beat big time programs in non-conference play. Certainly possible but no guarantees.

 
PennFan10 
Postdoc
Posts: 2349

Reg: 02-15-15
03-26-19 09:58 PM - Post#282842    
    In response to bradley

I don’t think NC State shares your view on Lewis. When healthy he is a monstrous big

 
mobrien 
Sophomore
Posts: 149

Loc: New York
Reg: 04-18-17
03-26-19 10:29 PM - Post#282844    
    In response to mrjames

That actually crystallizes a lot of what I've felt about Harvard's offense this past year. Were there any guys in particular that you think were passing up shots that they should have been taking? Or was it everyone but Bryce and Noah?

The two times when the ball seems to get stuck the most were: 1) when Lewis would do a slow-motion postup where he'd survey the defense for a second or two, then try to power his way to the hoop, and 2) when guys would stand around in those first 20 seconds just waiting for Aiken to do something (although sometimes, like in the NC State game, those would come out of 1-4 looks, so it was presumably what we wanted).

Our efficiency in both of those situations was pretty bad. I would love to see Lewis's TO rate when he held the ball for > 2 seconds before making a move. It seemed very, very high. One thing we never do that would be better would be a quick re-post if it's initially not there. That would have a better chance of success than Lewis letting the defense get fully set and sag off their men before he gets going. Bryce did better in our early iso looks, but we shouldn't be settling for end-of-the-shot-clock looks at the beginning of the shot clock.

But I agree: the first 20 seconds should be about the team, hopefully with Noah taking on a bigger role facilitating things since he does seem to see the court better, anticipate passes better, and, when it comes to things like skip passes, is able to make them easier since he is taller. But the last 10 seconds are clearly Bryce's time.

 
bradley 
PhD Student
Posts: 1176

Age: 70
Reg: 01-15-16
03-27-19 08:14 AM - Post#282849    
    In response to PennFan10

NC State is a guard driven team and the lack of good big men is probably the major reason why they did not make it to the Big Dance. LSU had two bigs that were on the court together and created major issues for Yale in addition to a very good PG.

Although one never knows for sure the extent of Lewis' injury, he was probably the 3rd or 4th best big man in the Ivies last year. Baker obviously has talent but his body time would have been an issue going up a LSU type big.

As I mentioned, Harvard bigs should not be an issue in the IL but it may be a issue in non-conference and more importantly post-season play.

Reality is that Zena and Lewis, to this point and time, have not developed to the extent anticipated.

 
james 
Freshman
Posts: 77

Age: 44
Reg: 03-18-19
03-27-19 10:00 AM - Post#282851    
    In response to bradley

Yes, this is largely the point i was making (or trying to make).

No, i dont blame Bryce. i think he's terrific. But is he a pg? because, when he played, they didnt maximize their talent bc YES the ball is stuck.

So its some part in particular order 1) his pg play; 2) the system; 3) the rotation; 4) the talent development (maybe recruiting rankings dont matter? as much as i dignify)

But i take a step back....And i see a larger, deeper rotation of more talented players than the other top Ivies which is more reflective of the rankings.

Secondly, Yale lost bc they missed open shots. Some were created by the offense, some were created by their talent (Oni, etc). But at the end of the day (at least in person) they had countless opportunities when LSU didnt score for what 5 minutes? to get over the proverbial hump, and they missed very makeable shots i dont give a damn who you are playing.

Their 2 point shooting ratio was fantastic even factoring in the blocks which came exclusively in the first few minutes. LSU largely packed the lane. Even So Atkinson and Bruner finished consistently inside.

But you dont beat a team with top 5 talent who played well coach or no coach shooting 8/37 from 3. So you either, in so doing, 1) took too many; or 2) you missed open shots. it was some combination of both though i couldnt fault a single shot they took. And LSU make it very difficult to reverse the ball, which is a major issue in a high ball screen offense and played the dribble, hard. IN so doing they might have played with fire but they won. doesnt matter, it worked.
They were just open and missed.

Lastly, Lewis and Baker were top 100 recruits. they have largely developed their games. Lewis is a beast from 6 ft and in and Baker is 7' ish and long. he has range. and he certainly can affect shots at any level. its a highly complementary duo that can neutralize many power 5 bigs. LSU is a rather extreme example I believe for anyone to deal with.

I am a large human and standing next to naz Reed makes me feel like a child. Oh and he banged a 3 in REynolds grill to start the game and finished like a madman on the break. He is quite a talent. And bigby williams is big, athletic and knows his role. they both do. its a quality combination that makes a tough comparable.





 
james 
Freshman
Posts: 77

Age: 44
Reg: 03-18-19
03-27-19 10:26 AM - Post#282854    
    In response to james

meant in "no" particular order.

also on the topic of recruiting i will add that I did like Bruner even post his first knee surgery in hs better than either Lewis or Baker when i saw all of them multiple times. IN so doing i contradict the rankings which dropped Bruner bc of when he got hurt before his junior year and after Dozier left for SC.

