So there's been a lot of discussion around here about half court offense, how much half court offense is needed vs. a running game. Much of the problem with half court offense is the penchant of the modern player to just want to stand around at the three-point line in the half court set. That or stand in the post, maybe set a screen once in a while (don't get me started about the incompetent execution of the pick and roll by the Nuggets and almost every other NBA team these days).
So, journey with me to those halcyon days of the 1980's and the teams of Doug Moe. Those teams were known as running teams, taking advantage of the altitude, running at every chance. Even Danny Schayes could score 4-6 points a game just by running down the court faster than Patrick Ewing or any of the other centers in the NBA. Yet no one ever complained about Moe's teams not having a half court offense. "No fair!" I hear you complaining "Doug Moe had great half court scorers in Alex English, Dan Issel and Kiki Vandeweghe," but what made those guys great half court scorers? Much of it had to do with the fact that once they got into their half court offense the running didn't stop. They were in constant motion wearing down the defense and getting easy shots. The Doug Moe "Motion Offense" even made Bill Hanzlik look like a superstar (at times) because Hanz moved without the ball and got a ridiculous number of layups on cuts to the basket where his teammates actually passed him the ball.
George Karl tried to get his Nuggets teams to play a motion offense, even bringing in Moe as a "consultant" but according to Moe nobody ever listened to him. In some ways who could blame players for not wanting to wear themselves out moving without the ball when they were never going to get the pass on the cut from guys like Carmelo Anthony? So Karl gave up on the motion offense. The "dribble drive"* offense took its place and was certainly more accepted by the players as it meant to them that you didn't have to trust your teammate to get the ball; if you had to move at least you got to do it with the ball.
Again thinking back many years, even to the ABA days, I remember that when players would line up for free throws there would be guys bent over grabbing their shorts trying to catch their breath and then there was the sweat; sweat just pouring off of players many times a steady stream flowing off the chin of the free throw shooter. I don't see anything like that these days and I attribute it to guys moving on offense as opposed to the way the players just stand around at the three-point line and call that half court offense. Don't try to tell me they're in better shape than back in the day.
So what sort of half court offense have we got now? Inside out? Somehow it doesn't seem to be working to me. Ty Lawson seems to be turning it into a guard penetration offense but we saw the shortcomings of that against the Thunder. I sure would like to see some players start moving, cutting without the ball and players that are willing to pass to the cutters.
*Dribble Drive: as opposed to the "travel drive"? A term coined by the Department of Redundancy Department? In case you can't tell I hate hearing the words "dribble drive" as being a stupid coinage.