Video Analysis: Vince Carter and the Pick and Roll | Magic Basketball

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Apr 23

Video Analysis: Vince Carter and the Pick and Roll

AP Photo/John Raoux

Vince Carter is your classic “love/hate” player.

For whatever reason, Carter stirs the emotions of almost any basketball fan one way or the other and it usually leads to heated debates praising or criticizing him at every turn. That being said, it came as no surprise that after Carter struggled mightily in Game 1 against the Charlotte Bobcats, shooting 4-of-19 from the field and playing with a lack of aggressiveness, his critics seemed to line up around the block to say “see, I told you so.” However, after Carter returned to form in Game 2, his backers are saying the same thing.

Rather than get into more frivolous banter that is all ado about nothing, let’s take a look at how Carter was able to play very well and singlehandedly breakdown the best defensive team in the NBA. It’s an important question to answer because it’ll have ramifications for the Orlando Magic moving forward in the playoffs, assuming they advance past the Bobcats in the first round. As they say, don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Anyways …

As has been mentioned before, the primary reason why Carter had success in Game 2 was because he was involved almost exclusively in the pick and roll — specifically in the third quarter. Even when it became obvious that the Magic would be running a pick and roll with Carter, it didn’t matter. Charlotte couldn’t stop the inevitable from happening. Which was usually Carter scoring.

However, what really stood out in Game 2 was that Carter had the basketball in his hands a lot in the fourth quarter. It was no different than when Hedo Turkoglu was the primary ballhandler for Orlando down the stretch in games during the postseason last year, actually. In this case, Jason Williams or Jameer Nelson played primarily off the ball in the fourth quarter and Carter ran the offense for the Magic (usually in the 2/5 pick and roll with Dwight Howard). Not a surprising development, mind you, but an interesting one to say the least.

All in all, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Carter needs to be involved in the pick and roll. Especially in the 1/2 pick and roll with Nelson, which causes a lot of matchup problems for opponents. In essence, the pick and roll invites Carter to be aggressive on offense and make a concerted effort to attack the basket, which is ultimately what Orlando needs him to do if they want to make it back to the NBA Finals. Carter doesn’t necessarily have to dominate the ball, and he shouldn’t, but he should be aggressive.

If Carter does that, then the Magic will be in good shape.

15 comments
Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Will

No worries. Let's agree to disagree, like you said. There's nothing wrong with that. Everyone has an opinion, which is fine. The last thing I want to do is discourage a discussion like this.

Will
Will

My point with Detroit was he helped shape them to be that way. Wallace and Billups were cast offs from the Magic, no one had heard of Prince until that 2004 season, Rip was a reject of the Wizards, Rasheed Wallace was a talented screw-up no one wanted to touch! Corliss Williamson was a good, not great, role player until he was on the right team. I don't think McDyess was on the championship team of 04 (I may be wrong). I'm not questioning their critical and statistical acheivements they made AFTER '04. . .I was just merely saying Billups stepped up that year and brought a group of guys together who, elsewhere, were unwanted and unneeded.

As for the debate. . .I'm sure I'd get whooped by the APBRmetrics group. . .and I have no interest to get spanked nightly on a forums board or comments board or what not. It's just my view of the value of a player and I am pretty cold on Paul. I, personally, would rather build a team around Rondo and Billups, and even Jameer, before Paul. . .that's just me.

Let's agree to disagree. I don't think I'm foolish and wrong, exactly, for having a different opinion than you since their can really be no answer to the question 'whose better' since it is always going to be subjective. I appreciate the back and forth and I now retire from the argument.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Will

I'm always open to having an educated discussion. Your opinion is fine and I respect it. However, I won't be afraid to be blunt and say that it's wrong because it is. Paul is the better player than Billups and Rondo, end of story. I could point to a variety of linear metrics to show that the comparison isn't close between the trio. Leadership and rings are irrelevant in this discussion. I'd invite you to argue your statement to the APBRmetrics forum. Guarantee you wouldn't be able to convince anyone, including myself, that Billups and Rondo are better than Paul. And to say Billups played with has-beens and nobodies in Detroit? You couldn't be more incorrect with that assertion -- Prince (four-time All-Defensive Second Team player), Wallace (four-time Defensive Player of the Year), Hamilton and McDyess were excellent role players, Wallace was always among the league leaders in adjusted plus/minus, etc. I mean, come on.

