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Saturday, January 9, 2010
Chalk talk: Dave Miller on Brandon Jennings and defense

By Andy Kamenetzky

Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images
The Lakers want to keep this man from wreaking havoc.

With the Milwaukee Bucks and Brandon Jennings in town for a Sunday match against the Lakers, fans and media will no doubt dwell on what's considered the Lakers' biggest weakness: stopping quick point guards. Whenever the likes of Chris Paul, Aaron Brooks or Rajon Rondo are on the bill, Derek Fisher, Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown instantly find themselves under the microscope. That Jennings was pretty quiet during December's 107-106 OT win in Milwaukee (4-11 shooting for eleven points, a solid but reasonable seven assists) changes nothing. The Laker "ones" will undoubtedly be scrutinized heading into this contest.

With Brandon Jennings coming to town Sunday night, we get into the nitty gritty of L.A.'s perimeter defense. It's a chalk talk with coach Dave Miller, who spent two years on Byron Scott's staff in New Orleans.
Podcast Listen
Brian and I have often labeled this issue somewhat overstated, in that EVERY team struggles to check speed freaks. It's not like Monta Ellis gets shut down by 28 other squads, then bumps his stats purely through four meetings with the Lakers. Containing fast guards is a struggle across the league. By extension, shutting these guys down to the degree possible also feels like a team issue, as opposed to one man's responsibility. But perhaps we're being too easy on the purple and gold lead guards. And even if we're not, there's still the matter of an ideal strategy to counter greased lightning.

For more insight, the Kamenetzky Brothers Lakers PodKast enlisted Dave Miller, who's been an assistant coach at the college (West Point, Texas, USC, Arizona State) and NBA levels (two years with Byron Scott and the Hornets). He also has a unique perspective on Jennings, having coached him at the AAU level and worked him out. Lotta X's, O's, and nitty gritty about defensive principles, which should appeal mightily to hoop heads looking to get deep inside the game. Before listening to the entire show, click below for a sampling of what Miller had to say:
On trying to defend Jennings

On the next step to limiting Jennings

The relationship between the big men and guards when preventing screen/roll success

A general guide to defending anybody