The Perfect Pelicans Pick-and-Roll

Published: November 19, 2014

I like to keep up, as best I can, with everything going on in the NBA. Like most of the writers at BSS, I’m not just a fan of the Pelicans. I’m a fan of the game. One thing I’ve been hearing recently from national commentators is that this Pelicans offense isn’t nearly as good as the numbers might have you believe. To a point, that’s fair. I mean the season is still so young that the Minnesota game greatly affects our stats for the better, and we still haven’t completely figured it out.

Still, when this team is firing on all cylinders (or flying in perfect formation? I’m not good with Bird stuff), they can be something very special. We still make a lot of mistakes, but we are seeing glimpses of what this team could be. Last night at around the 3 minute mark in the 3rd quarter, we saw one of those glimpses. Let’s break down exactly what happened.


Here is the set up. The Pelicans are going to run a basic pick-and-roll. The simplest play in basketball. Eric Gordon is the ball handler, and Davis is the screen man. Now, I know some of you are thinking this can’t be a perfect pick-and-roll, if Gordon is the ball handler! What about Jrue or Tryeke? Well, Gordon manhandled Nik Stauskas last night. It was simply the best matchup, and isn’t that the point of having multiple scoring guards? To find the most favorable match up?


Anyway, Davis sets the screen, and Stauskas is effectively out of the play. Now, here is the trouble for the Kings. Cousins started way back on the screen to protect the rim. Now, he moves over to stop Gordon, which is a fine choice. You should protect the rim at all costs, right? Well, that means Davis is now crashing down the lane, and we have all seen what AD can do with an open lane. He is just begging for the alley oop. So you’ll notice between the first and second photos than Ryno’s man comes down to help on Davis and take away the alley oop. This is the next thing the Kings see.


And if you see that, then you’re probably going to see this.


The play was simple. A pick-and-roll with Davis and Gordon to the opposite side of Anderson on the wing, but look how hard it is to defend. The Pelicans have so many options coming off that one screen. It is next to impossible to NOT give up a good look. Running plays with this type of precision and efficiency should be this teams ceiling on offense. With more chemistry and continuity, this team should be a tough matchup for almost anyone.


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