More Okafor Less Lars

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bearister
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Name all the Cal bigs that understood backboard angles, and effectively utilized them, as well as or better than Lars. Most of the ones I can think of since 1986 (when I bought season tickets) were stone masons.
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stu
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For sure Mark McNamara. And Robert Thurman understood one angle, straight down.
bearister
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Yes, a dunker Lars ain't.
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SFCityBear
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Civil Bear said:

SFCityBear said:

Civil Bear said:

HoopDreams said:

Civil Bear said:


Lars was +3 for the game while Okofor was +16. The team was -15 for the 5:12 neither was on the floor.

In the Utah loss, Lars was -15 while ND was 0.
+/- tells a story, but not a complete story

Braun had big praise for Lars. He also recognized how well Okafor played, but called him "raw". That's how I see him. Lots of potential and a college made body, but raw, especially on defense.

if you are saying Okofor is the better player overall?


Of course, +/- doesn't tell the whole story, but it is particularly telling when the two players substitute for each other and do not share the court together.

Braun also said Lars has great hands when praising him. That is patently ridiculous. Despite having good free-throw numbers, Fox's choice to sit Lars down the stretch shows the lack of confidence in him to help break the press.

The eyeball test says ND has been the better player in the last two games. The stark +/- numbers back it up.
Do you think Braun could have been talking about the fine touch Lars has in his fingers when shooting the ball, with all the success he has shooting soft shots near the basket? Great shooters usually have fine touch in the fingertips.
No, Braun wasn't nearly that specific. But if he were, I would downgrade my comment from patently ridiculous to just meh. .548 for a post player that rarely shoots from outside the paint is not that special.

ND just isn't killing Lars on the +/- numbers over the last couple of games:
Shooting %: .625 to .400
Assists: 3 to 0
Turnovers: 0 to 4
Rebounds per Minute: 0.29 to 0.19
.548 for a post player who rarely shoots from out side the paint is not chopped liver either. Better than Okafor, who is at .442 for the same season, isn't it? Okafor is improving, but has not yet drawn the attention that Lars now gets from defenses. On a per 40 minute basis, Okafor is averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds, Lars 17 points and 9 rebounds. And Lars is shooting free throws at .733, Okafor at .571.

And if you are going to look only at the last two games, I can't tell you about Colorado, because I wasn't focusing on Lars in that one, but I did attend the Utah game, and in that game, Lars was double-teamed the entire time he was on the floor. The Utes held him to 4 points and fouled him out. It is clear that so far this season, Lars and Askew have been the main scoring threats for Cal, Lars inside, and Askew everywhere. Shut down one of them and Cal has no chance, and all our opponents know this by now. Better team play and less one-on-one is needed, which we got against Colorado, for about 3 quarters of the game.

I think you will continue to see Lars get the majority of minutes, but if Lars gets double-teamed again (which he will), I think Fox will be sure and get Okafor plenty of minutes, until he makes his own reputation as a force out there to be reckoned with. Lars has never been able to play more than 20-25 minutes, so I think Okafor will get good minutes. This is the first season for Fox that he has had enough bigs on the roster to have enough depth up front, and I think Fox is playing it right, until I see more from Okafor. His improvement from early season has been impressive.
SFCityBear
calumnus
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SFCityBear said:

Civil Bear said:

SFCityBear said:

Civil Bear said:

HoopDreams said:

Civil Bear said:


Lars was +3 for the game while Okofor was +16. The team was -15 for the 5:12 neither was on the floor.

In the Utah loss, Lars was -15 while ND was 0.
+/- tells a story, but not a complete story

Braun had big praise for Lars. He also recognized how well Okafor played, but called him "raw". That's how I see him. Lots of potential and a college made body, but raw, especially on defense.

if you are saying Okofor is the better player overall?


Of course, +/- doesn't tell the whole story, but it is particularly telling when the two players substitute for each other and do not share the court together.

Braun also said Lars has great hands when praising him. That is patently ridiculous. Despite having good free-throw numbers, Fox's choice to sit Lars down the stretch shows the lack of confidence in him to help break the press.

The eyeball test says ND has been the better player in the last two games. The stark +/- numbers back it up.
Do you think Braun could have been talking about the fine touch Lars has in his fingers when shooting the ball, with all the success he has shooting soft shots near the basket? Great shooters usually have fine touch in the fingertips.
No, Braun wasn't nearly that specific. But if he were, I would downgrade my comment from patently ridiculous to just meh. .548 for a post player that rarely shoots from outside the paint is not that special.

