Debate: Efficiency of the Post-up Play?

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What do you want to see from Blake?
I agree with Doc, I want BG's focus to be on facing up around the elbow to drive or shoot.
 13%  [2]
I just want Blake to keep improving overall.
 60%  [9]
I agree with Skip & Chuck, Blake won't be a winner without a dominate post-game.
 26%  [4]
Total Votes : 15

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Clipper Starter
Posts: 974

I'd like to start an intelligent conversation, since non-intelligent NBA "experts" or "analysts" (Charles Barkley... Skip Bayless) have been dominating the conversation about our team, and specifically, Blake Griffin.

So the question is, Do we really want Blake to post-up more?

Seems like those words have been driven down our throats so much that we automatically agree, and of course there's some truth to this... but is it as much as we think?

Last season, Mike D'Antoni was ripped for saying, "One of the least efficient moves in basketball is the straight up post-up." And rightfully so, he had a team that basically played two centers at the 4 & 5, with old guards that needed a break at times, so constant PnR may not have been best suited for that roster...

But what about when posting up is not a main strength of your team?

Griffin's post-game is beat up a little more than it deserves, I found this on Grantland...

"There's a tendency to point at the block and criticize Griffin's post game, but in actuality, he does a decent job of scoring efficiently there, posting a PPP of 0.836, which places him in the 62nd percentile among all NBA players."

Now in the past, Griffin's face-up game was even less effective than that, prompting Doc River's to ask Blake to make the face-up game the focal point of his off-season workouts. With an improving jumper combined with his handles, passing ability, and explosion to the rim, this should eventually make him more lethal in the halfcourt than trying to bang!

A post up play is essentially an isolation play because your usually not using much ball movement once it gets to the post, and your either going 1-on-1 or 1-on-2. These are general stats I found about Iso vs. Ball-movement...

"Synergy broke down various types of plays by points per possession produced and found that plays involving off-the-ball cuts (1.18 ppp) and transition plays (1.12 ppp) are the two most efficient plays. The least efficient is an isolation play, which is worth 0.78 points per possession. In iso plays in which the player passes the ball, that number jumps to 0.93 ppp. The least efficient way to score, it would seem, is 1-on-1."

I know that includes the "Rudy Gay"-type of Iso but bare with me, I'm not a statistician. It still seems to me that running Doc and Alvin's plays with constant motion and ball movement will work better than having Blake bang on the block all season.

Therefore, I'm going to try to ignore the media (mostly Barkley & Bayless) because they're obsessed with post-up bigs. Even though the post-up is essentially an isolation which is inefficient. Even though Doc wants Blake to face-up at the elbow more. Even though Doc hardly had KG post-up in BOS when that's a bigger strength for KG than it is for BG. Even though the post-up big man is becoming extinct... should I go on? Bayless is a Duncan/Parker butt kisser and he's threatened by the Clips' style and Barkley wants BG to play like him, which isn't that effective anymore. Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol are the last 3 Power Forwards to win Championships. Not exactly post-up "bangers". I want Blake to be efficient & smart more than I want him to be tough. I'd love the post-up to be a stronger part of his arsenal, but let's calm down with the over-emphasis please!

I'm not going to act like I proved a huge point because I didn't, I'd just like to get us all to stop and think about the question and not let the Bill Simmons type run the conversation, at least not amongst us...

Posts: 7532

Having a dominant post up game is overrated. I want BG to have a good, consistent post up game with a respectable jumper. The main reason I want him to have a good post up game is not for the sake of scoring rather for the sake of commanding the double team and passing in the post to the open man.

Posts: 8521

Post-up for playmaking, not scoring

It's actually interesting that what we have seen is teams using the post more for playmaking than specifically for scoring. Posting up isn't automatically more efficient than a perimeter isolation. There was a time when teams just assumed that posting up was good and better and every big man possible would be given post-up isolations, but what you find is a lot of guys shooting about 44-45% with a decently high turnover rate on their post-ups. That's not efficient offense.

What some teams have adjusted to is that teams many times opposing teams double on post players, so those teams use the post to draw the defense in a get open shots. We see this with a PG like Kidd who really was not a huge scoring threat in the post, but opposing teams would double him, and he was really just interested in passing out of the post.

Wings > Bigs?

