Indiana Basketball: 3 improvements for Archie Miller next season

Archie Miller, Indiana Basketball (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Archie Miller, Indiana Basketball (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
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Jerome Hunter, Indiana Basketball (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Jerome Hunter, Indiana Basketball (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

1. Embrace Small-Ball

Unlike the college football to NFL relationship in which the collegiate game is often a predictor of how NFL offenses will run in future years, as players and coaches jump from the collegiate to pro-level, the NBA is usually years ahead of college basketball in its offensive strategy.

In the last ten years or so there has been a dramatic shift in the kinds of lineups and players that are taking the court in the NBA. Rarely do you see a team playing more than one true “big man” at a time. Usually, four or even all five players on the court can handle the ball and pass well, and even shoot well most of the time. This opens up the offense beautifully as just about anyone can lead a fast-break, and the ball doesn’t get stuck when it gets to anyone.

The NCAA has had many teams adopt this strategy, and Villanova is a great example. Rarely do you see Nova put two old-school big guys on the court at a time. Jay Wright’s teams are full of guys who are quick, athletic, long and skilled. Not every team boasts a plethora of these kinds of players, but that’s a result of having a strategy and recruiting that’s geared to it.

Related Story. Time To Unleash Jerome Hunter, Small Lineup. light

Indiana may not have the quite the roster Villanova does, but it has enough guys that can handle, pass and shoot well enough to embrace small-ball. Miller’s insistence on playing two big guys at a time has been more detrimental than beneficial to Indiana in his tenure.

When two of Joey Brunk, Trayce Jackson-Davis or De’Ron Davis share the court Indiana has a complete lack of spacing and shot creation. The paint is practically inaccessible for perimeter players, and the lack of perimeter shooting from playing two bigs without jumpers absolutely hamstrings Indiana in critical stretches of games.

And, for those who question how Indiana will defend inside by playing just one big man, Joey Brunk and De’Ron Davis combine to average 0.6 blocks per game.

Race Thompson and Jerome Hunter can provide close to the same level as defensive output while opening up Indiana’s offense immensely. Look for Miller to rely much more heavily on these two next year, as both have already stepped up this season.