ND just isn't killing Lars on the +/- numbers over the last couple of games:
Shooting %: .625 to .400
Assists: 3 to 0
Turnovers: 0 to 4
Rebounds per Minute: 0.29 to 0.19
.548 for a post player who rarely shoots from out side the paint is not chopped liver either. Better than Okafor, who is at .442 for the same season, isn't it? Okafor is improving, but has not yet drawn the attention that Lars now gets from defenses. On a per 40 minute basis, Okafor is averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds, Lars 17 points and 9 rebounds. And Lars is shooting free throws at .733, Okafor at .571.

And if you are going to look only at the last two games, I can't tell you about Colorado, because I wasn't focusing on Lars in that one, but I did attend the Utah game, and in that game, Lars was double-teamed the entire time he was on the floor. The Utes held him to 4 points and fouled him out. It is clear that so far this season, Lars and Askew have been the main scoring threats for Cal, Lars inside, and Askew everywhere. Shut down one of them and Cal has no chance, and all our opponents know this by now. Better team play and less one-on-one is needed, which we got against Colorado, for about 3 quarters of the game.

I think you will continue to see Lars get the majority of minutes, but if Lars gets double-teamed again (which he will), I think Fox will be sure and get Okafor plenty of minutes, until he makes his own reputation as a force out there to be reckoned with. Lars has never been able to play more than 20-25 minutes, so I think Okafor will get good minutes. This is the first season for Fox that he has had enough bigs on the roster to have enough depth up front, and I think Fox is playing it right, until I see more from Okafor. His improvement from early season has been impressive.


In previous seasons Fox had Lars, Kelly and Thorpe. Even last year with Kelly and Lars we had at least as much depth up front as this year with Lars and Okafor.

I agree with your defense of Lars. Statistically he was our best returning player and is even better this year. It is great that Okafor is coming on but I think Lars vs Okafor is a false narrative. If Okafor is deserving of more PT let him play more than just back up center, let him also play alongside Lars at PF.
RedlessWardrobe
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I've been pushing for that, but Fox doesn't appear to want to do it.
stu
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calumnus said:

I agree with your defense of Lars. Statistically he was our best returning player and is even better this year. It is great that Okafor is coming on but I think Lars vs Okafor is a false narrative. If Okafor is deserving of more PT let him play more than just back up center, let him also play alongside Lars at PF.
I think playing two posts could help our rebounding and rim protection but the idea raises some questions:

Can either shoot beyond a few feet, move with the ball, or pass? Our spacing wouldn't be great with two guys stuck in the paint.

Can either defend beyond a few feet from the basket? Many opponents can put 4 shooters on the floor.

Can both play 30+ minutes?
HoopDreams
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Can both play 30+ minutes?


I think that's a key question
Civil Bear
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SFCityBear said:

Civil Bear said:

SFCityBear said:

Civil Bear said:

HoopDreams said:

Civil Bear said:


Lars was +3 for the game while Okofor was +16. The team was -15 for the 5:12 neither was on the floor.

In the Utah loss, Lars was -15 while ND was 0.
+/- tells a story, but not a complete story

Braun had big praise for Lars. He also recognized how well Okafor played, but called him "raw". That's how I see him. Lots of potential and a college made body, but raw, especially on defense.

if you are saying Okofor is the better player overall?


Of course, +/- doesn't tell the whole story, but it is particularly telling when the two players substitute for each other and do not share the court together.

Braun also said Lars has great hands when praising him. That is patently ridiculous. Despite having good free-throw numbers, Fox's choice to sit Lars down the stretch shows the lack of confidence in him to help break the press.

The eyeball test says ND has been the better player in the last two games. The stark +/- numbers back it up.
Do you think Braun could have been talking about the fine touch Lars has in his fingers when shooting the ball, with all the success he has shooting soft shots near the basket? Great shooters usually have fine touch in the fingertips.
No, Braun wasn't nearly that specific. But if he were, I would downgrade my comment from patently ridiculous to just meh. .548 for a post player that rarely shoots from outside the paint is not that special.

ND just isn't killing Lars on the +/- numbers over the last couple of games:
Shooting %: .625 to .400
Assists: 3 to 0
Turnovers: 0 to 4
Rebounds per Minute: 0.29 to 0.19
.548 for a post player who rarely shoots from out side the paint is not chopped liver either. Better than Okafor, who is at .442 for the same season, isn't it? Okafor is improving, but has not yet drawn the attention that Lars now gets from defenses. On a per 40 minute basis, Okafor is averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds, Lars 17 points and 9 rebounds. And Lars is shooting free throws at .733, Okafor at .571.

And if you are going to look only at the last two games, I can't tell you about Colorado, because I wasn't focusing on Lars in that one, but I did attend the Utah game, and in that game, Lars was double-teamed the entire time he was on the floor. The Utes held him to 4 points and fouled him out. It is clear that so far this season, Lars and Askew have been the main scoring threats for Cal, Lars inside, and Askew everywhere. Shut down one of them and Cal has no chance, and all our opponents know this by now. Better team play and less one-on-one is needed, which we got against Colorado, for about 3 quarters of the game.

