Indiana Basketball: 3 ways to jumpstart the offense

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BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 13: Trayce Jackson-Davis #4 of the Indiana Hoosiers looks to pass the ball against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Assembly Hall on December 13, 2019 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Trayce Jackson-Davis in the high post

Trayce Jackson-Davis is hands down the most talented player on Indiana’s roster. Despite not fitting the ideal play style and body type for the modern NBA, Jackson-Davis has all the tools to be a force in the college game for years to come.

Averaging 13.8 points per game, the majority of them come from rebound-putbacks, using his quickness and motor to snag the ball at the precise right moment, and the free-throw line, averaging 5.7 attempts per game.

Despite his stats, Trayce Jackson-Davis is being brutally misused in Archie Miller’s offensive system. Many of his buckets are extremely hard-earned, but they shouldn’t have to be.

In the Indiana offense, full of lazy dribble handoffs and slow movement along the perimeter, Jackson-Davis is often used as an off-ball screener who won’t touch the ball on far too many possessions. Because of this, he is oftentimes not ready when he receives the ball, and when he does, it is in a difficult spot – due to the guard’s inability to find him in the right position.

At this point in his career, manufacturing low post buckets is not his strength. Instead, Archie Miller should look to use what makes Jackson-Davis so special: his quickness.

In the high post, quickness is everything and should be where Trayce Jackson-Davis eats his opponent’s lunch. However, he is never given the chance to do so. Archie Miller needs to look at running more options to get Jackson-Davis the ball at 10-15 feet with the lane cleared out, where the freshman can use a spin move or a faceup and quick rip through to beat his man to the rim.

Not a super-skilled low post player, Jackson-Davis is one that plays like Dwight Howard did on the Orlando Magic. Go back and look at the clips of Howard. There were no hook shots, certainly no fadeaways, and maybe only an occasional drop-step here or there. He scored 20+ points a game off of pick and rolls as a screener, second-chance points, and when he did score in the low post, it was using his uncommon speed and quickness at his size to get around his man and then using his Zeus-like frame to finish through any contact with a layup or dunk.

However, the plays Archie Miller continues to run for Jackson-Davis are mostly low post plays, where his gifts are neutralized and he looks lost.

This clip shows how dangerous Jackson-Davis can be from outside. You can’t do that stuff three feet away from the goal with a defender leaning on your back.

A perfect NBA example of how to use Jackson-Davis is with Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo. Adebayo, also 6-foot-9, is very small for NBA center standards but makes up for it with his quickness and athleticism. Though he is a much more skilled passer, their size and athleticism are similar. Adebayo demonstrates perfect high post play that Jackson-Davis could easily pull off at the college level.

Getting Jackson-Davis the ball in the high post would be so easy to incorporate into the offense and could instantly give the Hoosiers a spark with easy points, and additional offensive sets to run around him.

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