What you also see is a lot of teams posting up with long or skilled wing post-up players and surrounding them with big men who can shoot. Many times that is actually better because they are better shooters and passers, since they are going against guys their own size, the post-up is just as or more effective, and since their big is out on the perimeter, they are many times taking away the oppositions best rebounder and shot blocker from being as close to the basket.

There are actually few big men in the league who are very effective in a straight up post isolation (Dirk, LaMarcus, West, Gasol Kobe, Durant, etc).

Shaq isn't the norm

Blake isn't a beast like Shaq type post player, and he doesn't have an excellent jump-shot, so with that, there is a limit on how effective his straight up post-isolation can be unless he's excellently skilled in the post, and he isn't, though not bad as people make it seem, actually fairly good.

Barkley and Shaq are huge strong guys. Their idea of a post-up is catching the ball really close, or backing a guy down because they are just much stronger. What they fail to take into account is that if many of these guys are forcing post stuff, it means turn-around jumpshots, not power moves going to the basket.

Perimeter iso can be > Post iso

For example, for the Clippers, a Chris Paul isolation is the most effective isolation play, followed by a Jamal Crawford isolation. Blake isolating in the post is not as effective as those guys breaking down their defenders and isolating. What you would want to create our of Blake isolations is open shots by drawing the defense. Interestingly enough, a mid-post face-up isolation attacking the middle of the defense actually does a better job at consistently drawing defenses if they aren't going to automatically double.

Pick your spots

Where you want Blake posting up is off a reversal where he gets a seal or good position on his man and is within 5 feet of the basket. When he's further away you'd prefer him to attack facing the defense with an eye for finishing or creating an open shot.

Did recent teams have post bigs?

Just want to comment on Dirk, Bosh and Gasol. Dirk is actually a GREAT mid-post player. He might be one of the most effective post-up players in the league because his jumpshot goes in half the time. He's extremely efficient there because he's an insane shooter, and he can also face up and drive or draw a foul. He's not a low-post player, he's a mid-post player. Post is about efficiency and drawing defenses, not really about just beating people up near the basket, and if a guy can make as many shots in mid-post and be consistent, it is just as effective as low post.

Gasol was a really good post-player when LAL won. Bosh doesn't post up in Miami, but he does spread the floor for Lebron being used as a post-player.

Last year via Synergy: PPP / FG% / Foul Draw / TO%

Chris Paul isolation:

0.99 | 43.2% | 6% | 7.6%

Arranged by PPP

Dirk Nowitzki

1.02 | 50% | 7.0% | 8.8%

Marc Gasol

0.96 | 43.7% | 9.9% | 7.3%

David Lee

0.95 | 46.4% | 9.1% | 8%

David West

0.95 | 47.3% | 11.6% | 10.7%

LaMarcus Aldridge

0.94 | 47.6% | 6.9% | 9.4%

Tim Duncan

0.93 | 46.3% | 9.7% | 10.5%

Kevin Garnett

0.92 | 46.2% | 8% | 9.1%

Brook Lopez

0.91 | 44.2% | 11.2% | 9.7%

Al Jefferson

0.89 | 44.9% | 7.3% | 8.4%

Carl Landry

0.88 | 47.6% | 12.9% | 20.2%

Blake Griffin

0.88 | 46% | 7.7% | 12%

Pau Gasol

0.87 | 42.2% | 11.2% | 12.2%

Paul Millsap

0.85 | 43% | 11.6% | 11.6%

Al Horford

0.85 | 45.5% | 8.3% | 11.6%

Nikola Pekovic

0.84 | 40.8% | 9.5% | 11%

Carlos Boozer

0.84 | 43.7% | 6.6% | 12.6%

Zach Randolph

0.83 | 41.5% | 7.4% | 10.5%

Roy Hibbert

0.83 | 42.4% | 6.2% | 12%


0.82 | 43.3% | 7.1 % | 17.1%

Enes Kanter

0.82 | 48.1% | 6.4% | 23.7%

Derrick Favors

0.82 | 41.2% | 11.3% | 14.3%

DeAndre Jordan

0.81 | 49.6% | 13.3% | 13.8%

DeMarcus Cousins

0.81 | 41.8% | 10.1% | 15.9%

Greg Monroe

0.78 | 41.2% | 8.9% | 14.3%

Dwight Howard

0.74 | 44.5% | 15.1% | 18.2%

Wing Players

Kobe Bryant

1.05 | 55.3% | 12.8% | 14.2%

Kevin Durant

1.04 | 51.8% | 10.9% | 13.4%

Paul Pierce

0.95 | 47.4% | 11.8% | 11.1%

Carmelo Anthony

0.92 | 43.2% | 12.6% | 11.1%

Lebron James

0.89 | 43.6% | 10.4% | 7.8%

DeMar DeRozan

0.85 | 39% | 11.1% | 8.2%


    Pau Gasol wasn't healthy and neither was Howard, they are better in healthy years.

