Explain One Play Mailbag #11: A conversation about Eric Paschall

Plus you can use this as an Open Thread

A list of all Explain One Play articles and videos is at The new Explain One Play index

A Conversation about Eric Paschall

In honor of the possible return of Eric Paschall, here is a discussion in the comments of

which I am helpfully embedding here. (This will also give a taste of what the discussions can be like in the subs-only Explain One Play posts.)

Here is a live reaction video to the second quarter of the DET-GSW game on 2021.01.30. 

This one focuses on some of the hiccups the Bench Squad experiences as they try to feed Eric Paschall, the small ball center from 2525 (or is it 2015?); Brad Wanamaker, the elder statesman who looks not a day older than 45; and Jordan Poole, the plucky sophomore who forgot how to shoot, remembered, and then poured in points right before Kerr sent him to the G-League Bubble. 

Closed Captioning available.

mDuo13 wrote: Paschall facing up and isoing his guy features prominently here, which reminds me of something I've been pondering lately. His face-up game seems to work well enough for the eye test, but stats hate him, so maybe it's one of those things that's effective enough to *feel* like a good option, but kind of isn't. Maybe that should be more of a fallback/changeup than a first option, but it's unclear what else Paschall can do well on offense besides setting a screen; he's not a killer passer, his 3pt% is bad, and I haven't really seen him cut off-ball very effectively. I guess that might also be why he works better as a center since the responsibilities of the center in Kerrball—screening and standing near the post—kind of line up with his strengths? But typically the guy in the post is supposed to pass first, post-up second (I miss you, David West!) but with Paschall's strengths that's reversed?

The whole drive-and-kick, then repeat thing is notable because it seems like the old 2nd unit does not get much of an advantage on these drives. Maybe nobody is enough of a crafty ball handler and finisher at the rim to actually scare the defense into a mistake? (Derrick Rose, by comparison, can still manage that even at his age.) I think Mannion and Poole both have been showing more success getting past their primary defender, forcing the defense to actually rotate, which can cause mistakes. Brad really wasn't that guy and that's probably the problem.

Five Alarm Freddy: Well said mDuo, I worry too that as much as I am a fan of Paschall, his game is just not as effective as I think it is. He seemed to have one skill set that I felt was a guaranteed bucket-- put his head down and plow to the bucket. In reality that might not be as effective as I hoped it was. Basically, I agree with all that you said, you just said it better. 

Eric Apricot: I think EP's wheelhouse is in making tricky shots near the basket after contact and pulling up and hitting medium range jumpers at the elbows. I think he could still have a future... his defense feels like it's improving, and there's value in someone who can get a bucket in isolation. But as you say, I'd love it to be the bailout option after two motion O actions first.

Attila The Hun: I'll pile one because my take is similar. A lot of this was pretty ugly, even if Wanamaker managed to get down the middle once. Paschall seems to barely check around once he gets the ball, like Five Alarm Fredy says. Oh he passes sometimes, we saw that in a play or two here, but he is predictably likely to put his head down and drive to the hoop. It's too predictable, other teams surely note it in their scouting reports. Draymond (because who better?) ought to take EP out behind the woodshed for a serious talk about sharing the ball, and we need more creativity than just repeated drive-and-kick. I do think having Mannion, especially, develop would help the second unit a lot. Poole too but his role is different. 

Another thing... that time Wanamaker walked away from the play, that was very strange. I wonder why he did that. I can't imagine Kerr waved him over right at that point with a play going on. I hope it wasn't an attitude problem because he's not good enough to put up with that. 

Eric Apricot: I found that really bothersome. And once I looked for it, I could find a lot of confirmation of my bias that there is contention between Wanamaker and Paschall on the direction of plays. Little things, EP calling for ball and not getting it, EP breaking a play to attack, BW trying to force the play option to go to him. 

I've never wanted to do a video on that kind of thing though... I don't want to just pile on to a player that's in the fan doghouse. You can see I even sat on this video for six weeks instead of releasing it.