Friday, April 13, 2012

Drexler: Pick-and-Roll Defense a Hawks Weakness

Nate Drexler at TrueHoop Network's Magic Basketball breaks down the disparity in pick and roll defense between the Celtics and Hawks in this excellent analysis.

Obviously, every team in the Eastern Conference playoff race would like to avoid the Celtics, the way they are playing. Drexler points out that Boston hurts a key component of Orlando's offense by leading the league in defending the pick-and-roll, allowing only 0.81 points per possession. The Hawks? Not quite as scary:

They hold opponents to 0.85 points per possession in pick-and-roll sets — eighth-best in the league. But the key difference? They allow ball-handlers to shoot 40 percent from deep in pick-and-rolls. That’s a stark difference from the lock-down approach that Boston takes.

Should the Hawks face the Magic again in the postseason, the strategy of single-covering Dwight and staying home on shooters will doubtless be revisited. But the inability to fight over screens to get to shooters may prove to be a weakness the Magic can exploit.

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