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Pau Gasol's Struggles Against The Pick And Roll Hurting The Lakers Defense

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#1 Majesty

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 01:51 PM

Pau Gasol's Struggles Against the Pick and Roll Hurting Lakers Defensively
By
Phillip Barnett




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On Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers lost their eighth game of the season, dropping them back below .500, 15 games into the season.
The Tuesday night contest against the Pacers was an ugly one, with both teams shooting below 40 percent from the field and below 25 percent from range.

Both teams struggled to score, but down the stretch, the Pacers decided to attack Pau Gasol in the pick and roll. They scored on each of their last two possessions, including George Hill’s game-winning layup with .1 seconds left on the clock.

Attacking Pau in P&R situations hasn’t been new to this Lakers team. As Pau has aged, he’s become more slow-footed and hasn’t been able to move his feet against opposing point guards.
This weakness has only been amplified by the fact that the Lakers perimeter defenders haven’t been able to fight through screens during Pau’s whole tenure in Los Angeles.
The result has been Pau isolated by a smaller, quicker guard after opposing offenses achieved the switch they intended to create in the 1-4 P&R.

On Tuesday, the Pacers ran 16 P&R sets. They ran nine with Gasol on the floor and seven with him on the bench.
While Gasol was on the floor, seven of the nine P&Rs were run with his man setting the screen. The Pacers blatantly attacked Gasol’s inability to move laterally, and they had some success.

Keeping in mind that they shot 34 percent on the night, the Pacers shot 33 percent on all P&R sets and that was the second-highest they shot in all half-court situations (they found back-side cutters with regularity, which led to easy buckets).

It was the 1-4 P&R, however, that gave the Lakers fits and ultimately cost them the game. Let’s take a look at how the Pacers attacked Gasol.

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With Gasol on the floor in the last minute of a one-point game, the Pacers attacked Gasol with Hill and David West. Indiana started in a 1-4 high set and brought West up from the weak side.
As West comes up the line, Paul George and Lance Stephenson spot up in the corners. Knowing the screen is coming, Chris Duhon plays Hill to go to the strong side where most of his help should be.

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West slips the screen and pops to the top of the key with Gasol sagging a bit. As Hill beats Duhon, Gasol is in great position to step in front of Hill and slow him down.
Instead, either Gasol has no interest in moving away from West (who had a decent game) or he was too slow-footed to slide over. Whatever the case, Hill blows right by Gasol and puts in a floater over Dwight Howard, who had to slide away from Ian Mahinmi on the weak side. Check out the play in real time:



For the game-winning layup, the Pacers went back to the same play. Kobe Bryant had just hit a three to tie the game, and the Pacers just needed a bucket for the win. Again, they started out in a 1-4 low and let Hill run down the clock with Metta World Peace guarding him this time around.

This time, West actually comes up and sets the screen for Hill, which Metta is actually able to get around. However, Gasol doesn’t hedge hard enough and is already starting to retreat instead of attacking the ball-handler and trying to slow him down as he turns the corner.

Again, Stephenson and George are in the corners with Mahinmi on the weak side block. Things are just flipped around.

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Hill turns the corner and immediately blows by Gasol, who is absolutely trying to stay with him this time around. Howard slides over from the weak side and attempts to block the shot, but his efforts are futile, as Hill is able to kiss the ball high off the glass and watches the ball roll in for a Pacers win. Catch the play in real time here:



You certainty can’t put the entire loss on Gasol’s inability to guard the pick and roll effectively (free-throw shooting immediately comes to mind), but the eye test and numbers suggest that attacking the Spaniard was the best option for the Pacers and will continue to be the best option for opposing offenses moving forward.

There was one instance early in the fourth where Pau was able to play the P&R effectively. He hedged hard on the screen, slowed Hill down, recovered and allowed enough time for Howard to effectively slide over and prevent a shot attempt.

The result was Hill taking a desperation long two after driving baseline to the other side of the floor. Other than that one time, Gasol didn’t ever seem comfortable sliding his feet or recovering back to his man to contest jump shots.

It’ll be interesting to see if and how the Lakers are able to remedy this problem moving forward, but for now, it continues to be their most glaring issue on the defensive side of the ball.


Great Article and lots of good points. This PnR is hurting us a LOT because of his lack of ability to play it and at time willingness and it's obvious teams are scouting to attack HIM because of that.

Edited by Majesty, November 29, 2012 - 01:52 PM.

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#2 MDI

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 01:55 PM

Sky is blue. Everyone knows Pau is a horrendous P & R defender

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Props to sidthekid871


#3 Hollywood

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 01:57 PM

Pau is taking a tremendous amount of heat

Edited by Hollywood, November 29, 2012 - 01:59 PM.

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#4 bfc1125roy

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 02:03 PM

After seeing what Hill did the first time there wasn't much on an excuse on that last play for Pau not to hedge harder.

#5 Windu

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 02:18 PM

smh

Pau Gasol is GONE


#6 MysticBlu~

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 02:29 PM

Smh sigh.

