New Orleans Pelicans: The most underrated part of Jose Alvarado’s game

Jose Alvarado #15 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Jose Alvarado #15 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Jose Alvarado of the New Orleans Pelicans made a name for himself on the national stage last season.

He gave Chris Paul fits in the playoffs with his smothering on-the-ball defense and relentless motor, things that also made him a fan-favorite last season after making the team as an undrafted free agent.

He earned the nickname “Grand Theft Alvarado” after averaging 1.3 steals per game in just 15 minutes, including his signature move of sneaking up for steals when the ball handler gets a little too relaxed:

But Jose isn’t just defense, as he showed in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers, leading Puerto Rico in scoring and knocking down a high percentage of 3-point shots along the way.

Jose Alvarado may be known for his stifling defense, but his shooting is coming along and he was already one of the best playmakers in the league for a rookie.

New Orleans Pelicans: Jose Alvarado is a playmaker

Bball Index recently put together a chart that illustrated who the best rookie passers in the league  were last season.

The chart shows who created shots for their teammates at a high rate and which players created the easiest shots. Some of the names you’d expect, like rookies Cade Cunningham and Josh Giddey, who both started, played huge roles and had high usage rates on bad teams.

One face you might not expect to see on the chart is Jose Alvarado, who didn’t secure a spot in the rotation until later in the season and was coming off the bench:

As you can see, Jose created shots at the second-highest rate of any rookie last season, acting as a penetrator and facilitator when he was on the floor.

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There has been a lot of talk about the New Orleans Pelicans possibly needing a “true” point guard, as their starting lineup doesn’t really feature a guy who fits the traditional role.

But the Pelicans have one coming off the bench in Alvarado, who is very good at collapsing defenses with his dribble penetration and then setting up teammates for shots.

As his shooting continues to improve, so will his playmaking, as defenders will have to close out on him, which should lead to more blow-bys and passing opportunities.

Alvarado is known for his defense, but he’s also a very good playmaker and should help fill that void in the guard ranks for the Pels next season.

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