There’s a phenomenon in basketball — at both the college and NBA levels — where teams and players can gain a reputation that sticks, regardless of contrary evidence. For example, Grantland’s Bill Simmons and Zach Lowe discussed this notion in regard to the Los Angeles Clippers’ Danny Granger. ”If you’re a veteran and you’re respected and you’ve done stuff in the NBA and current NBA players have watched highlights of you doing stuff — there’s no way to statistically, I don’t think — but I think the League is two years slow in realizing, Oh, I don’t have to guard that guy he can’t shoot anymore. I don’t have to pay a lot of attention to him. I think there is that veteran aura that sticks to you for awhile… People still look at Danny Granger as a star,” Lowe said around the 48-minute mark of the podcast. The threat of Granger from the outside far outweighs his actual value. Granger hasn’t shot 40 percent from three since the ’08-’09 season.
Fans, coaches, executives, players and the media all fall victim to this notion. Once a player or team is viewed in a certain light, it’s hard to escape that stereotype. After 13 season with Bill Carmody at the helm, Northwestern had developed the reputation of a team running a Princeton offense. The offense was beautiful to see in action when executed to perfection. Defenses had to defend against back cuts, as well has off-ball screens leading to copious amounts of open looks. During the ’11-’12 season, 52.2 percent of Northwestern’s catch-and-shoot possessions were unguarded. The offense was built for shooters to thrive, for defenses to recognize they were getting punished from deep only to over pursue and relinquish a layup on the back end. The Princeton is a cerebral offense, one that relies on a players’ ability to read defenses and make the correct cut. Once the correct cut was made, the onus was put on the ball handler to make a punctual pass.