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Pelicans “big five” rotation an offensive force… and a defensive mess

Nov 30, 2013, 8:00 PM EDT

Anthony Davis Getty Images

When people were excited to watch the Pelicans this season — I had them as my league pass team — it was with this rotation in mind: Jrue Holiday at the point, Eric Gordon at the two, Tyreke Evans at the three, with Ryan Anderson as a stretch four and Anthony Davis as their best player anchoring the middle.

Now that they are all healthy, coach Monty Williams is starting to lean on that five-some more, notes John Schuhmann at NBA.com. Williams did it midway through the first quarter against the 76ers, and Schuhmann breaks it down.

And the big five went right to work offensively, scoring 23 points on 11 possessions to end the period….

“When (Davis) runs the court, all of the attention focuses on him,” Anderson said. “So he leaves an open shot for me or, if we actually get set up down at the other end, Tyreke’s going to attack the rim and force a lot of attention himself. I think we just have a group of guys that really just know how to play in that lineup.”

That lineup struggled in a stretch during the third quarter, but overall, scored 54 points on 38 possessions on Friday, a rate of 142 per 100, which is pretty incredible.

On the season that rotation has played 51 minutes so far and has an offensive rating of 132.4 points per 100 possessions (for comparison, Houston has the top offense in the NBA so far at 109.7 per 100). That group of five has a ridiculous true shooting percentage of 62.7.

But they are giving up 116.4 points per 100 possessions (again for comparison, the Nets have the worst defense in the NBA so far allowing 107.2 per 100). The bright side, that’s still +16 per 100 possessions (and that rotation plays at a 99 possessions a game pace).

Williams told Schuhmann after the game the rotation is a work in progress.

“We try to get to that lineup, but that’s not a cure-all,” Williams said afterward. “It is a lineup that can cause problems. But we just have to learn how to defend and share the ball better…

“You can’t just put a defensive lineup on the floor [to get better defense],” Williams said before the game. “Whoever you put on the floor has to play better defense. We’re a month into it. Our guys are going to figure that out. I would like to find more minutes for that group.”

Look for more of this lineup going forward, especially if they start to defend better.

  1. nbascreed - Dec 1, 2013 at 7:17 AM

    Please stop. Just stop trying to interpret and actionalize the advanced data and stats. You really have no idea how to use them and frankly it’s embarrassing to watch you flail around and try to become the “stats blogger”.

    You wrote an article based on a sample of 51 minutes, out of what a possible 900+??? You offered no basis in comparison to other Big 5 rotation minutes for us to contextualize against. Please stop, for your own credibility. No one is buying you as the “stats guy” and it’s clear to us who have some basis in data analysis that you really have no idea how to explain your data or contextualize your findings.

  2. knightrider1755 - Dec 1, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    I’ll reserve any comments I may have until after the Knicks-Pelicans game.

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