Skip to main content

Jeff Van Gundy explains what analytics guys always miss ”It can absolutely tear a team apart”

Jeff-Van-Gundy

Jeff Van Gundy is probably most known for leaping into Alonzo Mourning’s leg during the Knicks and Heat brawl back in ’98. You rarely see a head coach get involved like that, and that moment proved that Van Gundy is all about team and chemistry. Two things, he explained, analytics guys still haven’t figured how to include in their formulas.

Shot selection and defensive help

From an analytics standpoint, the James Harden Rockets built by Daryl Morey were as close to perfection as we’ve come. Yet, Harden dribbling (and often flopping and traveling, I would add) at the top of the key while everyone on the team stands ready for a possible pass always felt like a style that will run into a wall in the playoffs.

The ball has energy, and the team loses energy when players spend half a quarter without ever touching it. Not only that, but then Harden jogs on defense, stands in the corner, and lets his guy pass him for an easy backdoor cut. That’s no way to build chemistry and earn those crucial hustle plays that mean the difference between winning and losing. Jeff Van Gundy explained during his latest appearance on the Lowe Post.

“I think the number of guys who shoot the dribble up three - some of them are rediculos shots. Maybe analytically, they say that’s a fine look. I know shot selection and defensive help; they’re the biggest chemistry destroyers that there is. It may be the analytically acceptable shot for the scientist in the boardroom -[but it] can absolutely tear a team apart.”

Jeff Van Gundy, The Lowe Post

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

There’s no way you hustle on defense, only to see your teammate launch a contested three early in the shot clock, and that it won’t impact your effort level. This is where coaching is as much about diplomacy as it is about Xs and Os. Guys need to buy into the style of play if you don’t want to have effort issues.

As we’ve established many times - analytics are only as good as the way you use them. Numbers themselves aren’t good or bad; they are facts. But having enough basketball knowledge and experience to properly interpret them - you know what they say, the devil’s in the details.

Winning in the playoffs

The larger conversation on the Lowe Post revolved around winning in the Playoffs with a heavy 3pt diet. Remember when Charles Barkley claimed the Warriors won’t ever win a title because “jump-shooting teams don’t win in the playoffs”? That’s hasn’t aged well.

Barkley wasn’t entirely wrong. While the Warriors did break that old assumption, they were always great in two things—shot selection and defense. Steph and Klay proved a lot of shots that are “reridiculous hots” for others are smart shots for them - that status was earned, not given. A lot of guys nowadays start launching the moment they enter the league, and that’s their first mistake.

But more importantly, the Warriors were always at the top in defensive ranking. Klay was one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, and while Steph would hide on a lesser offensive player, Curry still put in maximum effort.

As always, it’s not black and white. You can win with a jump-shooting team that has a few guys who “shoot the dribble up three.” But they can’t do it just because “the scientist in the boardroom” said it’s fine. They have to earn that right with their teammate - only then the math a model predicts will translate to great basketball on the court.

Robert Williams has shut down Bam Adebayo, and his play could end up winning the Eastern Conference Finals for the Boston Celtics

Robert Williams has shut down Bam Adebayo, which could end up winning the Eastern Conference Finals for the Boston Celtics

Williams has done a superb job of slowing down Miami's star center Bam Adebayo, and the Heat have struggled to make up for his lost production

ralph-sampson-min

The story of the original NBA unicorn

This guy is the closest thing we have to a Giannis Antetokounmpo comparison.

kenny anderson copy

That time when the New Jersey Nets shared showers with truckers

Compared to how teams operate these days, this is a pretty bizarre experience.

Danny Green on Gregg Popovich's greatness

Danny Green on why Gregg Popovich is good: "Because he believes he should've played in the NBA"

ccording to Danny Green, not playing in the NBA made Gregg Popovich great at what he does

Paul George reveals he struggled with sleepp inside the NBA Bubble

Paul George reveals he had sleepless nights for two weeks inside the 2020 NBA Bubble

Paul George became "Pandemic P" inside the Orlando Bubble and he revealed the reason behind his poor performances.

luka-doncic-jj-redick-larry-bird-magic-johnson-min

"It's not his fault they can't make shots"-JJ Redick defends Luka Doncic's ability to make teammates better

Redick thinks Luka is better than Magic Johnson and Larry Bird when it comes to making players around him better.

Gilbert Arenas reveals everybody hated Kobe Bryant's Mamba Mentality

Gilbert Arenas spills cold truth on Kobe Bryant: "Everybody hated the Mamba Mentality"

Gilbert Arenas dished out some truth bombs about Kobe Bryant's dreaded mantra

Magic Johnson wants the Lakers to give Russell Westbrook another chance

Magic Johnson advises the Los Angeles Lakers to keep Russell Westbrook: “Take him out, take him to dinner”

Magic Johnson said that keeping Russell Westbrook for another year is better than trading him in exchange for long-lasting bad contracts.