    This isn't best post moves, it is most effective post players, if you have nice moves but never draw fouls, or turn it over too much, you aren't effective

    PPP = Point per play

    A majority of the top guys have a TOV% <10

    Some players PPP looks weird in comparison to their foul draw and TOV%, but remember that if you have a high foul draw rate, you still need to make those FT's, so a good FT shooter also gets increased effectiveness in the post because they are getting more points per post play that they are fouled. A really bad FT shooter (DJ) for example get's a decrease because 38% FT is actually only 0.76 PPP.

    Dirk and DJ are the only players that shot ~50% in post-up situations, and DJ would actually be higher in the effectiveness (/PPP) list if he made his FT's because he has a 13.3% foul draw rate, but the shooting of his FT's (38% = 0.76) brings down his PPP

    Chris Paul is more effective running an isolation play than every big man but Dirk is at posting up

    Blake Griffin was the 11th most effective post-up player out of the big men listed.

    Blake would actually be quite high up there if he was an 80% FT shooter like most of those guys are

    The top wing players are more effective in the post than the top big men, Durant for example because he has big man length and is guarded by wings and is a great shooter, and Kobe because of a combination of tons of post skill and great shooting ability

    We see a pattern that the best guys in the post are those who are long and can also shoot and that a beast post player like Shaq or Barkley who both also had great length and strength, and Barkely could also shoot. Those players are an anomaly, not the rule.

Clipper Starter
Posts: 958

Like Heliflopter said it's more about spacing. Having a big that can command double teams is huge, more-so this year with guys like JJ and Duds to kick out to.

Defensively having a guy that can protect the rim is huge as well.

We have potential in those two facets, but Blake and especially DJ need to hit those FTS.

Clipper Starter
Posts: 974

@Agent0 when I mentioned Dirk, Pau & Bosh, I was just trying to say they're more finesse players than bangers. I know they use forms of post-ups but I'm talking about what Barkley says Blake needs to be. I also like all the points you made, nice post.

Clipper Starter
Posts: 958

I don't think Pau is that soft. He may not be KMart or Ben Wallace, but he's no Bosh.

Clipper Starter
Posts: 974

I just said he wasn't a banger. A banger is like David West or Zbo & that's what Charles, Bill Simmons, & Bayless all think Blake should be. Pau isn't a low post banger, he has finesse.

PS, I didn't say he was soft... But he is soft. After every play he looks at the refs like he's about to cry, with the most defeated look in his eyes! That dude is b#tchmade.

Posts: 5404


Looking at refs after plays is what makes you soft now? Well then I guess it's safe to say Duncan, LeBron, Kobe, Durant and Westbrook are the softest players in the league.

Those players are b#tchmade.

Posts: 7450

encouraging a guy that can't shoot to shoot isn't good advice. i mean, if you can't make free throws, what makes you think blake's gonna become more consistent shooting from the elbow?

Posts: 7532

He has to learn how to be a consistent and competent jump shooter eventually if he wants to be a great player and help elevate this team to the next level. Otherwise teams are just going to dare him to shoot jumpers all game long and it will kill our offense. This especially true since we will have DJ on the floor most of the time and he can't space the floor.

Posts: 3125



Also his stroke for his J is better than than his stroke for his FTs.

Posts: 7532

Its not like Blake's FT shooting is so bad that is hurts us. If you foul him at the end of games you are doing a bad job. He is most likely going to be a 65-70% Ft shooter which isn't good but won't cost us games. His ft shooting will probably gradually improve and up to around 70-75%. He needs to improve his jumper, post game, and defense more.

Posts: 7450

we already lack bigs. if doc is encouraging the guy to play from the elbow and either face up and drive or shoot jumpers, he's also taking our most efficient rebounder out of the rebounding equation. only 1 other big will be able to have a decent shot at rebounding his bricks.

Posts: 7450

i hear ya, but that's not saying much. they're both slow-mo and robotic.

