Breaking Down Ben Mclemore’s 1st Halft Versus Iowa State


0:00    Mclemore appears hesitant to rotate down to Iowa State big man, allowing the big man to be in position for the offensive rebound had the layup missed. It is hard to blame Mclemore for this because Jeff Withey never fully committed to contest the drive, and Mclemore was likely hesitant to leave his own man open in the corner for a kickout if Withey was not clearly out of position.


0:09    Mclemore is not required to affect this play defensively, but gets into position to make a rotation if necessary then denies his man an opportunity to go for the offensive rebound.


0:15    Mclemore takes a poor angle to get around the screen, the his mistake is emphasized by an uncalled moving screen.   He was trying to deny the pass, but in this situation it may have been easier to go under the screen straight to his man in the corner.  With Mclemore is a good enough defender to prevent his man from beating him baseline, and Iowa State’s spacing would have prevented a drive to the middle of the court.


0:24    Though the high hedge (and the limited ability of college basketball pointguards) prevented a pass, Mclemore should have cut off the rolling big man and denied a pass.  Generally this would have been Withey’s responsibility, but the off ball screen on Withey’s side of the court left an Iowa State shooter open, meaning Withey could not drop all the way into the paint without leaving an open shot and lane for the same man likely to receive the outlet pass off the high pick and roll.  In the NBA, many teams have their wing players “bump” the pick and roll roll man.  Mclemore will have to get used to hurrying into the lane to deny a pass allowing the defensive big man to recover, and sprinting back to cover his man.   Mclemore does appear to make an attempt to do this, but does not really affect the roll man.


0:29    Mclemore looks comfortable coming around the screens, and draws the attention of the strong-side wing defender, who helps one pass off the ball.  Mclemore makes the easy pass to his open teammate.  Also, Mclemore repeats the awareness of rebounding shown earlier by continuing his curl into the lane and attempting to box out a defender.


0:40    This is a poor decision.  There is time left on the shot clock to find a better shot, but Mclemore opts for an off-balance step back.  This is no excuse, but his ability to drive was limited by Kansas’ offensive spacing.  Withey was attempting to post up on the strong side, leaving no room for Mclemore to operate.  Also, notice how Iowa States’ number 13 has his head turned towards Mclemore as his man is running to the opposite side of the court, preventing him from driving middle.


0:44    This play shows Mclemore’s defensive potential, but reveals some flaws.  He is comfortable defending his man above the three point line, and is in position to deny a pass to the big man without allowing a drive.  After the pass, Mclemore turns his head towards the ball and is caught off guard by the cut and screen.  I would criticize Mclemore for choosing to go under the screen, but that was likely an attempt to recover as quickly as possible to the shooter and not the same decision he would have made had he expected the screen.


0:55    Mclemore executes a coordinated euro-step in transition, but cannot get the off-balance shot to fall.  He may have gotten to the rim with another dribble before his move.


1:00    Similar to 0:15, Mclemore chooses to go over an off-ball screen, leaving his man open in the corner.  If he is going to go over off-ball screens, he must be able to get above the screen setter before the ball-handler is in position to throw the pass so that he can deny.  He may have expected McGee to continue to the wing, suggesting Mclemore is not used to guarding good off-ball shooters, something that may be be easily mended by NBA coaching.


1:09    Mclemore attempts to pressure his man near half court, but opens his stance towards the middle of the court, allowing an easy drive.  Perhaps he was trying to deny the screen, but he was not close enough to the screen and the big man was not in position for that defensive strategy.


1:17    Mclemore finds the open space in what appears to be a zone defense, and knocks down an impressive shot.  To the enjoyment of every CYO coach in the country, he immediately follows his own shot.


1:23    Mclemore is not in great position to get the rebound, but the Iowas State big man goes too close to the hoop, allowing Mclemore to take advantage of his athleticism and grab the rebound.

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