« The Return (?) of Eric Gordon: A Rivers-Centric Lineup Part 2
Beneath the Screen: So Nice To See You Again, Mr. Gordon
With Eric Gordon returning to the team soon, and the Hornets offense looking terrible, I thought now would be a good time to look at how Gordon will help the Hornets offense. When going through film, I was looking at three main areas: Gordon in isolation, as the pick and roll ballhandler, and as a spot up shooter.
Of those three areas, I didn’t spend much time looking at spot up situations. We all know Gordon can stroke it (I’m laughing as I type that because, you know, I’m a mature adult) so spot up situations have more to do with his off-ball movement (which is great) and teammate’s ability to get him the ball in his money spots.
As the pick and roll ballhandler and in isolation are far more important, because, to put it simply, the Hornets are atrocious in both areas. On the season, the Hornets are getting 0.66 points per play from their pick and roll ballhandlers. That ranks 28th in the league; Not good. To get the flip side of the that, the roll man is putting up 1.06 ppp which ranks 8th best in the league. Much better. The Hornets rank last in isolation putting up a paltry 0.64 ppp.
But the good news is Gordon can help.
When he returns, Monty will most likely, mainly, use Gordon off the ball and a 2 guard. That’s fine and his natural style of play. But as a player with a strong handle and the ability to get into the lane and score, as well a draw contact, Monty would be wise to use him as the ballhandler in the pick and roll. In his limited minutes last season, Monty used Gordon as the pick and roll ballhandler a third of the time and he scored 1.21 ppp. And it’s not hard to see why. To the Jakestrator!
Okay, I jumped the gun on the Jakestrator, but take a look at the play above. The Hornets spread the floor, set a screen and let Gordon use his quickness to split the defenders. Seriously, how nice is that play? The Hornets have no one who can do that currently. As the pick and roll ball handler, don’t expect Gordon to pass too much, which is why you won’t see Monty giving him heavy minutes at point guard. But if Gordon returns to form, I’ll be happy with him driving to the rim to score and draw contact.
In isolation is where Gordon really shines. When the Hornets give him space, Gordon get to show off his handle.
In this example the Hornets put everyone on the baseline and give Gordon the ball up top. Look at all the space Gordon has. He can pretty much move anywhere he wants. In this play he starts to drive and forces his defender off balance.
All he needs to do then is step back and pull up for an open jumper.
When Gordon penetrates the defense it will also create opportunities for his teammates. In this example Gordon is going to put the ball on the floor and drive.
As he does this, the defense collapses which leaves Jason Smith wide open.
Which leads to an easy dish and dunk.
Getting Gordon back will not only improve the Hornets’ offense through his scoring ability but it will also take some of the pressure off his teammates. And I’m very excited about the Hornets getting an infusion of talent.
Hopefully, this gets you excited too. If not, try watching this…
Beneath the Screen is a reoccurring series throughout the season run on Fridays. See past editions here.
EJ looks very good in these videos despite being out of shape and overweight due to being out for so long. He'll be 24 years old on Christmas. He's still very young. He's coming off of his first major injury and surgery. I think this will be the wakeup call he needs to go above and beyond in regards to taking care of his body to the MAX.
My head tells me that we need to move him after he shows off a bit, because he will get injured again. But I sees those plays and imagine what a force this team could be with a guy like him to rip defenses apart. Here's to hoping Dell picks the right choice.
Been watching that same video for a week now, since he announced he'd be back. It's pretty ridiculous that only a few games played could lead to so many highlight plays. I'm hoping for the best with his return.