Earlier this week I started a series that took a look at some SportsVu data in regards to the Pelicans. The series started with a look at movement and possession on Monday, shifted to passing and defense on Tuesday, moved to rebounding and drives on Thursday and now concludes with a look at two different categories of shooting— catch and shoot and pull ups.
Just a reminder, this data is publicly available for the first time this season so we don’t exactly know how much predictive value on a season to season basis but it does help us learn a bit about things this season at least.
Catch and Shoot:
As has been well documented already, the Pelicans stunk at shooting the ball during the 2013-2014 season. Part of this was due to the fact that two of the team’s best shooters, Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday, missed large chunks of the season due to injuries, and part is due to the fact that the roster really didn’t have enough floor stretching threats.
With Holiday and Anderson out the floor spacing duties fell mainly upon two players, Anthony Morrow and Eric Gordon and it showed in catch and shoot numbers.
Morrow led the team with 289 points off catch and shoot opportunities, 31 more than Gordon despite playing about 12 minutes less per game. The two were the only Pelicans who finished in the top 100 in the league in total catch and shoot points, a big problem for a team whose best player operated at the rim. Without legitimate threats to space the floor, life on Anthony Davis was made much harder, which makes his incredible season even more impressive.
Luckily some of the issues seem fixable. In his 22 games played, Anderson averaged 8.9 catch and shoot points per game, a number that would have been good for second in the league and 2.7 made catch and shoot three pointers per game, a number that would have been tops in the league.
The other encouraging thing for the Pelicans is Austin Rivers numbers in catch and shoot situations. Rivers actually finished second among rotation players in efficient field goal percentage on catch and shoot jumpers at 64 percent, just one percent behind Eric Gordon. With the size of Jrue Holiday allowing him to defend some shooting guards the possibility of using Rivers and Holiday together to space the floor seems very real and potentially gives Rivers a solidified role going forward.
Pull ups are generally bad shots. Almost any player in basketball shoots better off a catch and shoot situation and the numbers bear it out.
Now that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a use for pull up jumpers or that every player should avoid them but it does mean there probably isn’t a ton of valuable data on them.
What it does tell us about the Pelicans is Jrue Holiday does like to shoot his fair of pull ups. Holiday finished 17th in the league in pull up attempts per game with 6.4 and 13th in the league in points per game off those shots with 5.8. That can become a weapon going forward for Holiday as Anthony Davis is going to draw a massive amount of attention as the roll man in a pick-and-roll so opportunities for Holiday to make that shot will come often. If he can do so it opens a lot of opportunities for the Pelicans’ offense.