I think you will continue to see Lars get the majority of minutes, but if Lars gets double-teamed again (which he will), I think Fox will be sure and get Okafor plenty of minutes, until he makes his own reputation as a force out there to be reckoned with. Lars has never been able to play more than 20-25 minutes, so I think Okafor will get good minutes. This is the first season for Fox that he has had enough bigs on the roster to have enough depth up front, and I think Fox is playing it right, until I see more from Okafor. His improvement from early season has been impressive.

I don't want to make this about ripping Lars, as I really like the guy and he has definitely made some strides this year. My point is more about ND outplaying him in the last couple of games. He is clearly stronger, more athletic, and now appears to be more court savvy (as evident from a couple of his nice dishes to Grant). The one area he is behind Lars is in experience, which he is only going to get with more playing time. Lars' .548 FG% is ok, but when you factor in that he fumbles the majority of contested passes his offensive numbers are not so valuable.
Big C
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stu said:

calumnus said:

I agree with your defense of Lars. Statistically he was our best returning player and is even better this year. It is great that Okafor is coming on but I think Lars vs Okafor is a false narrative. If Okafor is deserving of more PT let him play more than just back up center, let him also play alongside Lars at PF.
I think playing two posts could help our rebounding and rim protection but the idea raises some questions:

Can either shoot beyond a few feet, move with the ball, or pass? Our spacing wouldn't be great with two guys stuck in the paint.

Can either defend beyond a few feet from the basket? Many opponents can put 4 shooters on the floor.

Can both play 30+ minutes?

This being 2023, we can no longer have 40% of the lineup be post players. We would need at least one of them to stand out on the perimeter and do nothing on offense, and also to not close out on three-point shooters on defense.
HoopDreams
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Big C said:

stu said:

calumnus said:

I agree with your defense of Lars. Statistically he was our best returning player and is even better this year. It is great that Okafor is coming on but I think Lars vs Okafor is a false narrative. If Okafor is deserving of more PT let him play more than just back up center, let him also play alongside Lars at PF.
I think playing two posts could help our rebounding and rim protection but the idea raises some questions:

Can either shoot beyond a few feet, move with the ball, or pass? Our spacing wouldn't be great with two guys stuck in the paint.

Can either defend beyond a few feet from the basket? Many opponents can put 4 shooters on the floor.

Can both play 30+ minutes?

This being 2023, we can no longer have 40% of the lineup be post players. We would need at least one of them to stand out on the perimeter and do nothing on offense, and also to not close out on three-point shooters on defense.
agree
calumnus
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Big C said:

stu said:

calumnus said:

I agree with your defense of Lars. Statistically he was our best returning player and is even better this year. It is great that Okafor is coming on but I think Lars vs Okafor is a false narrative. If Okafor is deserving of more PT let him play more than just back up center, let him also play alongside Lars at PF.
I think playing two posts could help our rebounding and rim protection but the idea raises some questions:

Can either shoot beyond a few feet, move with the ball, or pass? Our spacing wouldn't be great with two guys stuck in the paint.

Can either defend beyond a few feet from the basket? Many opponents can put 4 shooters on the floor.

Can both play 30+ minutes?

This being 2023, we can no longer have 40% of the lineup be post players. We would need at least one of them to stand out on the perimeter and do nothing on offense, and also to not close out on three-point shooters on defense.


Problem is, nobody gave Fox the memo that this is 2023. He has assembled possibly the worst shooting team in the country. The question we are discussing is how can THIS team improve?

SFCityBear
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calumnus said:

Big C said:

stu said:

calumnus said:

I agree with your defense of Lars. Statistically he was our best returning player and is even better this year. It is great that Okafor is coming on but I think Lars vs Okafor is a false narrative. If Okafor is deserving of more PT let him play more than just back up center, let him also play alongside Lars at PF.
I think playing two posts could help our rebounding and rim protection but the idea raises some questions:

Can either shoot beyond a few feet, move with the ball, or pass? Our spacing wouldn't be great with two guys stuck in the paint.

Can either defend beyond a few feet from the basket? Many opponents can put 4 shooters on the floor.

Can both play 30+ minutes?

This being 2023, we can no longer have 40% of the lineup be post players. We would need at least one of them to stand out on the perimeter and do nothing on offense, and also to not close out on three-point shooters on defense.


Problem is, nobody gave Fox the memo that this is 2023. He has assembled possibly the worst shooting team in the country. The question we are discussing is how can THIS team improve?


