Travis's most recent article may pinpoint when Faux Matt Painter arrived and Old Matt Painter was sent packing. I just want to highlight the differences between the coach I believe to be the actual Matt Painter, and the evil doppelgänger I only know as Faux Painter, who currently resides on our bench.
Matt Painter made his coaching reputation on playing straight up man to man defense and a motion offense designed to not only to score, but the wear out opponents on the defensive end, making his pressure man to man even more effective. The goal on offense was to move the ball around, make the other team defend through much of the shot clock, and then find a good look towards the end. In the mean time, the other team was being run off screen after screen, and were having to cover numerous cutters. If the other team decided they wanted to up the tempo, they often times would find themselves having to play defense 45 out of every 60 seconds they were on the floor. Painter's teams would grind you into a pulp and by the end of the second half, most opponents were finding nothing but the front of the rim on their jelly legs, and Purdue would find more and more open opportunities at the basket. If you didn't have a bench, Purdue was going to beat you up in the first half, and then beat you in the second half. Purdue might only win 65-55, but more often than not they won.
Faux Matt Painter runs this years team in complete opposition to those earlier, winning teams. He has pretty much scrapped the "motion offense" in exchange for a 4 out 1 in post dominant offense. This makes some sense, because Purdue should have a size advantage on most opponents, but it simply isn't working. Painter's offense in the past forced the other team 1-5 to play defense. His current offense allows the other team to rest on defense. Old Matt Painter considered a good shot to be an open shot for any player that resulted from ball movement. On any give possession, all five players would handle the ball, screen, and pass up good shots for better shots. Faux Matt Painter considers a good shot to be a contested shot from our center or a quick hitter from 3 off a screen. On any give possession, only 2 or 3 players touch the ball, and generally speaking, only one of those players (the 5) is actually looking to score. Everyone else just stands around on the weak side and watches. While they watch, their defenders get a nice little breather.
Take the Vandy game for example. Old Matt Painter would have had Riley LaChance dazed and on the bench in the second half. He would have been hit by so many Hammons and Haas screens in the first half he might need assistance just making it to the locker room at halftime. Faux Matt Painter rarely includes his two biggest players in his "motion (or lack thereof) offense" In fact, he rarely includes very many of his allotted 5 players on offense. Guys like LaChance get to hang out on defense, maybe double down on the post occasionally, and then have plenty of energy to torch us on the offensive end. Seriously, on a personal note, if I see another skinny guard hit another long dagger 3 in the second half against Purdue I'm gonna cry. I'm past anger at this point, and all I have left is anguish. The following is why all these guards have plenty of legs in the last 2 minutes:
The majority of Purdue offensive possessions go down something like this.
PG dribbles up the floor
PG passes to a wing
Wing enters ball to post
Post player takes his man one on one
That's not the motion offense. That's not Matt Painter's offense. That is Faux Matt Painter's bad NBAesque Post Iso offense. These are the results.
Possession 1: FG
Possession 2: TO
Possession 3: Missed FG
Possession 4: Foul - 1 out of 2 FT
If you're keeping track, that's 3 pts on 4 possessions. These possessions usually end in the first half of the shot clock, and are generally limited to 2 or 3 passes max. The results are generally a contested shot by either Hammons or Haas. Yes, this strategy does draw a significant number of fouls, but really, that just lets the other team get more rest, while they accumulate fouls on their interchangeable post players. Hammons and Haas are not efficient enough from the line to really punish the other team.
If you want to look at our "shot selection" and "hustle" issues, I place it firmly on the offensive strategy. When guys are basically required to stand around on offense, it's hard to flip the switch. They take on a passive, spectator demeanor, and that carries over to other parts of their game. When players do manage get their hands on the ball in a scoring position, they won't pass up the opportunity to let it fly, because they might not have another opportunity to see the ball in the next 5 possessions. Forget passing up a good shot for a better shot, if you get a decent shot, you better pull the trigger, because once it enters the post, it's not coming back out.
Now, I'm not saying we don't need to punish people in the paint. Having guys like A.J. and Haas should be a huge advantage, but not if they turn into the entire offense. Purdue can get a contested look in the paint at any time in the shot clock. Why do we continue to settle for these shots in the first 10 seconds? Again, Purdue teams of old would pass up a decent shot, for a good shot, and a good shot for a great shot. I feel like more than half the time we are now settling for a decent shot by design. It's not because our players are selfish, it's because the offensive strategy dictates that our centers take contested shots. Why are Hammons and Haas "the offense" instead of just part of the offense? Why don't we see them used to set screens to free up other players? Why do they continue to get a free pass to turn the ball over while perimeter players are benched for the same transgressions? Why does Faux Matt Painter hate me? These are all questions that need to be answered.
I'm going to go ahead and say it. FIRE FAUX MATT PAINTER. If that means getting rid of the Old Matt Painter as well, then I guess that's going to have to happen. I, for one, would much prefer to show Faux Matt Painter the door, and welcome back Old Matt Painter with open arms, but I suppose that leads to this question. What happened to Old Matt Painter? Does his still exist, or was he killed by this impostor? Old Matt, if you're still in there and you can read this, please come back, I miss you.