Speed and spacing is how you win in sports. Just ask the Sacramento Kings, who fielded the best offense in basketball by prioritizing those two principles.
Having more shooters like Ryan and Hawkins (and having McCollum take more threes) will help improve our overall spacing. Now, we just need to play with more pace. Wednesday was a good first step in this crusade.
Last season, the Pelicans ranked 16th in PACE, averaging 99.58 possessions per 48 minutes. Against the Grizzlies, we played at a PACE of 103.5.
As with every statistic we’ve cited here, this number is derived from a microscopic sample size. But even when you look at the tape, you can tell that the Pelicans are making a conscious effort to try and play faster.
You may watch the clip below and think to yourself, ‘Woah, that was a nice pass by Williamson.’ You’d be right to say that (because it was). But watch a little closer, and you will see that the whole play was catalyzed by a wonderful hit-ahead pass by Ingram.
These types of passes were a staple in the Kings’ offense last season. They help you to push the pace and get into your offense before the defense has time to get organized (as a general rule, the less organized a defense is, the better for your offense). And if we keep using them, we could be well on our way to an elite offense this year.