The Basketball Podcast: EP61 Cody Toppert on Analytics in Player Development

RELEASE DATE : 02/10/2019

In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, newly named University of Memphis Tigers assistant coach Cody Toppert joins the podcast to discuss player development and the implementation of analytics into building an offense. 

Last year, Cody served as the Director of Player Development for the Phoenix Suns. In that role he created and managed the development plans for Phoenix Suns players. Cody also served as staff liaison to the analytics department, assisting with the creation and implementation of the Suns pre and post game analytics packets under Head Coach Igor Kokoskov.

Cody has G-League experience as a head coach of the Northern Arizona Suns, and as an assistant coach by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He was promoted to an assistant coaching position with the Phoenix Suns after one season with Northern Arizona.

Previously Cody spent time as the Director of Basketball Development and coach for ELEV|8 Sports Institute in Delray Beach, Fla., where during the offseason he also trained players preparing for the NBA Pre Draft and international play.

Learn more about analytics:

Masterclass with Mahmoud Abdelfattah on Analytics Driven Offense

Cody Toppert Quotes:

“As an offensive player we have to find that solution to avoid allowing them [the defense] to challenge with verticality but also maintain our balance and give us the best chance to finish.”

“With a lot of guys, the rim rate tends to be low. With a lot of guys, they tend to get paint shots – which typically end up being floaters – they’ll shoot those floaters to avoid getting all the way into the defense because they don’t have a solution to finish closer to the rim around length.”

“We want to assault the paint. We want rim, we’ll settle for paint. And from there we’ve got to have finishing solutions or passing solutions . . that is going to result in us getting a high value shot.”

“While we use a lot of numbers in basketball, basketball is an art not a science . . in any specific situation there’s going to be multiple solutions and there’s going to be multiple ways to find that solution.”

“You’ve got to own your game. You can’t master everything.”

“My philosophy is really two things: one is, it’s form, speed, contact and then a subset within that is: we script it, we read it, we play it. Form/speed/contact meaning we have a finishing package . . and we’ve got to build that . . to make that player feel comfortable using that as a solution.”

“Once we’ve gotten past the scripted segment, now it becomes: read it . . this is where we start putting . . defenders in front of guys.”

“It’s a two and three man game . . once we’ve taken all these solutions and broken them down . . it really becomes how the jigsaw puzzle comes together within our unit . . so what I love is spending a lot of time at the 3-on-3 level.”

“With our big man we’re working on dynamic rolls – when to roll, how to roll . . how do we get out of our screens . . “

“We work up until we’ve gone over at least three reads and now what we do is go to a simulation which is really like a 3-on-3 . . each possession of 3-on-3 is going to result in three shots.”

“You can’t have fear and you can’t have insecurity . . there can’t be fear of a missed shot in a workout or insecurity of how other players would view a missed shot in a workout . . that’s the biggest barrier to guys working on their weak hand.”

“The feedback process has to incorporate the idea that there’s really no wrong answer . . but what are my options.”

“When in doubt, take a bounce, especially at the second level . . great players operate with three speeds . . you usually explode to get by a guy . . in between the first and second level, you don’t just take up space recklessly . .”

“Within practice it becomes about understanding . . keeping track of, filming and recording practice sessions, and charting success rates . . If it’s a ‘makes’ drill how many attempts did it take, if it’s an ‘attempts’ drill how many makes did we get.”

“There’s not one, single team in the NBA that shoots and scores at an offensive efficiency rating that is higher the longer they have the ball.”

“You can’t just say you want to play fast, you’ve got to give these guys a way to play fast.”

“It’s difficult to play fast if you’re going to ask your big man to rebound the ball defensively and then get ahead of the ball offensively.”

“The more we develop our players to have all around games, the more we can trust that it’s not just the point guard [who can push the basketball] . . we need to fill spots on the floor as quickly as possible, we have to try to break the paint as early and quickly as possible . . “

“The big thing on any hand-off, dribble hand-off, ball screen or dribble pitch is our desire to you can get two to commit to the ball. And the only way two don’t have to commit to the ball is if we allow a guy to go under.”

Cody Toppert Selected Links from the Podcast:

Devin Booker

NBA G-League

Second Spectrum

L.A. Clippers

Tobias Harris

Danilo Galinari

Houston Rockets

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Clint Capela

Cody Toppert Breakdown:

1:00 – First to Consider to Build Player’s Development Plan
3:00 – Things to do to increase player’s ability to finish at the rim
5:00 – “They Don’t get There”
6:45 – Dance Game
8:40 – Own Your Game
10:00 – Improving One Foot Finish
12:00 – “Script It. Read it. Play it.”
14:30 – Ratio Philosophy
15:48 – Simulations
19:00 – Things to Foster Creativity
22:12 – Feedback
25:40 – Analytics on Off The Pass and Off Decisions
27:30 – Quantified Shooter Impact
28:30 – When in Doubt, Take A Bounce
30:30 – Concept of Game Speed
32:30 – Rhythm Related to Skill Execution
34:30 – Things Coach Do to Notice the Progress
36:00 – Developing Players
38:00 – Asking Players Questions for their Development
42:34 – Analytics in terms of Building an Offense
44:30 – Number of Passes Leading to Better Percentage of Shots
48:31 – Rebound the Ball Defensively and Get in the Ball Offensively
50:00 – Rim Run
52:30 – Point Guard Push
54:30 – Post at the Rim, Trail at the Slot
57:00 – Talking about Spacing
59:00 – Hand-offs vs ball Screens
1:02:00 – Explaining Rerouting
1:03:00 – One Step Advantage
1:04:30 – The Different Dribble Hand Off Ball Screen Dribble Pitch

Cody Toppert:



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