It is a little premature to discuss this without having seen how a Clayton and the rest of the team will look with a healthy Askew. However, with the addition of Clayton, it looks like we already have improved a certain amount. If we can play like we did against Colorado, and learn to sustain it for more than 3 quarters, we will have improved a lot. If Fox can play an offense to utilize the 3 main guards plus Bowser (which Fox had probably already envisioned prior to the season, expecting all of them to be healthy, which didn't happen until 3 practices prior to the Utah game), then Fox can finally begin to practice his whole offense. With Askew playing point guard, we looked like a high school team, with our best player, Askew, bringing the ball up the floor, dribbling around like the freshman version of Ayinde Ubaka, looking for an opening, and then shooting or passing too late in the clock to be effective very much of the time. I still think Askew should be playing without the ball more often than with it, and Brown and Clayton share the point, most of the time. Askew needs to have the ball longer to score than most scorers, because he creates all his own shots. I am saying, give it to him, but give it to him later in the clock, if we haven't scored already. When Askew needs rest, either Clayton or Brown could play the shooting guard This will free Askew up to concentrate on scoring, which is what he does best, offensively. That is the main thing I'd do.

Our offensive rebounding is very poor. Doesn't anyone know how to follow, how to tip a missed shot into the basket? It would be a perfect natural improvement for Lars, perfect for him, because he would not have to catch the ball, just go up and give it light touch with the finger tips. He would have to learn to anticipate in a different way, but he already anticipates well enough to be our best offensive rebounder by miles. Maybe we could bring Omondi Amoke back, tell him all is forgiven, and we could pay him to come in here as a well-paid consultant and teach the big fella how to make the simple tip in. And while you are at it, teach at least Kuany, Okafor, Newell, and Bowser how to do the tip in as well.

Finally, I'd like Kuany to shoot more, be more aggressive in asking for the ball, and shooting with it. Newell and Okafor are coming along nicely. The shooting looks like it is improving,


SFCityBear
stu
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In our two wins we shot 57% and 58% from the field but overall we're shooting 41%. Basketball is a game with high variability so I'm not sure if we're improving or it's just a statistical fluctuation.
HoopDreams
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stu said:

In our two wins we shot 57% and 58% from the field but overall we're shooting 41%. Basketball is a game with high variability so I'm not sure if we're improving or it's just a statistical fluctuation.

lots of factors, but matchups are a big part of it.

our two wins were against one weak team and one solid team who had a weak front court.

I am surprised that Colorado has been as successful as they have been with such weak bigs. Lars dominated both their bigs and got them in foul trouble. Brown was in the zone and was scoring in multiple ways. With Cal scoring all those points in the paint, Utah gave more space on the perimeter, and so our shooters had open looks. A few went down and Cal gained confidence (it's amazing what confidence does to a hooper)

stu
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HoopDreams said:

stu said:

In our two wins we shot 57% and 58% from the field but overall we're shooting 41%. Basketball is a game with high variability so I'm not sure if we're improving or it's just a statistical fluctuation.

lots of factors, but matchups are a big part of it.

our two wins were against one weak team and one solid team who had a weak front court.

I am surprised that Colorado has been as successful as they have been with such weak bigs. Lars dominated both their bigs and got them in foul trouble. Brown was in the zone and was scoring in multiple ways. With Cal scoring all those points in the paint, Utah gave more space on the perimeter, and so our shooters had open looks. A few went down and Cal gained confidence (it's amazing what confidence does to a hooper)
My first rule of defense is to get right in the opponents' faces from the opening tip. If you come out soft and they hit a few you're in for a long night.
HoopDreams
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Agree, don't allow offensive player to be comfortable. Don't let them cleanly run their stuff or get to their spots. Take away their go to move

However with such talented players, it's tough to keep everyone in front of you all the time, which is why rotations and help is critical at this level

To see how effective a defensive player is isolate on him instead of watching the ball

It's what coaches do to scout a team

stu said:

HoopDreams said:

stu said:

In our two wins we shot 57% and 58% from the field but overall we're shooting 41%. Basketball is a game with high variability so I'm not sure if we're improving or it's just a statistical fluctuation.

lots of factors, but matchups are a big part of it.

our two wins were against one weak team and one solid team who had a weak front court.

I am surprised that Colorado has been as successful as they have been with such weak bigs. Lars dominated both their bigs and got them in foul trouble. Brown was in the zone and was scoring in multiple ways. With Cal scoring all those points in the paint, Utah gave more space on the perimeter, and so our shooters had open looks. A few went down and Cal gained confidence (it's amazing what confidence does to a hooper)
My first rule of defense is to get right in the opponents' faces from the opening tip. If you come out soft and they hit a few you're in for a long night.
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