Posts: 5129

I've got some seriously mixed feelings about this. I feel like Doc and Alvin want Blake to be an outside-in player. Meaning start with establishing elbow jumpers, then going inside. I get that. On paper that makes a lot of sense. But Blake's more of an inside-out guy. Starts out with scoring inside. Then he kinda works his way out with the occasional turnaround jumper or dribble between the legs then shoot off the glass jumper. These are shots that are more in rhythm and natural for him. We saw him do a lot of that his rookie year.

But if he does that, it won't provide the spacing that Doc needs for his offense. I feel like he should go with a certain strategy in those elbow situations. Every time he gets the ball, he should take one step forward and in one single motion go for the shot off the glass. It'll get him a little closer, give him a little rhythm moving forward and I think he'll have better success with that kind of shot.

I don't know, I'm just throwing that out there.

Posts: 7532

What I don't advocate is all the jump shots Blake takes from near the 3 point line. He needs to get closer to the rim. He shouldn't be taking 20 footers unless its necessary and I don't think you guys get what I mean when I say that BG NEEDS to develop a respectable jumper. If he doesn't develop one a competent team like the Spurs will just clog the paint and sag off our bigs when BG and DJ are on the floor and play tight defense on everyone else.

The offense will be terrible if that happens. A great example of this is the Miami vs Spurs series. When Lebron and Wade were on the floor the offense was terrible since neither of them could hit their jump shots. That changed in game 5 and 7 when Lebron managed to hit his jumpers and made the Spurs pay.

This wouldn't be a problem if we had a C who could act like a floor spacer but DJ is not that player and Mullens sucks.

Posts: 8521

Honestly I don't get why Blake shoots from so far though. Why does he have to shoot 20-22 foot jumpshots?

We are all (most) quite familiar with Brand, and he was a very good mid-range shooter, but he shot more between 10-15 feet. Brand shot 580 jumpshots from 10-15 in 05-06 (49%), another 265 from 16-23 (43%), but even his 16-23 ones were mainly between 16 and 18 feet. What I don't get is why Blake drifts so far to the perimeter and takes jumpshots just inside the 3PT line? If you're going to do that, you might as well be shooting a 3PT shot.

Now, granted, Brand has a 7'5.5" wingspan and a 9'2 standing reach and he can shoot over a contest much easier than Blake who has a 6'11 wingspan and an 8'9 standing reach. 5 inches is a pretty big difference in reach and in getting a shot off. Still, just in that video, you can see where Brand's jumpshots are coming from. Blake on the other hand is always drifting towards the 3PT line.

I wonder if it is Doc and Gentry or if it is Blake himself, or a bit of both.

I sometimes get the assumption that Blake himself has sort of confused attacking from the elbow with having to shoot jumpshots.

The team seems to mix it up. They run some misdirection plays where he gets a good seal and good position to do a one dribble or no dribble post move. That's where Blake needs to use the back to the basket.

They then also run some sets that gets him facing the basket from mid-post. In those situations, he doesn't HAVE to shoot, he can attack from the face-up. Now, yes, being able to shoot makes it easier, but Blake sometimes seems to think that if he's looking to score in those sets it has to be a jumpshot.

Posts: 8521

You're correct, and being banger isn't necessarily more effective than being a finesse player. I think Gasol definitely has some low post to him. He unfairly get's characterized as soft, but Pau will mix it up and he has great length to work down low.

Posts: 5129

Hell, I'm confused as to what they want. The assumption at first was for Blake to take those shots. In fact Doc told Blake to shoot and not worry about how many misses. Yet Doc applauded Blake for "being Blake" when he attacked the basket against Golden State. It's no wonder if Blake's a little confused.

Posts: 6048

Agent0 as far as your long post --- No ****? I didn't know that.

All of you have tunnel vision and none of you have the Hipability to look far over the horizon.

Can it be that this is just practice time? The guy obviously has holes in his game and the only place you can fix holes is in a game. For better or worse VDN never SEEMINGLY tried to expand his game. I'll bet a Kobe jersey that Doc isn't too unhappy about his shot selection. This bet means that I'll wear a Kobe jersey in public hopefully without vomiting. What if BG's hitting them in practice but freezing? DJ did that with FT's. As far as banging in the post, this guy is an anomaly. He's freakishly strong. He can do it.

