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Dreadful Basketball . . oh and Game On @ Utah

Published: November 13, 2013

Tonight the Pelicans go into Utah – and I have no idea if they are going to win or lose.  Utah hasn’t won a game yet – indeed are losing by 14 points a game – and I don’t have any confidence that the Pelicans are going to win.

It’s not the back to back.  It’s not the stylish hair of Gordon Hayward or impending return of the fabulous Marvin Williams to full strength.

It’s the appalling lack of discipline this Pelicans squad plays with.

Last year the team had less physically gifted players – but the offense actually ran.  Players cut where they were supposed to, screened where they were supposed to, swung the ball when they were supposed to.  The team was so slow that it only periodically generated good shots, but they had a plan.  I could watch that team and appreciate the offense even while groaning about how slowly the team executed. (they really couldn’t turn a corner on the P&R)

It’s different this year.  I’m close to hating watching this squad – and it has the most exciting player New Orleans has seen since CP3.

All three guards free-lance whenever they want, breaking plays and attacking.  This sort of chaos can be good – and Gordon frequently turns it into something productive – but it destroys the offense when it happens as often as it does in a Pelicans game.  On the last podcast I bemoaned the lack of plays that result in the ball swinging around the perimeter for open looks.  Well, last night against the Lakers I watched to see why – and it boiled down to players simply not moving the ball.  Jason Smith took 4 of his patented jumpers when he had an open three point shooter on the wing.  Eric Gordon caught and drove 3 times when a swing would have found Jrue Holiday on the opposite wing with space.  Jrue Holiday turned down four chances to swing the ball to an open teammate. (though I can’t blame him because three times he was deciding whether to drive or pass to Aminu in the corner)

You watch the Spurs, they move the ball.  You watch Miami and they move the ball.  For the Pelicans – Jason Smith shoots, Gordon drives – but  Jrue, Tyreke, Davis, and Aminu dribble once – then shoot or attack.  No pass.  And for those last four, the dribble wastes advantage by not attacking against a scrambling defense – and the shot is typically mid-range because of the dribble.  Sometimes the player can still manufacture something – but it’s not good basketball.

Lastly – our guards need to stop getting in trouble on drives, leaping in the air and trying to pass.  Players get cut off trying to get to the rim.  It happens. The guard driving needs to understand they have to stop, plant their feet, turn away from the defender and wait for their teammates to slide and help them out.  The rest of the Pelicans need to understand that if one of their guards go free lance, they need to slide along the three point line to give them outlets – and prepare to cut.  If free-lancing is going to be this big a part of the offense – it has to be planned for and supported.  Right now, it is not.

So keys to the game:

  • Swing the ball
  • Talk on the pick and roll.  the Pelicans keep getting torched as the let either the guard or the big man get freely to the rim on pick and rolls.  Jordan Hill looked like an All-star last night.  The pick and roll is hard to defend, which is why it is used – but the Pelicans can’t have both defenders commit to the same player over and over and over again.  Talk!
  • Play with high energy.  This team can compensate(and for the most part, has been) for its porous defense by playing with energy and continuing to clean the defensive glass and get turnovers.  They have been good at that – that needs to continue.

Enjoy the game.


  1. Jason Quigley

    November 13, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Well…so far we’ve won every game on the second night of back-to-backs, so I’m hoping that trend continues. But it won’t if the team played like last night. I’m not an expert, which is why I’m just commenting here instead of working in a studio or even writing on this site, so at this point…I don’t even know a solution for it all. The one thing I can agree with is energy. We have the youngest roster, and when we’ve played with high energy, regardless of how well we shot offensively, we were able to at least create offensively and play well defensively. It’ll be hard to do in a place like Utah, sure, but the only consistent factor we’ve had over other teams is energy and we need to have that for a win tonight, I should think.

  2. mojart

    November 13, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    if monty do not make any adjustments for this game and we lose (crossing my finger we win) maybe i will be in the fire monty company as well….losing my patience already with him rapidly….:)

  3. Aussie Pels Fan

    November 13, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    We make it a lot easier on the opposing teams defence by attempting very little 3’s. in turn they give us those long 2’s we love and crowd the paint leaving no room for our guards to attack which results in our entire team looking like austin rivers did last year. We made the lakers and previous teams we’ve played seem like elite defensive teams because of this, when in reality most are not even average. SHOOT MORE THREE’S!
    I think having ryan anderson back will do wonders for the offence and I still have faith this team can put it together and make a decent playoff run.

  4. ByronMarcusWashington

    November 13, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Right now I feel like saying a lot of explicit words…..

  5. justin86215

    November 13, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with this article, if they keep playing like this I don’t see how Monty makes it through the season.

  6. LateNite504FC

    November 14, 2013 at 8:59 am

    I think they need to run fewer set plays that take a bunch of off ball movement and do more “pace and space” “drive and dish” to take advantage of their offensive skilled players. The slow pace and all the structured offense is making guys press to get their shots rather than just moving the ball until someone gets the advantage. Need more organic flow on O to best use the type of talent we have.

  7. ryantregle

    November 14, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Monty gotta go.  If no improvement Dell gotta go.  We could be sitting with the same record and a high pick in an unbelievable draft if no moves were made this offseason.  Instead we are a bad team with a ton of bad contracts and a budding superstar that will move on to a major market.

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