Advanced Scouting: San Antonio Spurs at New Orleans Hornets
San Antonio Spurs at New Orleans Hornets 2:00 CST November 28, 2010
New Orleans: 5.96 (6th)
San Antonio: 7.73 (1st)
|Player||Fraction of teams minutes||PER minus Counterpart PER||2 Year Net PER||On court +/-per 48 minutes||Off court +/-per 48 minutes||2 Year Adjusted +/-|
*On court/Off court numbers reflect team performances with Toronto
Most valuable/utilized lineups:
Paul,Belinelli,Ariza,West,Okafor +66 in 289 MP
Preferred method to create shots: Chris Paul running the pick and roll
After Chris Paul suffered through an injury plagued season last year, there has been a push to crown Deron Williams the best PG in the NBA, but the truth is that Chris Paul has had consistently better numbers throughout their respective careers, including last year. Paul has improved on last seasonâ€™s performance and should be on a short list of MVP candidates to this point in the season.
Chris Paul is very good at isolation plays and outstanding at running the break, but he is among the very best at commanding the pick and roll. Since 2007-08, Paul has averaged over 1.07 points per possession on pick and roll derived plays and has never ranked below the 87th percentile on such plays (according to synergy sports).
Appropriate Spurs counter: No layups
Admittedly, this strategy is kind of simplistic; itâ€™s a little more complex than suggesting the Spurs should outscore the Hornets. The idea is that Paul can devastate a defense reacting to the pick and roll by finding players in position for layups or getting to the basket himself. The Hornets have been elite on plays derived from Chris Paul running the pick and roll, but they have been merely average (compared to other NBA teams) when these possessions end with spot ups. Obviously, the team running the pick and roll has significant input on how the possession develops. Fortunately for the Spurs, many of Chris Paulâ€™s pick and roll possessions do end in spot ups.
The Hornets often run a pick and pop. This can create more room for Paul and others to streak to the hoop, but if defended well, the play will often result in a jumper from either Jason Smith or David West. Both are adequate shooters for big men, but if the Spurs can get a lot of jumpers out of West and Smith when defending Chris Paulâ€™s pick and roll, it should be considered a defensive success. The effectiveness of this strategy should only improve now that Toronto has acquired Peja Stojakovic.
In addition to applying extra defensive focus on cutters and defensive rotations; traps, zones and switches could all be mixed in as the Spurs try to solve Chris Paulâ€™s pick and roll. In limited observations, traps have seemed to diminish Chris Paulâ€™s pick and roll effectiveness.
Parker and Hill typically defend Paul. Both have been adequate, but not exceptional defending the pick and roll.
This article on Basketball Prospectus details strategies for defending Chris Paul in a playoff series against the Spurs in 2008. For those of you who prefer to watch video on defending Paul in the pick and roll, this video breaks down how the Nuggets were able to have some success defending him in a playoff series in 2009.
Defensive Weakness: attack Chris Paul on the pick and roll
In addition to his offensive dominance, Chris Paul wrecks havoc on the defensive end. He regularly leads the league in steals and sparks the transition with his gambles. In addition to his abilities to pick pockets and disrupt passing lanes, Paul is a solid defender on isolation plays; but he is not without defensive deficiencies.
For one, his height leaves him subject to post ups. It also diminishes his ability to alter his opponentâ€™s shots as successfully as taller players. But perhaps most surprisingly, he has struggled fairly consistently defending the pick and roll. Last year Paul allowed 0.93 PPP defending the pick and roll ball handler (38th percentile). Although this isnâ€™t abysmal, if Tony Parker makes Paul work on defense it could also serve to limit his playing time and his end of game effectiveness. (Paul defends Tony Parker a high percentage of the time.)
The Spurs have another tough game with an elite west team. This time they have a chance to bounce back by avenging their first loss of the season, but theyâ€™ll need to do it on the road. The Spurs might be the better team, but the difference is not likely enough to be favored against the Hornets in New Orleans.