The Perfect Pelicans Pick-and-Roll

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.

10 responses to “The Perfect Pelicans Pick-and-Roll”

  1. This is the same play David Wesley diagrammed last night on the TV broadcast and I am pleased to see it here as well. It is a beautifully effective play designed with an intent for who is on the floor offensively and likely defensively. Kudos to Monty on that…and to Eric for the dime…and I guess AD for being so good to draw the defense to him…and of course for Ryno for draining it!
    I guess the icing would have been that same shot of Ryno with the score already reflecting the trey!
    Big win and we’ve got a legitimate shot now at a 3-1 road trip if we can get Asik back!

  2. Hey doc! After helping my son with his math homework last night dealing with exponents, in deference to this article’s title we might need to call this play “P-3” (meaning “cubed” but I can’t type it that way). Other ironies is that it involves three guys and is a play on the old CP3 with the “C” gone (literally)!

  3. Pelican Poster I only had the Kings broadcast last night, so I didn’t hear David Wesley break this down. The only thing I heard about this play was the Kings announcers screaming, “HOW DO YOU LEAVE ANDERSON THAT WIDE OPEN?”
    Now, we know how that happens.

  4. Yes! It is a killer play…pick your poison…soon I think you’ll see them just stick with the driver to give up an non-spirited 2pt layup. Alley-oop slam from AD or a trey from Ryno? No way.
    When David did that I took on a greater appreciation for the broadcast and its evolution. I think we would all agree that Joel Myers is just fantastic. They had to have paid a pretty price to get him. David seems to be rounding into form as well from an analysis standpoint but that is largely a new gig for him as well, and that was why I almost got excited when I saw him drawing on the monitor ala Gary Danielson with College Football. Also liked Sean Kelley as well on the radio and online productions.

  5. This play was run in the first game AD, Gordon, and Ryan ever played together. It was almost exactly 2 years ago in a game against the bobcats I believe. Was in the 4th quarter in a tight game and i remember thinking that that was the future of the franchise shown in one play. Beautiful Ball

  6. KlintWhite While I think we can plug in a few others for the penetrators and 3pt shooters on the play, unfortunately it does not appear that we have any other high flyers like Davis to draw the defense down. Ajinca just seems slow footed and weak…in the last few games it appears the guys have tried it with him and its a certified disaster.  Sad.

  7. Good to see Eric Gordon coming around a bit. Seems like he is playing much better on the road than at home
    In the 5 Home games  averages – 6 pts FG% ~ .281, with 2 assist and 1.8 rebs
    In the 5 road games: avg 12.6 pts, FG % 0.439, 1.8 asst and 3 rebs.
    This is despite the fact that if anything the road opponents have generally been stronger squads than who the Pels have played at home (Road opponent are 36/19 for the season, home opponent 23/35).
    Is the home crowd making him nervous?, or is it just rust? More of the home games were early on.
    Any theories?

  8. That was a damn good job on that memory…must have fired on the right synapse and left a snapshot…unless it was chemically induced?! :0

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