Will
Will

Please good sir,

If I were to make a complete argument on it I would present more evidence then simply 'they have rings'. In a comment board, I was just focusing on one aspect, what I, myself, would consider a MAJOR aspect, that defines the PG position. To me that is a large part of why Rondo and Billups are better. . .but not the ONLY reasons, by any means.

And Chris Paul's teams have generally been better then average. This was a bad year because of injuries and such.

In regards to rings (and I apologize for not reading the link you posted yet. . .I can only fool around SO much at work!) I look at the leader of the team, often the PG, traditionally, who runs the plays and sets everything up. Rondo was surrounded by uber-talent in 2008. I'll concede to that. But he managed to seperate himself from those three Hall of Famers and be relevant and immensely important. And when there were injuries worries, he held the team together through two playoff series, 14 games long, with close to a triple double average. He led a team to a title with BETTER teammates, indeed, but still played a major role.

Billups accomplishments are even larger. Take the Pistons team he LED and he was definitely the LEADER of that team: it was the Dirty Dozen of basketball. He, with a great coach, put together an incredible season and knocked the egos off of Kobe, Shaq, and Phil Jackson. His appearance in 7 straight Conference Finals, with varying degrees of talent, is impressive. And, of course, the ring.

Paul, in a much shorter period then Billups but just as long as Rondo, has had one epic collapse in the playoffs to his name and not much else. He has time. . .and he IS wonderful. . .but I'm afraid at THIS time, his leadership skills, a highly valued commodity in a PG, is lacking compared to R and B.

I am not knowledgeable enough with all three of the PGs stats to compare statistically so I can't, at this time, comment on that BUT I do feel that, in the end, a true All-Star makes his teams better. You are right in arguing Rondo since Rondo had three Hall of Famers beside him. . .but Billups had has-beens and nobodies and made them all contenders and superstars. I value that AND rings as very important and until Paul can show me more quality, on the leadership/'silverware' end, I can't argue against him being three to Rondo and Billups.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Will

To be frank, that's a foolish way to evaluate point guards when determining who's better. Even in a down year, Chris Paul was far and ahead of Billups and Rondo, statistically. I don't take account leadership and rings when determining, strictly, who the better player is. Rings, especially. Basketball is a team sport and how good or bad a player shouldn't be based on how good or bad his team is. That sometimes out of a player's control and shouldn't be an indictment on his skill. Billups and Rondo have rings because they've been on much better teams than Paul. That doesn't make them better than him. No way.

Will
Will

@Billy: I refuse to accept that Mike Brown made a good coaching decision! I REFUSE! He can't think outside the box because he doesn't even know where or what the box is! :)

@Eddy: That, good sir, if where we may disagree. I'd place Rondo and Billups way ahead of Chris Paul. . .WAY ahead. I think Paul is the flashiest and the most creative but I judge a PG not necessarily on stats and moves but on leadership. Rondo and Billups both have rings while Paul does not.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Billy (slickw143)

I think it was Polish. Not sure, though.

As for your comments about the pick and roll, what teams may have to do is get creative with the coverage. For example, when the Magic were killing the Cavaliers in the 1/2 pick and roll in their first win against them in the regular season, eventually Mike Brown put LeBron James on Nelson to guard him straight up or defend the switch. That's an example of thinking outside the box to stop the play.

@derek

It's very dangerous and has quickly become a go-to play for the Magic in games.

