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Toughest guys to guard on pick-and-roll? Sanders says Nash, Rose, Conley

Nov 1, 2013, 1:56 PM EDT

Steve Nash, Chris Paul AP

Larry Sanders got a big four-year, $44 million extension from the Milwaukee Bucks this summer because he can defend — he can protect the rim and block shots, but he also is quite good showing out and shutting of drives on the pick-and-roll.

Talking with him after the Bucks season-opening loss to the Knicks, Zach Lowe of Grantland talked defending the pick-and-roll with Sanders, specifically who is the hardest to stop when they come around the top of that pick.

OK, well, anytime [Steve] Nash is coming off the pick-and-roll, it’s bad.

Still, huh?

Yep, still. It’s because of his pace. He’s not rushing. He’s just surveying, looking for gaps, passing through those gaps. He’s such a good passer. And D-Rose.

He’s back.

Oh, yeah. And, man, coming off those pick-and-rolls at full speed. He’s one of those guys, when he comes around that pick, you have to be totally locked in on him. He’s so quick, if he gets his shoulder past you, it’s over.

Rose isn’t a shock. He’s struggling to get his touch back and finish (28 percent shooting through two games) but physically he is back. Nash however, is interesting on this list, he is slower than he was a few years ago but his ability to keep his dribble alive and pick you apart with precision passing.

Then Sanders makes another interesting choice — Mike Conley of the Memphis Grizzlies. Why

His decision-making. Guards that make good decisions out of the pick-and-roll are just deadly. Options open up. He’s really good at keeping the big man in front of him.

Sort of stringing you out, you mean — keeping his dribble alive so you have to keep guarding him?

Yeah, yeah. And he’s got two guys on him now. Guys who can do that, and make good decisions are deadly.

Conley is an underrated point guard — how he stepped up in the wake of the Rudy Gay trade made the Grizzlies far more efficient and much more dangerous offensively after that trade.

Sanders also said he expects the James Harden/Dwight Howard pick and roll will be dangerous.

  1. kingwithringz - Nov 1, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    D-Wade as well, when healthy. He splits and euro-steps through P&R’s like nobody’s business.

    • trollaikman8 - Nov 8, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      Wade’s eurostep is a blatant travel ending in a flop/dive and bail out call.
      Dude has been trash for 7 years.

  2. moseskkim - Nov 1, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    got a big 4 yr 44 million contract and responds with 4 rebounds and 5 more fouls than points in his first game. eeeek

    • 00maltliquor - Nov 2, 2013 at 2:26 AM

      Don’t you know, that’s what happens when overvalued players sign an unwarranted big mega-contract like that. It’s mandatory.

  3. hildezero - Nov 1, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    Nash is no doubt one of the greatest that can use the pick-and-roll play in history.

    • bougin89 - Nov 1, 2013 at 4:07 PM

      It’s almost impossible to guard Nash off the pick n roll if the screen is good because Nash is so intelligent, such a good passer, and such a great shooter.

  4. azarkhan - Nov 1, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    Nash is the only guard I ever saw who (in his prime) would dribble the ball under the opponents basket while deciding whether to pass, shoot, or just keep it and dribble back out. I mean, he would actually spend time under the basket surrounded by the opponents bigs and whoever was guarding him, and never lose the ball. Perhaps someone knows of another guard who does that now, but Nash is the only one I’ve seen do it consistently.

  5. Anoesis - Nov 1, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    Howard had Nash to run P&Rs with in L.A. and didn’t want to do it. How is Harden an improvement? Howard still thinks he’s strictly a post-up guy. Or maybe he becomes deadly at the P&R in Houston, which would just be more proof he never intended to sign with the Lakers.

    • borderline1988 - Nov 1, 2013 at 5:42 PM

      Howard wasn’t happy in LA. He never wanted to be there in the first place.
      He had to play second fiddle to a guy who wants all the shots and all the credit when things go well, but would defer blame to Howard whenever things don’t go well.

      Howard is a guy who likes to be happy. He produces best when there’s that balance of coach and teammates who are pushing him to succeed, but where he also feels comfortable and loved by his teammates.

      • mikerome64 - Nov 1, 2013 at 10:23 PM

        And he goes to Houston where he will be second fiddle to Harden,who will take all the shots also. He wasn’t happy in Orlando, he wasn’t happy in LA. Hell will he ever be happy anywhere?

  6. andyreidisfat - Nov 1, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    I agree completely with the young man except for the harden Howard deal. Harden to me at least is much better in the ISO or spot up shooting and Howard has never had good enough hands to receive the type of passes a big man has to in the p n p.

    Another guy who hasn’t gotten much of a chance to do it because Collins is a loser as a coach is holiday. Now that he has a decent coach and a really good big I think the pelicans will try to run p n r a lot this season.

  7. davidly - Nov 2, 2013 at 5:22 AM

    Hey now!

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