Thursday, January 24, 2008

Stop the Presses?

The Florida Gators have been running an exorbitant amount of full court presses this season? They ran it exclusively after every made basket in their game against South Carolina on Wednesday night. The Gators created a lot of turnovers off the press, but it also led to a shitload of open looks from the outside or easy layups. This got me wondering whether the full court press is a complete wash, or even detrimental to a team when used throughout a game. In its entirety does the press create more turnovers or lead to more easy baskets?

Obviously, when the pressor has a clear athletic advantage and the presees lack enough capable Greg Louganises (ball handlers) to break it effectively, then the press will create more points than it will give up and is a sound strategy. But where teams are evenly matched, will the press hurt or help the team applying it (assuming that the team runs it soundly)? Is the press generally less effective in the early stages of the game, but then wears an opposing team down in the second half much like a big running back wears down a defense in the fourth quarter?

The biggest indictment of the press is that it's never used in the pros. To analogize it to football once again, the press is like the option offense. It can be dangerous at the college level, but in the professional ranks, the athletes are too fast, athletic, and skilled for it to work on a regular basis. Or maybe teams simply don't practice the defense enough and are not committed to making it work. While the offensive talent is superior to college, aren't there more athletic defenders in the pros as well? Shouldn't the one just cancel the other out, and with all things being relative, the press should be just as effective in the pros as it is in college. But that comes back to the question posed at the beginning of this rambling post, is the press a benefit or a detriment to the team imposing it?

I'm going to try to pose this question to the fine researchers over at since they have the time, capability, and intelligence figure this out. Plus they'll get paid to do it. Lucky shits.

1 comment:

Greg Ostertag Body Spray said...

I think some of the 90's Bulls teams employed the press. You need long guards to run it effectively in the NBA. The bulls had just that in Jordan, Pippen, and Harper. I always thought more NBA teams should try it. Even if you don't get a turnover, you are preventing the other team from getting into their offense early in the shot clock.