What is the Rick Adleman offense?

[Note by Xiane, 10/18/10 10:16 PM CDT ] Great post .Bonzo - worthy of general attention.

I'm sure many of us have a good idea of what this offense is made up of, but I'd like to go a little more in depth with it. We've heard the terms "Princeton Offense" to define it, but in my opinion that does not accurately define the offense that your 2010 Houston Rockets will be running. This entire offseason we've heard everyone talk about the great Rick Adleman offense. Right now I'd like to go through the offense and show exactly what each position does in the Rick Adleman offense. Almost everything that I've written here is from Sacramento games I've gone over (mainly the 01-02 and 03-04 seasons) and the past 3 years of watching the Rockets. I do focus mainly on the starters, because I could not find a lot of film on the Sacramento bench.

Guard Position

The reason I am listing it as the "guard position" and not Point Guard and Shooting Guard is that on offense Rick uses the two guards very similarly. Thus making a Shooting Guard section very repetitive and redundant.

In Sacramento, Adleman had a point guard in Mike Bibby who was a great guard for the offense he ran. As you watch Bibby, he doesn't seem like he plays the same role Aaron Brooks does for us, but if you look closer you will see that the results are almost the exact same. For example, lets take Bibby's third year in the Adleman offense and compare it with Aaron's third year in the offense. Bibby averaged 18.4 PPG, 5.3 APG, and 2.1 TOPG. Brooks averaged 19.6 PPG, 5.3 APG, and 2.8 TOPG. Not a big difference as you can see. On the 2003-2004 Kings team (Bibby's 3rd year) Bibby was considered the third option. He played behind a prime Peja Stojakovic, and Chris Webber (who only played in 23 games that year) . Aaron did much of the same last year with Kevin Martin and Luis Scola

The Point Guard in the Rick Adleman offense is very interchangeable with the Shooting Guard. Kevin Martin played under Rick before and has flourished in his system. Rick likes to make sure that one of his wing players (Peja back in the old Sacramento days) gets a lot of scoring done. Martin will be the benefeciary of many backdoor cuts, slip screens, and open 3-pointers because of the way the offense is run. Martin, being a strong finisher, will be the main scorer off the backdoor cut. The cut starts with a big man receiving the ball in the high post area. Martin will either fake that he is going outside to catch the ball at the top of the key, or he will receive a screen from a Forward that will lead the defender to think that he is going outside. Either way he will take one step to the outside, then shift his entire body in the other direction (like a crossover without the ball) and hope to receive a pinpoint pass from one of our big men.

Both guards do a reasonable amount of ball-handling and play-calling (with the Point Guard obviously doing the Lion's share). Rick Adleman likes to let his players read and react to the defense that is set in front of them. He lets players call the plays, and only interferes when necessary. When posting up, he likes to run his guards to the shoulder of the 3-PT line and deliver the entry pass from there. Another important factor in the Adleman offense is the spacing. The spacing has never been an issue and is always very well planned with RIck. He makes sure that if the person with the ball is moving, then everyone else on the floor should be moving too, making easy passing lanes to the big men.

Forward/Center Position

Shane Battier will not do much in the offense. He, much like Doug Christie in Sacramento, is the teams main defender. He can knock down the open 3, but has problems creating for himself. Shane does one other thing well that I will mention later. We may see him down on the block for a rare post-up if he has a mismatch or if the play goes that way, but all in all he will most likely be a hockey assist (the pass that sets up the assist), and a spot-up shooter kind of guy.

When you think about the big men in the Rick Adleman offense, you think about high post-passing and easy post-up opportunities. That is exactly what the offense is. It revolves around smart players who make smart basketball decisions on-court. That is the reason that Chuck Hayes, no matter what his competition, will always be part of the rotation. He is one of the smartest players on the Rockets and his passing is top-10 in the league for big men. Luis Scola is not known for his passing, but he is a great rebounder and can create his own shot. In the post, he will score at will and take a lot of pressure off of Yao Ming.One thing that Luis needs to work on is facing double teams. He did not face a lot of double teams last year, but this year teams might be looking to stop him as soon as he starts getting hot, especially with Yao only playing 24 minutes a game. This is why as each day passes, I realize how great the signing of Brad Miller is; he is literally the perfect center in the Adleman offense and can help Yao and the rest of the big guys make sure they can use the offense to the best of their abilities.

With Yao and Luis on the court at the same time I expect to see a lot of short dump-off deep in the paint from Yao to Scola, with Scola getting a very easy 2-foot layup off the glass. Yao has shown us in the past that he is very intelligent with the ball in his hands and usually makes good plays for the team. He is an elite passer and posses great touch around the basket. His catching ability is not that great though, so our passers need to be accurate this year. Usually, he likes to catch it around his right shoulder, so he can make a quick move, or he can read the defense and do what's best for the team. Shane Battier is the best on our team at making the "Yao Pass" which he will be doing a lot from the corner this season.

So this offense has one main thing that I think sets it at a higher level than the average NBA offense, and that is the freedom to read and react. Rick trusts his players to make good decisions, and gives them the choice to make any choice they want. Backdoor cuts don't tell the whole story. If someone covers the backdoor cut, the next guy will be open, and then he makes a play, and someone else is open, and then suddenly you've got two points on the board.


So, yes, I just explained a bunch of things that you probably already knew. This is my first try at any kind of sports article, and I think I did alright. What do you guys think?

No cursing in title. No pirated material, such as links to online game streams. Do not cut/paste entire sections of content from other websites. Thanks.

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