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One Pass Away: The #SoWizards Defense with Bballbreakdown’s Coach Nick

A new episode of the #SoWizards podcast.

Washington Wizards v Dallas Mavericks
Washington Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr.
Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

My favorite moment in the latest episode of the #SoWizards podcast came when I asked bballbreakdown’s Coach Nick about the Wizards soft switching. As we talked, Nick pulled up video I’d described and blurted out, “Oh that’s a problem.”

The basic question that took up the bulk of our time was why the Wizards defense has been so bad this season. The answer leapt off his screen when he reviewed the video: they’re helping from one pass away. Other stuff too, but that’s the team’s scheme this season, and it’s the root cause of giving up open threes, and the mad scramble that gives opposing teams easy scores and domination on the offensive glass.

The problem for the most part isn’t effort — it’s a questionable defensive scheme that’s leading to myriad breakdowns.

As Nick said, “The proof is in the footage.”

This episode is an in-depth discussion of head coach Wes Unseld Jr.’s defensive scheme, the theory behind it, and what’s going wrong. We touch on what the team can do to be better this season...even as they strategically lose to increase chances for a high draft pick.

“The formula for good defense is no middle, and don’t help from one pass away,” Nick said during the episode.

We discussed their offense a bit, as well as what’s going wrong with Jordan Poole, and the development of Bilal Coulibaly.

The part I enjoyed most: when we got into Nick’s “Chase Defense.” This is a new defensive system he’s invented to address modern offenses built on three-point shooting and various pick-and-roll actions. Coaches are experimenting with it at lower levels, and the results are promising.

We talk about the concepts and theories underpinning Nick’s defense, as well as what it will take for an NBA team to give it a shot.

If you’re looking for serious basketball conversation that gets into scheme, execution, and analysis, this one’s for you. And let’s face it, if you’re here, you’re pretty diehard, so it’s definitely for you.

Listen and subscribe by clicking here or using the embed below: