Let’s start with Jordan Clarkson and what he can do out of the pick and roll. One thing that will really help is the movement the Lakers get before initiating it – allowing Clarkson to find some space where he can pull up from the midrange.
Out of the Chin series of the princeton, you can see how defenses will be out of position to contain him when the ball screen comes out top. Same play, and this time, it’s his mastery of the hesitation inside out move that gets him the floater at the basket.
One of his strengths is the change of pace, as he uses it with subtle fakes to explode into drives. While you can’t rely on shots like these, he does have them in his bag.
They will go straight pick and roll out top at end of quarters, and Clarkson is a creative shot maker helped by his size over smaller guards. He’s got a variety of finishes that keep defenders off balance.
With Julius Randle’s body type, you might be reminded of Shaq, as he uses his wide shoulders as battering rams to claim space down low near the hoop. He’s a guy who loves getting into the middle of the lane, and he’s got very good body control and touch for someone so big.
He almost favors going to his right, using his broad shoulders to establish position, and then get back to finish with his left hand. And he can also drive to his right from the perimeter, showing the inkling of a step back game with nice touch, and he’s also got a nice floater he can unleash as well.
Another revelation is his ability to push the ball up the court and facilitate. He’s got good handles and court vision, making him an even tougher matchup. And when his young and fast teammates run with him, the defense will be hard pressed to get back in time to protect the rim.
His vision and passing isn’t limited to the fast break, either. In the Princeton offense, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to find cutters.
Moving on to D’Angelo Russell – it feels like he’s struggling to fit in. His jump shot mechanics are inconsistent as he tends to float and let his upper body be out in front of his legs.
And he seems a bit too quick on the trigger with jacking up shots from the perimeter. He should really eliminate the quick 3s and long 2s when there’s lots of time left on the shot clock, since he’s more effective penetrating and kicking out for open shots rather than force up these types of shots.
With his size, he could post up smaller point guards, and he seems comfortable calling for the ball down there.
He does have excellent ball handling skills, and an instinct for entertainment. He just needs to keep working on getting stronger so he can finish through contact.
And he’s at his best when he can get into the lane going left, then find the roll man cutting to the hoop, and he’s got excellent timing, knowing right when to slip the pocket pass to the big man cutting.
Another exciting development is the chemistry that seems to be evolving between Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle – they’re already starting to look for each other and you can see that court awareness between them. This is one of the keys to their success and if Russell can get involved, they’ve got a very bright future ahead of them.
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