The original offseason plan called for Rajon Rondo to dictate the New Orleans Pelicans offense for the vast majority of the upcoming regular season minutes. Following an ill-fated sports hernia, though, a detour became necessary. Many still expect that burden to directly shift to Jrue Holiday, but the former point guard matter of factly downplayed this notion yesterday after practice.
“No. Again, there’s like no one ball handler. Today in practice, I barely handled the ball. We had DeMarcus and AD bring it up most of the time. Again, our offense doesn’t really have a ball handler. Maybe when we get into sets and things like that. I can do it. E’Twaun can do it. We had AD and Boog running it today.”
Welcome to the Chris Finch era in New Orleans: If you can handle the ball and be trusted to make good decisions, the keys to the offense can be yours for periods of time.
The Pelicans newest assistant coach believes in pace, motion-style offenses, good shots and quick passes, but he doesn’t care which playmaker initiates the sets. Although Nikola Jokic got the vast amount of credit for the Denver Nuggets becoming a top rated offense in 2016-17, realize there were a lot of teammates around him cutting, making additional passes and converting all of those open looks.
Plan A for Alvin Gentry was Rajon Rondo. Plan B is not aiming to pass the torch to another individual but rather to the collective whole. Yes, it’s high time we move on from the idea that Holiday is back exclusively at point guard for the Pelicans.
Since Rondo was forced to leave early with injury in the third preseason matchup against the Bulls, Holiday totaled five assists in his absence during the remainder of the preseason schedule. DeMarcus Cousins? 11. Ian Clark? Seven. Anthony Davis? Four. Jordan Crawford? Four.
The desired offense moving forward will be about reading and reacting. As we observed in that exhibition game against the Bulls, the remaining group is capable — 29 assists on 34 made field goals and all of the starters totaled at least two assists. Oh, and Boogie led the pack with nine dimes.
That’s the game plan.
Save for Dante Cunningham, all of the starters have the potential to bring the ball up the floor, read defenses and make timely passes. Plus, Clark and Crawford are ready to help off the bench.
If the Pelicans offense performs well during Rondo’s recess, it won’t be because of a single player but rather a true team effort. Just as modern offenses have blurred the lines at power forward and center, a traditional point guard is no longer a requirement, too — just pray that New Orleans playmakers are ready for the challenge.