UCF was up 4 with less than 2:00 to play against Duke when they did this:

I hate the lob. I’ve always hated the lob. There are a lot of reasons for it. I don’t think it is a play we practice enough to really try and execute it in games. It is a hard play to execute. You need a pretty precise pass and an athletic receiver with the body control to finish in the air. How often do you practice full speed 2 on 1 lob plays during your regular workouts? It’s not an easy play to complete and it’s not one we are working on very often.

Another reason why I hate it is because the receiver almost always thinks he has to dunk the ball. That guy will take a bad pass and throw it at the rim with no chance of converting rather than just catching the ball, coming down with it, and going back up to finish. In the air that guy isn’t thinking about getting 2 points. He’s thinking about a highlight.

But probably the biggest reason I hate it is because very often an attempted lob turns a high-percentage situation into a low-percentage play.

Look at that 2 on 1 UCF had again. How many times do you think they should be able to convert that play into 2 points? Dawkins was well past the last defender and all by himself as long as his teammate could get the ball to him. I’d say you should probably convert two points on that possession 95% of the time with a simple bounce pass. So there is no reason to add risk to such a high-percentage play. Very often a lob comes in a situation where you should convert and you just add a degree of difficulty to try and make a highlight.

I always chuckle when I’m recruiting in the summer, watching an AAU tournament or a camp game, and the team comes out of halftime and tries to run a lob set. The ball gets thrown out of bounds or fumbled and the coach goes nuts, as if he expected his team that has probably practiced together once a week if they are lucky to be able to execute something that is very difficult in a game situation.

There are times when the lob is the right play, where it makes sense to throw the ball up towards the rim because you have an athletic big and that’s the easiest pass for him to catch. I realize that in the NBA many guards have become great at throwing a lob to a big off of a screen and roll, and with elite athletes that may be the right play to avoid the traffic of help side defense. But if you have the personnel to make that play you had better practice it a lot, because it’s still a very difficult play.

So it’s not easy to execute, we don’t practice it a lot, and we often use it when it turns a high-percentage situation into a low-percentage situation. Do you think UCF would like a second chance to just make a bounce pass and lay the ball in? I hate the lob.

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