He had great length (Like Baker), but more pop and a better skill range imo. You saw this ceiling re-emerge against LSU. All the knee injuries and limited offseasons havent helped. his second jump pop wasnt what it used to be this year. he didnt have the confidence in his body and played way too soft on offense against physically inferior ivy players. the half hook on bigby williams was a sign its coming back! as were the block on waters (that sequence was just awesome including what should have been an assist to oni to cut the lead to 4)


But I agree with the other James (Jones) that he still has the highest ceiling who believes this fervently and sees it every day. if he doesnt show it for yale he probably will when he grad transfers. And my hope for the kid is he can have an injury free offseason bc you will see it much like you did in Jax albeit against inferior talent and more regularly.





 
james 
Freshman
Posts: 77

Age: 44
Reg: 03-18-19
03-27-19 10:34 AM - Post#282856    
    In response to james

as for yale-lsu, this would have conserved words for me. but my eyes dont lie.

https://yaledailynews.com/blog/2019/03/27/by-th e-n...

 
SRP 
Postdoc
Posts: 3828

Reg: 02-04-06
03-27-19 03:09 PM - Post#282887    
    In response to james

I don't entirely disagree with Mike's analysis of Harvard's offense, but I think he underestimates how much Aiken's style reduced the effectiveness of his teammates. Except for Lewis, they frequently received the ball in awkward spots and seemed like they were expected not to attack in deference to Aiken, even though when Aiken collapsed the D he was able to pile up a ton of assists. Obviously, Aiken was amazing at converting late in the shot clock and he ought to do a lot of that. But if Kirkwood can initiate more, I think the flow will improve overall.

To some extent this problem will be self-correcting when Towns returns to full strength, because he has few awkward spots and Aiken has proven that they can work together productively.

 
mrjames 
Professor
Posts: 5520

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
03-27-19 04:52 PM - Post#282896    
    In response to SRP

While it was fun watching Noah turn the ball over on 3-in-10 possessions and Juzang do so on 1-in-4 in non-conference play, I'll take their respective 19.5 and 15.5 rates in conference play alongside Aiken.

We got to see two months of those guys initiating the offense, and it resulted in a hail of turnovers. Also, everyone's making it sound like Harvard's offense was all balance until Bryce came along. That's fundamentally not true - the vast majority of Harvard's pre-Bryce games had a player see more than half the team's minutes and post a usage rate in the 30s. The results were, umm, not great Bob:

MIT - Kirkwood, 32% usage, 91 ORAT
Northeastern - (balance)
UMass - Kirkwood, 36% usage, 77 ORAT
URI - Lewis, 30% usage, 75 ORAT
USF - Kirkwood, 30% usage, 77 ORAT
St. Mary's - (balance)
Holy Cross - (balance)
Siena - Bassey, 35% usage, 93 ORAT
UVM - (balance)
GW - Bassey, 41% usage, 99 ORAT (Kirkwood did do a 126 on 29% usage)
Mercer - Kirkwood, 30% usage, 102 ORAT
UNC - Johnson, 30% usage, 32 ORAT
Dart1 - Lewis, 37% usage, 84 ORAT

In his 17 Ivy plus NIT games, Bryce used 30% of possessions in 14 and had half of those above 100 and four more in the 90s. It wasn't that Bryce flipped this offense from a balanced one to one that relied upon a high-usage creator, it's just that he supplanted the "high-usage-by-committee" from the non-conf with a consistent high-usage producer.

Next year better be different, or else Harvard isn't going to be the team most expect. But I think the commentary about what should have happened this year is ignorant of what was actually happening this year.

 
mobrien 
Sophomore
Posts: 149

Loc: New York
Reg: 04-18-17
2020 - Breakthrough Year?
03-27-19 06:45 PM - Post#282909    
    In response to mrjames

There is a very good chance I am overreacting to a very small sample size here, but the only reason I even raised this as something to think about was how well Noah played at the end of the year. His last four games were all among his eight most efficient of the year.

NC State: 35% usage, 130 ORAT
Georgetown: 16% usage, 117 ORAT
Yale: 27% usage, 117 ORAT
Penn: 19% usage, 128 ORAT

It's possible he just got lucky and played some of his best ball at the end of the year, but I don't think that's what was going on. I saw a guy who was really starting to get it. The dumb turnovers were gone. He had a much better sense of how to get to his spots — and, unlike earlier in the year, he was always under control — to either pass or score.

