D’Antoni on Space, Confidence & Tempo

Coming off Houston’s electric 127-point outburst in Game 2 last night, I thought it’d be appropriate to share this Sports Illustrated article on the Rockets’ offense. It’s funny just how much the article centers around confidence as a critical component of Houston’s offensive system and how the value of confidence was instilled in D’Antoni as a player by his coach with Olympia Milano, Dan Peterson. There’s some good tactical stuff in here from D’Antoni on spacing and occupying help defenders.

Houston regularly positions three shooters in fixed locations behind the arc and essentially tells them to stay out of the way. They are vital bystanders. If they weren’t so accurate, or so committed, defenders could leave them for Harden and shrink the precious space. “There are times I feel like I’m not having a huge impact on a game,” Anderson says. “But we were all brought here for a reason.” But the moment Anderson starts to wonder, in D’Antoni’s words, “Why the f— am I just standing here?” his man inevitably cheats a step and Harden hits him with a crosscourt heater. “I know it’s tough not to touch the ball,” D’Antoni tells his spacers at timeouts. “But keep running to the corner.”


For more on the Rockets offense:
-D’Antoni’s 21/Pistol wrinkles (LINK)
-Mike D’Antoni clinic notes (LINK)
-Gravity & D’Antoni’s O (LINK)
-Clint Capela: The best/worst screener in the NFL (LINK)

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