Posts Tagged ‘hero ball’

Tonight was a good night to be at the Wells Fargo Center.  Not only did the Sixers exorcise some of their demons, but they got a much needed win to stay in the hunt to win the Atlantic Division.  There are a few quick interesting elements of the game worth covering.  Doug Collins didn’t seem to suggest that any of the following were any more than fluke or circumstance, but the following happened in the last five minutes of the Sixers game tonight:

1) Lou Williams and Thad Young didn’t even sniff the court.  Doug states that they were both exhausted, and that Jrue, Evan, and Meeks were on the court because they were energetic.

2) The Sixers ran their offense late, they played the way they typically play for the other 43 minutes of the game.  They did not have a single possession of “hero ball,” and they looked for the open man, the mismatch, they passed out of double-teams, and they ran the offense primarily through Elton Brand.  Who was seriously clutch.


Hardwood Blacktop’s Sixers coverage has been a little bit spotty (or non-existent) of late, thanks to the series the “royal we” put together on some of the best hip hop albums of the first quarter.  That said, it’s still the mission here to cover the Sixers, the Blazers, and rap music, and various other things.  So – no change in venue.

I came across a couple of really interesting reads immediately relevant to the Sixers, one of which was March’s issue of ESPN the Magazine from John Hollinger on “Hero Ball,” which breaks down the ineffectiveness of the isolation offense in clutch situations.  The article raises something I’ve often believe, which is that teams do themselves a tremendous disservice by limiting their offensive options down to putting the ball in the hands of one player (even if he is their most efficient offensive player), during crunch time.  Theories that I’ve heard to support hero ball, generally revolve around the notion that defenses become tighter, during crunch time and it becomes much more difficult for teams to run a play involving multiple parts effectively.  That explanation has always seemed simplistic to me, for two main reasons:

1) if teams could play tighter defense for 48 minutes and routinely drive a much higher level of offensive inefficiency in their counterparts, you’d think coaches would’ve figured that out by now (although some might argue that Coach Collins has).

2) when teams overplay on defense, usually other options open up on plays (like backdoor passes, lobs, open shots in the corner, etc)