New Orleans Pelicans: Pels playing .5 basketball in training camp

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(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

New head coach Willie Green is hoping to bring sustained success to the New Orleans Pelicans, starting with changing the half court offense.

The Pelicans scored a lot of points last season, but they did it playing a half court style that more resembled something out of the 1990’s, as there was a heavy reliance on isolation plays for Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.

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The Pelicans did run when they could, but things tended to grind to a halt in the half court, something Willie Green is trying to change.

He already talked about his “non-negotiable” rules, one of which is “share the ball.”

And the New Orleans Pelicans are doing it so far in training camp, playing a style that they are calling .5 basketball.

New Orleans Pelicans: Making quick decisions and sharing the ball

In a recent article by Christian Clark of, Trey Murphy III was asked about how things are going in training camp and he specifically mentioned the .5 style of basketball that coach Green is trying to implement:

"“Guys are playing really hard. They’re getting a lot of extra work in. Really playing connected, playing together. That’s been the big thing for us: playing point-5 basketball. And just sharing the ball. That’s one of our values.”Point-5 basketball” means passing, dribbling or shooting within half a second of receiving the ball. Murphy said he is comfortable playing that style."

The New Orleans Pelicans are clearly trying to incorporate more ball movement and action into their half court sets instead of so much dribbling by one guy. It is reminiscent of the “7 seconds or less” offense that Mike D’Antoni used in Phoenix. Coincidentally, D’Antoni is now a coaching advisor in New Orleans, so I wonder how much influence he had in speeding the half court offense up.

Defenses were able to sag into the paint and just wait for Zion Williamson to dribble into them last season, often while several other guys stood around the 3-point line, which often led to a stagnant offense that relied too heavily on Zion’s individual strength and dominance.

By the end of the season this had taken its toll and Zion was injured, partially due to his high usage rate and all of the hard fouls he was taking in the lane.

With better shooters around him, the Pelicans should be able to take advantage of the gravity Zion creates by moving the ball more and forcing teams to respect their shooters, which will eventually open things up more for Zion Williamson.

I think this .5 style is a good way to keep the offense from stagnating as it did so often last season and for the Pelicans to take advantage of their athleticism, speed and shooting.

Next. Predicting season stats for Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. dark