Jusuf Nurkic and a Portland Trail Blazers have a post-up problem

The Portland Trail Blazers have flipped a book from a past decade. While they’re finally putting together a high-level invulnerability — yet there are some questions about how tolerable it is — they’ve taken a vital step behind offensively after ranking in a tip half of a joining in descent potency for a final 9 seasons.

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Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are right where they’ve always been from an potency perspective, and McCollum in sold has taken another large step brazen in his playmaking efforts. They’re removing high-level sharpened from Pat Connaughton and Shabazz Napier, dual players who haven’t been means to minister definitely personification poignant mins in their careers to this point. Even Al-Farouq Aminu, a defense-first forward, has been unequivocally fit in a games he’s been means to play.

So what’s going wrong for a Trail Blazers that puts them in a bottom third of a joining on that finish of a floor? There are a crowd of problems for Portland offensively right now, including Evan Turner’s inability to measure efficiently, though a place to concentration is on post-ups. The Trail Blazers use 9.0 percent of their security on post-ups, many of that go to Jusuf Nurkic, and they measure 0.77 points per trip, a fourth-worst symbol in a joining and an positively god-awful outcome for any halfcourt possession.

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The misfortune halfcourt offense in a NBA scores 0.85 points per possession, and a Trail Blazers are 7 points worse than that when they chuck a turn into a post. Nurkic gets a infancy of these looks — he’s obliged for some-more than half of all of Portland’s post-ups — and they’re even worse on his possessions, formulating a measly 70.8 descent rating in those situations. They chuck him about 5 post-ups per diversion and are formulating an descent value 14 points worse than a Kings’ 30th-ranked halfcourt offense. If we haven’t figured it out by now, that’s unequivocally bad.

There are dual categorical reasons Nurkic’s post diversion has been so bad this season: Portland doesn’t run adequate pre-action to get him good position opposite an off-balance defender and he doesn’t quarrel for that position when he is means to get down there. He has comparatively good hands, is able of going over possibly shoulder and is large adequate to behind down flattering many anybody. In a joining that eschews a normal post-up, Nurkic has a skills to keep it alive, though a formula customarily aren’t there for a group perplexing to contend for a berth in a second turn of a playoffs.

Throwing divided 5 possession per diversion to furnish as tiny as Nurkic’s post-ups have combined won’t work opposite good teams and positively won’t work in a playoffs. He’s a good adequate passer as well, though a offense gets low around him when he catches in a post, feeding a cyclical inlet of these things: a fringe players don’t pierce since he frequency passes out and he frequency passes out since a fringe players don’t move.

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Nurkic’s rejection to quarrel for low position before he gets a turn is antithetical to a hit he invites once he has possession. He’s happy to let his male pull him out to 15 feet, though once a turn is entered into a post, he goes to work, subsidy down his defender with palliate to get behind to that good position. Watch next how Jason Smith, all 240 pounds of him, army a 280-pound Nurkic out toward a perimeter:

Once Nurkic catches, however, it’s an wholly opposite story. He goes right by Smith, removing into a paint with ease. How many easier would his life be if he fought for that kind of position before a turn was entered in a initial place? Then he could take one leap into Smith’s physique to finish adult right underneath a basket and get a layup or dunk. The counterargument is Nurkic chooses to deposit out to a fringe to govern a probable leap palm off with a fringe player, though he afterwards needs to give adult a turn when that movement doesn’t furnish an advantage for his team.

Every so often, Portland’s guards will get him a post-up out of a pick-and-roll, perplexing to take advantage of a large male who gets held out on a fringe with a turn handler and is out of position. Once again, however, Nurkic gives adult that good position:

Nurkic screens for Napier on a perimeter, though fast slips a screen, withdrawal both Chandler Parsons and Marc Gasol on a fringe and relocating unmolested into a paint. He gets to a limited area and instead of creation stay there to get a pass from Lillard, he floats out toward a corner, eventually throwing a turn dual stairs from a block. He translates on a indirect conflict with Gasol, though there’s unequivocally tiny that was good about a possession.

There are good moments for Nurkic in a post. As bad as his positioning is in halfcourt post-ups, he does get good position in semi-transition and early offense:

Now that’s some-more like it! When a miscarry bounces divided to a teammate, he sprints a building tough and catches a turn during a tip of a limited area. He can’t finish by a hit that time, though these early post-ups are a ideal approach to get him his touches and prerogative him for a effort.

The worry for a Portland coaching staff is Nurkic will regression on both ends if he’s not fed a solid diet of post touches. We’ve seen a litany of centers get pouty about a miss of post-ups; Dwight Howard’s bid turn on invulnerability is roughly directly correlated with how many post touches he’s had in that game. It’s not an complaint of these guys — roughly each actor in a joining advantages from removing a turn in his hands and feeling he’s a large partial of a offense. There’s a reason coaches tell reporters “the turn has energy.”

Players opposite all positions do improved on both ends of a building when they’re concerned offensively and get a possibility to hold a ball. The customarily problem is that giving Nurkic and other centers their touches customarily involves removing a unequivocally bad shot during a finish of it, that is because centers are many maligned for angry about not removing a ball. There is no easy resolution here. The Trail Blazers need to keep throwing a turn to Nurkic and vouchsafing him have his touches, though maybe a few tiny fixes in his diversion would assistance make those security during slightest somewhat some-more efficient.

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