A case for ‘hero ball’; Blazers can absolutely play better; Draymond Green in defensive league by himself

–If you want to know why teams don’t just “run their offense” in a game’s final moments or last couple of possessions, watch the end of the Clippers-Jazz Game 1. Both of the game’s biggest buckets — Chris Paul’s little jumper and Joe Johnson’s game-winner — were absolute instances of getting the ball in a guy’s hands and letting him go one-on-one.

This is often referred to as “hero ball,” a term I despise with the intensity of a thousand suns, yet that’s a topic for another time.

The reason it’s not as simple as “running your offense” down the stretch of a game is because when you run your offense you don’t know who’s going to have the ball at the critical juncture that a play needs to be made. You don’t want a non-shooter with the ball late in the shot clock … but that’s the obvious point.

If you run you’re offense, you’re not going to know who’s going to shoot the ball or when. You put the ball into your best player’s hands and allow him to make a decision, then you already know the answer to both of those questions.

—-One of the sentiments I heard after Game 1 of the Warriors-Blazers was Portland can’t play much better — particularly Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum — so if it couldn’t win on Sunday how is it going to ever win in this series?

Well, I think the Blazers can play better. If the Blazers are to beat the Warriors they not only need their backcourt to produce, they need multiple role players to give positive production, too. And how did Noah Vonleh, Moe Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu and Allen Crabbe play? Not well. And don’t even get me started on Meyers Leonard.

Point is, the Blazers played a nice game overall, despite losing 121-109. But nice isn’t going to cut it against the Warriors. They need more than a half-dozen players each game to give them something. They need half their roster to raise its level of play.

I’m convinced that Lillard and McCollum have that in them. Not sure about the others.

—-By this point, if you don’t see Draymond Green’s defensive greatness, I don’t know what to tell you. It’s getting to where I’m struggling to say I’ve ever seen a better defender — in my lifetime. I didn’t see Bill Russell.

Scottie Pippen was the best defender I’ve ever seen, long and lanky yet strong, able to swallow up smaller players, and that included point guards at times. If the other team had a perimeter player you wanted to shut down or limit, Pippen was your man. But he didn’t really guard 4s, and 5s were out of the question.

Dennis Rodman was similar, yet kind of the other way. He was long and strong — capable of defending centers, power forwards and some small forwards. But he wasn’t asked to defend, nor could he do much with, a mobile point guard or two.

Green, however, can go 1 through 5. Now that doesn’t mean Green can shut down point guards or he can bang with bigs all night. But what it means is that if and when Green gets matched up against any other player on the court, he has a legitimate chance to defend him and stop him from scoring.

On Sunday, McCollum went by or out-clevered Green a couple of times going to the basket. The reason I’m bringing that up is because when a player scores on Green, it’s almost noteworthy, something you remember. Greatest ever? I don’t know. I’m just telling you I’ve never seen anything like him.













About Steinmetz

Matt Steinmetz is a veteran San Francisco Bay Area sports journalist. He covered the Golden State Warriors for the Bay Area News Group for more than a decade before becoming a television analyst with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Steinmetz can be heard on "Steiny & Guru" on 95.7-FM The Game in San Francisco, from 12-3.
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1 Response to A case for ‘hero ball’; Blazers can absolutely play better; Draymond Green in defensive league by himself

  1. allbrews says:

    Matt, the second half of your column is the reason the first half of your column doesn’t make sense. The Warriors can afford to play the Blazers even for 3 quarters because they know that when they have to, they can throw a group out there with Green, Clark, Thompson, Iguodala and West, they can absolutely throttle the Blazers, who struggled to get even a good look, from anyone. I don’t think the Blazers can do that.


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