#7 Cowboys&LakersFan

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 02:34 PM

Pau is taking a tremendous amount of heat

Yeah he is and rightfully so. Pau is having the worst season of his career so far.
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#8 Nego

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 02:59 PM

Don't think Pau is avoiding a trade this year.

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#9 gque24

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 03:05 PM

any1 can see it its obvious! thats why teams use same gameplan when Pau on court.
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#10 Majesty

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 03:08 PM

any1 can see it its obvious! thats why teams use same gameplan when Pau on court.


One thing is for sure, we aren't gonna beat OKC in 4 games with him playing the way he is on BOTH ends. That much is clear.

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#11 Lakers4Life

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 03:46 PM

One thing is for sure, we aren't gonna beat OKC in 4 games with him playing the way he is on BOTH ends. That much is clear.


We won't get past the first round at the rate were playing lol?
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#12 Cowboys&LakersFan

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 04:54 PM

One thing is for sure, we aren't gonna beat OKC in 4 games with him playing the way he is on BOTH ends. That much is clear.

If we're healthy we can beat anybody including Oklahoma City.
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#13 lodom7

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 07:30 PM

He can be an average or even good P&R defender, he has shown he can be in the past. He is either seriously fatigued or bothered by his knees.
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#14 mrclutch

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 08:01 PM

If we're healthy we can beat anybody including Oklahoma City.

Not with the PnR defense from pau last night we won't

#15 Calisupra2nr

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 08:59 PM

As much as I hate Pau I would heavily disagree with that analysis. This was mostly on Metta on the last drive. Yes Pau plays lax PnR defense,but that last play that Hill won them the game was on Metta. He was so soft on his coverage that he let Hill go to his ball dominant side (right) instead of forcing him left. Then he just instantly switches when he could have fought over that a bit more... I don't know. I see the argument and I definitely place a lot of blame on Pau, but this instance has me a bit ticked with Metta.

#16 LakeShow805

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 09:02 PM

If we're healthy we can beat anybody including Oklahoma City.

not right now....

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#17 Majesty

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 09:08 PM

As much as I hate Pau I would heavily disagree with that analysis. This was mostly on Metta on the last drive. Yes Pau plays lax PnR defense,but that last play that Hill won them the game was on Metta. He was so soft on his coverage that he let Hill go to his ball dominant side (right) instead of forcing him left. Then he just instantly switches when he could have fought over that a bit more... I don't know. I see the argument and I definitely place a lot of blame on Pau, but this instance has me a bit ticked with Metta.


Kobe said after the game that the strategy of that play was FOR Metta to let him go by so Pau can hedge him and stop him from going to the basket. And said that Pau was the one that blew the assignment, not Metta as Kobe has said they've run that play in practice and it's Metta's job to force them to go to Pau who is supposed to step out and hedge it correctly, but that Pau didn't and as a result the guy scored.

Those were Kobe's own words.

So sorry, but that play WAS on Pau as Metta did what he was supposed to "lead him to Pau" but Pau didn't do what he was supposed to.

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#18 Lakerace24

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 09:16 PM

As much as I hate Pau I would heavily disagree with that analysis. This was mostly on Metta on the last drive. Yes Pau plays lax PnR defense,but that last play that Hill won them the game was on Metta. He was so soft on his coverage that he let Hill go to his ball dominant side (right) instead of forcing him left. Then he just instantly switches when he could have fought over that a bit more... I don't know. I see the argument and I definitely place a lot of blame on Pau, but this instance has me a bit ticked with Metta.

It was a designed defensive play. The reason why Pau takes a lot of heat on that play is because he blew his assignment. Metta and Dwight did what they were supposed to do, Pau let Hill turn the corner on him even though he knew where Hill wanted to go with it.

#19 Calisupra2nr

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 09:18 PM

Kobe said after the game that the strategy of that play was FOR Metta to let him go by so Pau can hedge him and stop him from going to the basket. And said that Pau was the one that blew the assignment, not Metta as Kobe has said they've run that play in practice and it's Metta's job to force them to go to Pau who is supposed to step out and hedge it correctly, but that Pau didn't and as a result the guy scored.

Those were Kobe's own words.

So sorry, but that play WAS on Pau as Metta did what he was supposed to "lead him to Pau" but Pau didn't do what he was supposed to.


Oh did not know that. Do you have the interview by chance? I am just not sure why they would do that in crunch time...like why not let your best perimeter defender stick on the guy and force him to his weak-side? I guess I see the positive of a tough Gasol hedge, but when has Gasol ever hedged that hard on a clutch PnR set?

#20 Calisupra2nr

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Posted November 29, 2012 - 09:19 PM

It was a designed defensive play. The reason why Pau takes a lot of heat on that play is because he blew his assignment. Metta and Dwight did what they were supposed to do, Pau let Hill turn the corner on him even though he knew where Hill wanted to go with it.


I get the assignments, but my question is why assign that? Why put Pau in that position in the first place? He is not Javale McGee.





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