In falling to OKC Wednesday night, the Pelicans failed to score for the remainder of the game after Anderson's three at the 5:39 mark. They went on to miss their final 11 shots and committed a turnover to boot. That's an astoundingly poor performance at the worst time of the game.
Sure there were a lot of missed shots amid some poor execution but it got me thinking -- what shots or what type of plays should each individual Pelican seek to avoid due to a high rate of futility? After perusing Synergy Sports, below is a list of what each player should look to circumvent in the future. However, if you happen to see them attempting such a shot, avert your eyes because nothing good is about to happen.
Seek to Avoid List
Tyreke Evans: As you may remember from last week, Evans is having problems in transition this season, both with conversion rates and turnovers. Currently he sits in the 18th percentile, and considering he is 8th in the entire league in transition attempts (4.6 possessions a game), that's a lot of wasted opportunity. He absolutely needs to tone it down.
Anthony Davis: The Brow doesn't depend on post play, but when he does venture to the right block, he's been awful. In 33 possessions, he has 21 points which places him in the 12th percentile. Interestingly, on the left block, he has 87 points in 87 possessions which is good for the 76th percentile. One piece of advice AD, if you're going to post up, ALWAYS go to the left block.
Ryan Anderson: The flamethrower finds himself consistently searching for the ignition switch whenever he's been involved as the roll man in pick and rolls. In 73 possessions, he's only managed 56 points. That .767 PPP is good for just the 14th percentile. Most of the problems stem from high pick and rolls where Ryan Anderson typically fakes setting a screen and then scampers to a free space on the wing. The ball handler hits him on the move for a three pointer...that rarely ever finds the bottom of the net.
Jrue Holiday: It's well known that the most inefficient shot in basketball is the long two. This season, Holiday has proven this single-handedly time and again. From 17 feet out to the 3-point line, he has amassed 28 points in 50 possessions. Yep, he's made a paltry 14 field goals from that range, good for a 28 FG%. Any jumper from elsewhere on the floor and Synergy has him listed as either good (from 3-point territory) or very good (inside 17 feet).
Eric Gordon: A lot has been made of Tyreke Evans shortcomings around the rim this season, but not nearly enough attention has been focused on Gordon in the same area. In the half-court offense, he has only produced 79 points in 83 possessions, good for the 21st percentile. His .952 PPP is significantly worse than Evan's 1.015 PPP. Unfortunately there really isn't a good fix as it's not advisable to have Gordon avoid taking attempts around the rim. Rather, he really needs to work on shooting good attempts by working on his elusiveness, spacing, etc.
Omer Asik: According to Synergy, Asik has been average around the rim, but when breaking down those attempts, he's been horrific on put-backs after grabbing that offensive rebound. Out of 100 possessions, he has only accumulated 89 points (.89 PPP). Two years ago, when he was the starting center for the Rockets, he was at least average with 1.005 PPP. With his slower reaction time and jumping ability, he's always going to have some issues playing against more athletic players, but he should still be better than what we've seen so far.
Dante Cunningham: Close to 50% of Cunningham's offense is derived from spot-ups. In 34 unguarded catch and shoot situations he has 42 points (1.235 PPP), but in 60 guarded possessions, he has only 45 points (.75 PPP). One doesn't have to be a math major to realize Cunningham needs to become a little more selective.
Alexis Ajinca: Overall, Ajinca is an excellent offensive contributor, but there is one area that he needs to address: jumpshots. He is in the 21st percentile thanks to making just 12 of his 32 field goal attempts. Last season, he fared much better as he ranked in the 55th percentile. Thus, it might be a small sample size issue, but considering his effectiveness around the rim and he's usually on the floor with Ryan Anderson, he should seek to stay in and around the paint as much as possible.
Quincy Pondexter: Since Pondexter has only played 311 minutes in a Pelicans uniform, we're going to defer a lot to the 2 seasons in Memphis when he surpassed 1000 played minutes. Q-Pon has proven to be a much more effective catch and shoot player when he's unguarded. This season, he's got 20 points on 15 unguarded field goal attempts. On the other hand, he's yet to register a single point in 9 guarded attempts.
Jimmer Fredette: There are two areas of grief in Jimmer's game this season -- one you'd expect, the other, never. Around the rim, Jimmer is in the 9th percentile, having scored just 22 points in 26 attempts. However, much to everyone's dismay, he hasn't been any better from beyond the arc having made just 8 of his 38 3-point tries. That's good for the 10th percentile. In his previous 3 seasons, he's never shot worse than 36.1% but this season it currently stands at 21.1%. I still believe that he'll eventually find the range, afterall, who has ever heard of a prolific shooter ever getting the yips from his money maker range?
(Barring serious future injury, there isn't a need to examine Luke Babbitt, John Salmons and Jeff Withey in detail. Plus, I think I've scared you enough.)
Currently, Synergy ranks the Pelicans offense as very good (rated 11th); however, there is room for improvement. If the rotation players were to work on, or even eliminate entirely the most inefficient parts of their games, the Pelicans would be better served in the long run.
Next time around, we'll look at the parts of the floor/strategic plays in which the Pelicans individually excel.