@Will

Yeah, Billups is one of the few players in the NBA that could handle defending the 1/2 pick and roll because he could guard either Nelson or Carter. However, the Magic probably won't face him in the playoffs.

As for Rondo, he is definitely not the best point guard in the game. It's Chris Paul, end of story. Is Rondo an All-Star caliber player? Absolutely, but to say he's anything more than that is a bit much.

And don't jinx the Magic in case they meet with the Celtics this year, even though it's highly unlikely.

@JP

No, Simmons doesn't like Carter.

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

@Will - I was talking strictly about the 1-2 pick-n-roll, not overall PG play. Of course Billups, Rondo, and Nash are better overall PG's than Jameer. But none of them can guard both Jameer AND Vince, and the same can be said for the shooting guard on each of those teams too. OKC with Westbrook and Thabo is the only playoff team that I believe would be able to cover the 1-2 PnR reliably without just praying that Vince and Jameer are off their games.

Will
Will

Well. . .the Celtics have never beaten the Magic in the playoffs :)

JP
JP

I usually like Bill Simmons' stuff but he really, really, REALLY doesnt want VC to suceed does he?!

I used to interpret it as "anti Orlando Magic" sentiment but it really isnt, its all aimed squarely at Vince.

Theres not going to be any middle ground with this one.

Will
Will

Billy: never count out Billups for anything! Isn't his personal record against the Magic, like, 1,807-4?

Like I posted elsewhere, if the pick and roll is not working, we need to get PHYSICAL. Mo Williams, are most likely biggest threat (and I mean the team he is on, not him) is so emotionally fragile that if you rough him up a bit (Hammer, don't hurt 'em. . .but you know what I mean) he gets testy, emotional, and can't hit shots. He's faster then Jameer. . .but Jameer is more intelligent.

Fisher and Nash are too old (agree). Rondo is one of those 'hope to contain him' players. . .he's probably the best PG in the game. But we did fine against him last year and we had Skip (off topic: I miss Skip sometimes). Bibby is a bit past his prime. I agree with your analysis good sir.

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

The 1/2 PnR with Jameer and Vince is brutal. I really don't know what team the Magic will face in the playoffs will be able to stop it consistently. The Thunder have a backcourt that could, but we won't be playing them. Besides that, the only thing that would stop it is if Jameer and Vince aren't hitting their shots.

To clarify, any other team we'll possibly face has at most one guy who would be able to handle the play, whether it's a switch or not. And if there's no switch, Jameer has open 3's to him, which teams don't want to give up. Bibby can't guard either Jameer or Vince. Rondo might be able to play Vince in the post, but Ray won't stay in front of Jameer. Mo Williams can't guard either. Same for Fisher or Nash or Terry. Billups can't guard Vince in the post. I mean, what does the other team do?

derek
derek

that pick and roll with carter is dangerous, i wanna see him look to hit howard off it via an alley oop or just a post feed. just throw the ball up there howard will out jump/out muscle the bobcats centers

Will
Will

I have been impressed with Carter thus far (besides the 5% shooting, or so it seemed, it Game 1). His BIGGEST critic, Bill Simmons, someone who is equally as polarizing as Carter himself, said Carter will back away from contact and will look like he got shot whenever he gets touched (thanks to Tyrus Thomas for taking that mantle. . .with a smile).

Ever since the crazy month VC had where he shot 26% or whatever for the whole month, VC has rededicated himself. He's always driving. . .he's taking contact. . .and he is WINNING games for the Magic. Watching VC this season has been a revelation.

Remember the preseason games where he shot 10 threes? Remember the first few games where he stubbed his toe and missed a week? Remember when he wouldn't stop taking shot until his career field goal % went down 19%!!!!!!!

It's almost like the old VC died in January and was reborn anew after that. Now, he hasn't had too much pressure yet (a Cavs team will do that to you) but since Jan he has impressed me and APPEARED to shed his demons (aka his past career).

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

"And 1" is still "and 1" in Polish, or whatever language the commentary was in.