Defensive tactics and personnel are the focus of the weekend wrap of Second Chance Points.
1. Joakim Noah's Best Game of the Season
Talk about a welcomed sight. Noah was simply superb against OKC, the best I've seen him look in quite a while. He had a sequence early on where he rejected a shot at the rim then proceeded to end the possession with one of this patented stick backs. Then, later on, he made one of the more creative plays I've ever seen where he intentionally deflected an offensive rebound towards an unguarded Gasol to create a pseudo alley-oop of sorts. Noah was just all over the place defensively while doing all he could to contribute offensively by keeping possessions alive on the glass, setting screens and throwing beautiful passes.
If we see this Noah even 75 percent of the time, then there's no doubt in my mind that he should be starting (first time this season I've felt strongly on the who-starts-who-doesn't debate). I pretty much spent this entire summer defending Gasol, but Noah -- at his best -- is able to contribute to the team in more areas than Gasol can. However, having said all that, Gasol could go for 30 and 15 next week, and I'll think he should remain the starter. Basically, opinions change, you know? For now, let's take the good and hope Noah builds off it.
2. Andre Roberson or Kirk Hinrich?
Doug McDermott caught some undeserved flack for this play right here:
Doug McDermott's man is Andre Roberson: pic.twitter.com/NNFbFj65q4— Royce Young (@royceyoung) November 6, 2015
This, my friends, was no mistake on McDermott's end. If there's one thing these eyes know when they see it, it's the Kirk Hinrich treatment. McDermott basically ignoring Roberson was absolutely by design. Exhibit A:
On this last example, McDermott started the play by overloading on Russell Westbrook's side of the floor to prevent the drive, much like the example shown in the initial tweet. What ultimately ended up happening was the ball was swung to Roberson -- who didn't shoot -- and simply reversed the ball back up to Westbrook. Yeah, Oklahoma City's got a pretty big problem on their hands.
3. Derrick Rose's defensive effort
Let's not just pick on Pau ( Why, Pau? Why?): You too, Derrick Rose. His lack of effort on defense is something we'll definitely be revisiting down the road, to be sure. Watch how it takes Rose about a second to realize his man -- who he is hugging way too closely to begin with -- has cut to balance out the floor.
4. Thunder Not Fouling
Plenty has been made of this, but in a two-possession game with 30-plus seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the Thunder decided not to foul the Bulls -- effectively ending the game. Maybe we should give them the benefit of the doubt seeing as they were wrapping up a fourth game in five nights. But still, the obvious thing to do here is foul. If Fred Hoiberg did this, I'd absolutely be critical of him. Same goes for Billy Donovan.
5. Don't Go Under On Tony Snell
I need to take a quick moment defending Tony Snell. Besides two really dumb, indecisive backcourt decisions where he was carelessly looking to get the ball to a ball-handler thus resulting in near turnovers, Snell played a really nice game against OKC. Like, Tony Snell is an NBA-level player. That's literally all you need him to be. The team is 11.8 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor and 15.2 points per 100 worse with him off (there's a lot of noise going on there, so take it for what it's worth). He's not great, he's not horrible. He's about average, and that's totally OK. Being regular is completely acceptable.
I especially like how he's reading defenses this season:
Recognizes Kevin Durant getting caught, and boom, instantly pulls the trigger. No hesitation.
Snell's too good a shooter to allow something like this. Make him put the ball on the floor, make him uncomfortable. Basically, don't do what Shabazz Muhammad does: