On the latest episode of "Strictly Hoops with C.J. Miles", Miles explains what's lacking in the Raptors' halfcourt offence. Listen to the full episode on the "Raptors Over Everything" podcast feed or watch on our YouTube channel.
AMIT MANN: --and the ups and downs. And when Pascal goes out, he is the guy, right? We know this. He is the man. But when he goes out, things look a little bit different. And you start picking holes in the Raptors offense. We know their ethos. They look for advantages, whether it be post ups in the half-court, whatever. Drop coverage-- Fred loves to expose that. He did it yesterday against Dewayne Dedmon, which we're going to get to in a second here.
But when the advantages aren't there as much-- and this is where we get into those matchups against, like, a Boston, who are just so fundamentally sound with their one-on-one defense, the Raptors look very different in the half-court, right? What are your thoughts on their mindset?
And do you think it's a sustainable way to win games, especially late in the postseason? Because I think that is part of why they're doing this. They think that, hey, in the end, when each team knows each other's sets in the playoffs, Game 6, Game 7, you guys know each other. It's about who executes better. Your advantages are the things that are going to get you through.
CJ MILES: Yeah, so like we're saying, not running a lot of sets, playing an open style of basketball with-- with some younger guys mixed in that rotation, and some guys that haven't been primary ball handlers before, it can get stagnant. Because guys aren't decisive all the time. And then when you've got guys that are really good, like Pascal or like Scottie, and even Fred sometimes, that kind of can get into isos because they feel like there's nothing going on, or the clock gets low, it can get like that.
There has to be constant movement. But the movement has to be with a purpose, meaning the backside movement-- guys have got to understand-- a guy's got to understand his own strength, and the players he's on the floor with strength, meaning-- like, when I was on the floor, me knowing that I was a floor spacer, and there was not going to be help off of me because of that, being able to shoot the ball, I moved in ways that allowed guys to play to their strengths. So if I was in the corner, and they were running a pick and roll with Jakob or Pascal or JV, I would move-- I would time my movements to make sure guys couldn't tag the roller, they couldn't stop the guy from getting a dunk, or to make him make a decision-- either you stay home with me and I get an open 3, or JV gets a dunk.
I think the more and more they can figure out themselves and each other, the more and more you can look at the game that way with the movement. And even in isos, quicker decisions-- we talked about the dunk that OG gets from the corner in the Detroit game. That's an iso. It's just not dancing with the ball. Dalano pushes, makes a pass, cuts through. OG makes a decision right away. I got an angle, I drive it. If they cut me off, then it's another pass, and it's another drive. Touch the paint, make defenses move. The other guys move in, so there's not help. I'm trying not to get too fast with what I'm saying, but--
AMIT MANN: No, I get what you're saying.
CJ MILES: --the more movement, the more you can keep guys off the help positions. So like Boston, who you say they're a great half-court defensive team because they get in a shell, they show bodies, they clog the lane, like teams are doing to Pascal and Scottie. The more those guys on the backside can move and screen and do things, the less time that Marcus Smart can spend on the nail and get steals when somebody drives.
AMIT MANN: Yeah.
CJ MILES: And that's the main point of that type of offense-- to keep guys in constant movement. And you don't have set places where guys have to be when you run set plays.
AMIT MANN: And that's the advantage of the read and react kind of offense that the Raptors are trying to do. How do you learn to move with purpose? What are the keys to doing that? How do you do it?
CJ MILES: Obviously, minutes, playing time, so we can bring back film from the playing time to show you more things and more times where you could have moved or you shouldn't have moved. And then just drilling it.
Like, when I was there in practice, we 5-on-0'd with no defense so much, just to get guys in a rhythm with each other, understanding the different type of options that you can do and see, just understanding the spacing on the floor, the way it looks. And then when we scrimmage and we do things, like, obviously there's different ways to drill that, too. But we just literally repped it and repped it and repped it.
And it's early in the season, which is why this will grow as the season goes. And you get to-- Nick gets to keep a bunch of sets for himself as the season goes. You try 'em out here and there so they're not overly scouted.
But in the playoffs, it's about who can make a play. It doesn't matter what sets I call when they know them all. And there's always going to be the best defender, the best units on the floor.
Guys are playing until they're gassed out. There's no second-- first and second unit. It's who's playing well right now. We need to be able to make plays.