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Pelicans Burned By Suns

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

It might be too early to start worrying about exactly what systemic defensive improvements Monty Williams implemented this summer, but four games in, it's been business as usual for New Orleans -- blown rotations left, right, and center, as Phoenix blasted its way to 63 second half points on 49 possessions. That was good for an absolutely obscene 1.28 points/possession.

New Orleans came into tonight a bit shy of the (very, very) early league average defensive mark, but they're already headed in the wrong direction. We can #smallsamplesizetheater this all we'd like, but ultimately, this defensive scheme strikes me as deeply flawed. Monty Williams' defense is designed to bait opponents into attempting threes, but I use the term loosely. A more accurate description would probably be that Monty Williams' defense thinks it's fashioned some sort of victory every time an opponent possession ends in an attempted three, even if that three was wide open, from the corner, off a perfect, easy pass, and with no contest.

Instead of forcing Eric Bledsoe to shoot jumpers, the team took away his jumper and forced into action rotations they couldn't make. New Orleans' pick and roll defense is just staggeringly awful right now, but what makes things far more troubling than last season is that everything looks by design as opposed to plain defensive ineptitude.

Let's roll with this post as an open thread to talk about the defense -- what are your thoughts through four games? Things have to get uglier when we play halfway decent teams, right?