The first few minutes of the game told the story of where this Georgia team was and they were exactly who we thought they were.
Hero Ball gets coaches fired in the SEC. Mark Fox, Andy Kennedy, Avery Johnson, and Johnny Jones did it when they had an extremely talented player with an NBA future. Tom Crean did it in the first four minutes with Anthony Edwards and it sent the wrong message to this fragile, uncomposed team. Arizona State is a good team, but Georgia is not able to handle any sort of adversity on a floor that is not Stegeman Coliseum. The cold shooting came on shot attempts that were both ill-conceived and well setup. Offensive struggles carried over to a lack of defensive fight and that was what really helped Arizona State bury the Dawgs like the blackjack dealers would to players at the Gila River Hotel & Casino.
Georgia has an identity, but is not composed enough to play to it consistently.
Anthony Edwards is not a team identity and he did not shoot the ball well tonight. Edwards did not have a good game on the offensive end, especially when he was put into the Point Guard role. With Edwards as the floor general, everything seemed forced and none of his teammates were on the same page as him. In fact, Edwards was playing like he was riffing as he was going along and it just took away from the team concept of the game.
Tom Crean wants his team to do the following on offense:
- Play read and react basketball.
- Shoot three point shots well.
- Attack the rim.
- Move without the ball.
- Play unselfishly.
Crean also wants the team to do the following on defense:
- Get deflections
- Play pressure defense
This is all well and good, except that this team is physically and mentally not strong enough. What happens is that you see a team playing reckless, haphazard basketball without any sort of a purpose on the floor. In the first half, Georgia committed five offensive fouls and had 13 turnovers. There was a lot of uncoordinated slipping, sliding, flailing, and balls being unsecured throughout the game.
Natural defenses and negative reactions to a game that this team let slip away set in after the first media timeout of the second half. No veteran leaders stepped up, nobody talked on defense, no communication during stoppages, and there was no way to stimulate any energy.
- Tyree Crump pressed and started shooting without any regard as a natural reaction.
- Sahvir Wheeler attacked the basket off the dribble without anyone knowing what to do about it.
- Anthony Edwards tried to pretend that he was playing for an NBA team with isos.
- Rayshaun Hammonds pouted and sulked.
- Mike Peake fell on the floor a lot.
- Christian Brown was trying to impress Kirby Smart.
Decision making was terrible. It is not just bad three point shots that result in run-outs. It was what happened when dribbling took place and the decisions made within 8 feet of the basket. Cuts were not respected because Georgia could not establish any three point shooting whatsoever, this is going to be a theme.
The decision to pass or shoot, dunk or attempt a reverse layup, layup angles, consciousness of contact, and who is ready for a pass in general are critical elements of the offense. When a team cannot be respected from three point range like Georgia, the opponents will just pack it in. Might as well play Triangle and Two with players locked in around the restricted arc against this team.
There are no consequences to fouling against Georgia’s dribble drivers or offensive rebounders trying to get a putback. Nobody hits Free Throws.
It is not like Georgia cannot get to the Free Throw Line, this team does not punish opponents for fouling. 11/20 from the Free Throw Line with missed one-and-ones thrown in the mix is terrible.
Inefficiency is a Real Issue
Georgia does a very good job of forcing turnovers, especially live ball turnovers. However, 17 turnovers forced and 15 points off them is alarming. Live ball turnovers should produce the highest percentage scoring opportunities and Georgia is not producing off them.
Georgia won the X-Factor points by 5 tonight and lost by 20. Sulking on defense because shots do not fall from three point range played a huge role in this game. Georgia went 2/24 from three point range and shot 50% from 2 point range.
The offensive analytics just point to an ugly performance.
The First Half Shot Chart, Georgia is on the right and Arizona State is on the left.
Clear theme is that Arizona State was diversified in where they shot their three point shots, Georgia focused around the wing on one side. Arizona State only made their three point shots in one wing. Georgia almost did not make anything that was not a layup in the first half and was only down 8. It was still a very winnable game if Georgia could just shoot competently and not go into a downward spiral.
The Second Half Shot Chart of Woe
Georgia’s layups/dunks are on the right hand side and the shots from the field are on the left side.
Georgia struggled with keeping Arizona State from getting to the rim, which was a function of Georgia allowing secondary break opportunities due to missed shots and not putting in the necessary defensive effort because of missed shots.
Georgia was 13/23 in this game shooting layups, which is terrible. It is not like Romello White or anyone from Arizona State was really that menacing in terms of shot blocking.
What Georgia has shown they can and cannot do thus far
- Force turnovers
- Dictate tempo
- Draw fouls
- Set up quality shots that come from the inside-out, when they want to do so.
- Get second chance opportunities
- Shoot Free Throws
- Consistently rebound on the defensive end.
- Defend the low post
- Shoot three point shots
- Avoid committing offensive fouls
- Play composed for a full 40 minutes
Georgia does not need to slow down, but they need to learn how to play as a team. This is a massive work-in-progress, but there are a few things Tom Crean can do to at least address where this team goes wrong and play to the team’s strengths.
- Full Court Pressure all game long. This team is so disruptive and engaged with full court pressure, it incentivizes the team to get opportunities to score from defense. This is a team that also is very long and athletic and that plays into this team’s strengths rather than giving the opponent’s offense the ability to dictate the game narrative.
- More Practice with Secondary Break. Decision making in secondary break is critical for this team. Everyone is coming downhill toward the basket and opponents are trying to draw charges. Shots are also being poorly set up from the Secondary Break. Coming into this game, 39% of UGA’s shots were transition. There is a difference between reckless and fast.
- Less Isos and more team offense.
- More aggressive forms of zone defense. 1-2-2 Zone is more aggressive than 2-3 Zone and it encourages the team to force turnovers. Forcing turnovers is what energizes the team along with making three point shots.
- Practicing Free Throws. This team may not be great at three point shooting and Jaykwon Walton may not be ready for a larger chunk of minutes, but this team needs to improve at the Free Throw Line. Toumani Camara and Christian Brown must improve their Free Throw shooting, they will be at the line a lot because they play in such a way that they draw fouls.