Bowen was as well as being a master in the knee-to-groin defense was a deadly corner 3 pt bingoer. His FT% did not reflect this. They are different.

Could it be that Doc sees a lot of potential in multiple areas and feels he can develop BG into a more complete player? If this can happen before the PO's I don't give a rat's rump what happens now. The whole is superior to the sum of its parts.

DJ hereinafter known as Big Six, will get a jumper by PO

Posts: 8521

I don't really get your post, you seem to think everyone is disagreeing that Blake needs to expand his game, but is that what is going on here? I'm a bit confused as to what exactly you are responding to.

Posts: 6048

I found your post interesting.

My point is that this part of the season may be practice time and some of the things like his shooting from deep and not banging in the post may be learning experiences. The only way you learn is to fail a lot and to fail in games. Maybe he's learning things as an adjunct to post play to add to his arsenal. Not either or. He has a lot of unique talents which need to be developed. Doc may see things we don't see. As example he may shoot well from deep in practice but choke in games. I'm not worried if he dribble drives to the hoop and travels or gets stripped. One day he won't. His ball handling skills seem better than Malone of Duncan. TRAVEL A LOT BLAKE! I'm not too worried about what looks to be bad play at this point. I think this guy may be more multifaceted than we think. What if he does a pick and pop well in practice? One of the problems with his jumper is lack of fluidity resultant from lack of confidence. That's remedied by hitting shots which means you have to take a lot of shots. Is Zbo going to come out and guard him? Then he drives around Zack. This is not fantasy land. This could happen

Doc I'm sure is trying to develop him into a complete player but develop him in Doc's way. We don't however know Doc's vision. It's like learning to play a song. You concentrate on your right hand knowing your left hand is going to screw up. You expect it to and you don't care. When you right hand is OK then work on the left but you know they won't work together yet and you will make mistakes until finally after a million bad shots from deep it gels. (mixed simile) That may be what's happening. If he screws up now as a learning experience now I don't care. He won't in the PO's. If however by ??late Dec it's obvious that it's not a learning experience but bad play it's time to get upset.

It's been bandied about that he could be one of the best PF's ever but he needs to develop more weapons so he needs to screw up a lot more.

Patience Grasshoppers

Toohip 3:16 The only person who never screws up A LOT is one who has learned nothing. From personal experience

Posts: 8521

I thought you were being sarcastic, never really know.

In terms of shooting, I personally have no problem with Blake shooting. I've always defended the fact that he needs to shoot to keep defenses honest. What I have issues with as well as CP3Heliflopter is Blake shooting mid-range jumpers from 1-2 feet inside the three point line. That's probably the worst shot to take, might as well take a 3PT shot in that case. I just don't understand why he isn't taking his jumpers from about 15-16 feet as opposed to 20-22 feet, and it's not coaching cause he did the same thing last season. The defense isn't hounding him 15 feet away, but he likes to spot up further back and likes to step back if he has a closer shot.

Don't you think it is really weird?

I do think Doc has laid out his vision and expressed it, and it is something similar to what Amare did as a Sun. I think the vision is good, and I think Blake can be a great face-up player, but still, why does he shoot his jumpshots from further than he needs to? It's just so weird.

Maybe Blake is just, well, weird....

Clipper All-Star
Posts: 1679
Location: So Cal

I definitely agree with you guys that want Blake to take a step or two forward for those jump shots. I also agree with @toohipcliptoslip about letting them work on their new found game early on in the season.

I do think that Blake's post game isn't as bad as it is made out to be, just think he needs to post up at the right spot. I think both our bigs sometimes fail to get good position early on, but they seem to be improving. This is in regards to posting up as well as boxing out.

When Blake gets the ball in good position he makes the offense pay if they don't double him. The exception is when DJ is down there with him, his guy can roll off as long as he can watch out for a lob. I'd like to see DJ go set a screen for one of the wing players on the opposing side of Blake posting up.

Clipper Starter
Posts: 974
LATimes: Clippers Coach Doc Rivers says he likes Blake Griffin's approach Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said he's not worried if Blake Griffin shoots a jump shot or if his power forward decides to power his way to the basket. Rivers just wants Griffin to be forceful in whatever he does. "I just want Blake to be aggressive," Rivers said. "I think Blake in the last two games has been perfect because he has taken what he wants, not what they are giving him. And I think that's what he should do. If he wants to take it, take it. If he doesn't want to,....

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