Game On: New Orleans Pelicans @ Phoenix Suns
What a game. It would be impossible to address anything Pelicans-related right now without mentioning Anthony Davis’s absolute dominance against the Lakers the other night. Quite frankly, the results of Phoenix, LA, Utah, etc. matter little in the long-run performance of this franchise. This is Anthony Davis’s team and Anthony Davis’s time, and we are privileged to witness the opening act in the career of the NBA’s next mega-superstar. At one point in the game, Joel Meyers referred to AD as “Franchise.” I love it.
While many of you will be watching the Saints-Cowboys game and hating all that is Dallas, I will be League-Passing it and watching the Pelicans seek vengeance upon a Phoenix team that they had little excuse to lose to last Tuesday.
Eric Gordon returns to Phoenix a little over a year removed from Phoenixgate. It is a storyline that is slowly fading into background noise, and after exclusively covering Gordon as my first site assignment (and thus becoming very frustrated), I am putting it behind me. Gordon has been relentless attacking the basket lately, and in two underrated moves of deference, found Davis on two fast-break opportunities vs. the Lakers , thereby rewarding him for running the floor. What Gordon has brought to our offense has been irreplaceable. He is very good at attacking and beating hedges and getting to the rim.
The Pelicans lack any frontcourt post option outside of Davis (who is still learning), and against the Lakers, the Pelicans ran a play to establish low-post position for Davis. Once Davis had the ball in the post, they ran Jrue off a Smith screen and got a wide open jumper. As Davis becomes more comfortable in the post, expect more of this.
Onto Phoenix. This team is not, how do you say, very good. Dragic is hurt, Gortat has been shipped to Washington, and the tank is there, it’s just being re-fueled right now. I don’t buy this 4-2 start, and I don’t believe many others do either.
Eric Bledsoe is this team’s engine. Shut him down, and if you still lose, throw up your hands and question existence. Bledsoe is a terror on defense and is very good at getting to the rim on offense.
The best NBA defenses are designed to take away high-efficiency shots. You can’t take away everything, so you take away the good things and live with the results. With Bledsoe, that means letting him beat you from deep, because he is a poor 3 point shooter. If you can limit his penetration, you severely hamstring Phoenix’s ability to generate good shots from drive/kicks. Limiting Bledsoe starts w/ pick and roll defense. The Suns have some shooters, and if Jrue and whatever big steps out to defend the P/R can contain Bledsoe without much help, the Pelicans should be able to force bad offense and get out in transition after bad shots or turnovers.
I will be watching the game on my computer, so it might be hard to binge-Tweet, but I will try to keep all you Saints fans up to speed on the game.
Just an observation; maybe Monty is taking this 6th man, 2nd unit thing too much to a tee. A 6th man doesnt mean you only get to play with the second unit. Last time I checked successful a 6th man off the bench spends time playing with STARTERS, and is the first one off the bench to dispel a starter in foul trouble or play to an advantage. JR Smith, James Harden(OKC), and Ginobili, all spend considerable time playing with other starters.
I cant remember ever seeing Ginobili for example, coming in and playing with all backups and Pop saying Ginobili, second unit specialist, SAVE US while the starters all get rest at the same time. Think about it, have you ever seen Ginobili, James Harden, and JR Smith play with all second unit guys? JR Smith is usually in the game as a one two punch with Melo. Harden on OKC was used to dispel Durant or Westbrook, but he was never put out there with at least Ibaka or Selfolosha.
This is what I continue to see under Monty, as Tyreke gets in and has to create offense with Roberts, Morrow, Steimer, and Thomas. That lineup is usually giving up leads; I hate this lineup. Not only that, but he's also being played out of position at the 3 in this lineup as well.
All I'm saying is the second unit needs to be more balanced, and I agree Monty needs to cut his rotation. Or maybe a trade?
I guess this will change a bit when Ryan Anderson comes back and replaces Thomas, but still, to have a successful 6th man, they have to get starters minutes and play with the other starters.
@topgunner775 Honestly, Tyreke has often been so poor that it's almost hard to justify him getting more than 20+ minutes on most nights. The difference between him and Ginobili is that he is unable to space the floor. Tyreke is just wasting space out there if he's not handling the ball