The NIT games were especially interesting because he was forced to take on more of a playmaking role. (Georgetown was denying Aiken so hard that we had to go to Kirkwood to initiate things more, and NC State's pressure did the same). And the thing is, he looked *really* good doing it. He had a 33% assist rate against Georgetown and a 53% one against NC State.

He's not going to maintain this kind of production over the course of a whole season, but if this is more the kind of thing we can expect from him next year, I think it makes sense to let him facilitate things more in those first 20 seconds of the shot clock. He just sees the court so well, and what passes are going to be there a half second before everyone else does.

 
james 
Freshman
Posts: 77

Age: 44
Reg: 03-18-19
Re: 2020 - Breakthrough Year?
03-27-19 07:02 PM - Post#282912    
    In response to mobrien

Yes-see the last two games!! It’s also possible he initiated the offense more which he did!

Oh and why the hell would it be relevant to include efficiency when Aiken didn’t play?

if the supposition is he’s valuable then wouldn’t you evaluate efficiency for dependent players and a team when he was on the court but not initiating the offense as much? Otherwise how is this apples to Apples?

so how did that look the last few games. I know how it looked

and how did the team play? Probably the best on the road against the highest talent they played all year at the biggest road disadvantage. I know know , subjective.

My guess is amaker noticed and there was a REASOn
Kirkwood played more point?





 
mrjames 
Professor
Posts: 5520

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
Re: 2020 - Breakthrough Year?
03-28-19 11:57 AM - Post#282974    
    In response to james

The reason that data is relevant:

1) It demonstrates that Harvard's offense usually wasn't balanced on any given night pre-Aiken's return.
2) It demonstrates that the player that went high usage on those nights was usually not that good at it.

I have started putting together the PBPs to derive off court, on court for different lineups, and I've got about half the games Bryce played in loaded. It's not pretty offensively when he's off the floor.

At the same time, I don't want to make it seem like Noah's development is credited to Aiken. While the pressure to create declined once Aiken came back, which would raise his efficiency regardless, I agree that Noah also was learning more of what he couldn't do at this level. Noah had a lot of double-whammy turnovers early in the year due to driving into trouble. He'd either yield a live-ball TO, which is the worst type of TO, or a charge-TO, which can put you into foul trouble really quickly.

It remains to be seen, though, if he can handle true PG duties at this level. I was one of the earliest folks on these boards calling him a PG, while he kept being listed as a SF or even PF, because his abilities as a facilitator at Ashbury and NMH were always undervalued. The flaws in his on-ball game are well-documented here... if he can fix those and bring the TOs down, I'm on board. Until then, Bryce is the only safe, ball-dominant, high-usage creator on this roster.

 
mrjames 
Professor
Posts: 5520

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
Re: 2020 - Breakthrough Year?
03-29-19 10:07 AM - Post#283040    
    In response to mrjames

Annnnnnnnd Miye Oni is declaring for the draft and pretty steadfast about staying in...

So, 2020 isn't getting off to a great start, folks...

 
mobrien 
Sophomore
Posts: 149

Loc: New York
Reg: 04-18-17
2020 - Breakthrough Year?
03-29-19 10:54 AM - Post#283045    
    In response to mrjames

Wow, I'm actually pretty surprised. I fully expected him to declare for the draft, get some feedback from NBA execs, then go back for his senior year to work on his weaknesses. He's someone who's beaten up on lesser competition, but struggled quite a bit against even the better defenders in the IL (Woods, Bassey, Stephens, Okolie). Signing with an agent, if he does, would be a big mistake, I think.

The only way it even comes close to making sense is that he *is* old for his class because of that PG year. He'll already be 22 by the time next season starts, so he might think he has a better chance to get drafted now than if he came back and improved his game.

Don't think he should leave for anything less than a first round promise, though, especially when he's so close to graduating anyway.

 
PennFan10 
Postdoc
Posts: 2349

Reg: 02-15-15
03-29-19 11:00 AM - Post#283046    
    In response to mobrien

There is almost zero chance Oni is a first round pick, this year or next. That is such a high bar for only 30 players nationally. Last year over 200 underclassmen declared for the NBA draft that has 60 players chosen.

 
palestra38 
Professor
Posts: 22147

Reg: 11-21-04
Re: 2020 - Breakthrough Year?
03-29-19 11:00 AM - Post#283047    
    In response to mobrien

You can't blame anyone for trying to get an NBA contract. If he gets hurt playing this year for nothing, he loses everything. And he can finish at Yale later. But I would agree that it makes no sense unless he gets a guaranteed rookie contract, which you only get in the 1st round.

 
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