Josh Robbins reported yesterday that Vince Carter will now be Orlando&rsqu..."/>

Josh Robbins reported yesterday that Vince Carter will now be Orlando&rsqu..."/>

Josh Robbins reported yesterday that Vince Carter will now be Orlando&rsqu..."/>

Vince Carter Will Be Orlando’s Go-To Guy


Josh Robbins reported yesterday that Vince Carter will now be Orlando’s go-to-guy down the stretch. Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy had some other interesting things to say.

"One of the coaches asked Van Gundy this question, and Van Gundy indicated that he’ll run pick-and-rolls with Carter, like he did with Turkoglu. But Van Gundy also said he’ll run more isolations and post-ups because that plays to Carter’s strengths.“My guess going into the season is that at the end of the game, he’s the guy you go to most of the time because of his ability to create a shot either for himself or for the team,” Van Gundy said."

This was expected. Van Gundy is just confirming what most of us already thought to be true. I can’t wait to see Vince Carter run the pick-and-roll with Dwight Howard. That combination is going to be deadly. The Magic were probably the most effective pick-and-roll team in the NBA last season even though they missing their Point Guard Jameer Nelson for a large chunk of the regular season and almost the entire post-season. After Nelson went down, the pick-and-roll was usually run by Hedo Turkoglu and Dwight Howard. Dwight Howard’s strength, size and athleticism make him the perfect player to run the pick and roll with which probably explains why Stan Van Gundy runs this play so often. Having a good, solid perimeter player like Turkoglu made the pick-and-roll easy for the Magic. Having a dominating perimeter player like Vince Carter should make it even easier.

The pick-and-roll is Orlando’s go-to play down the stretch. It’s their bread and butter. This is obvious. Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus broke down just how often the pick and roll was run and how effective it was run during Orlando’s heartbreaking Game 2 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.

"Of the 29 real possessions Orlando got in that span (discounting the final possession of regulation and a couple that came after the Lakers had taken a six-point lead late in the extra session), 20 of them included pick-and-rolls, including a few times when the Magic used on-ball picks twice in the same possession.Overall, these possessions were slightly more efficient for Orlando, which scored 22 points on 20 possessions (a 110.0 Offensive Rating) as opposed to seven points in nine possessions without pick-and-rolls (77.7). In part, then, we have to credit the Lakers with playing good defense regardless of what the Magic called. Pau Gasol’s defense on Dwight Howard in the post especially stood out, as Gasol forced multiple turnovers when Orlando went directly to Howard down low."

The Magic are a very good offensive team when they run the pick-and-roll. Granted Dwight Howard is not a very good ball handler and struggled with turnovers throughout the series against the Lakers, hindering the offense a bit when the team was not running the pick-and-roll because of the way he was defended – the world champions did an excellent job. Gasol and his fellow big men defended Howard very wel, often double teaming the big man and forcing him to get rid of the ball, which many times lead to turnovers. With Howard’s commitment to improvement and the new additions to the team, that shouldn’t be as much of a problem this season.  Trevor Ariza, an excellent defender and former member of the Magic, gave his former team a lot of trouble as well. He was seemingly the only thing that could slow Orlando’s pick game.

Orlando’s pick and roll has another dimension because of the multiple abilities that Forward Rashard Lewis possesses. He usually can pop out for an open three when the pick-and-roll is run after starting off in the paint when Dwight sets his pick. This is one of the reason that Lewis gets so many open looks from downtown.

Vince Carter should be an even better playmaker than Turkoglu because he is a more skilled all-around player. Carter’s ability to create for others is one reason that he will thrive in the pick game, but his ability to create his own shot is why Van Gundy is going to add more isolations to the offense and is probably what will happen when Orlando needs a big shot down the stretch in games. Vince Carter has proven himself as an extremely clutch shooter. Here are Vince Carter’s Top 10 game winners.

Adding more post-up plays will help Carter get more shots because he is pretty solid when he backs down opposing Guards, but it will also help him draw more double teams so that he can get the ball out to the Magic’s many three-point shooters. The post-up game won’t just help Carter. Newly acquired Power Forward Brandon Bass should be effective with the post-up game, as should Marcin Gortat with his newly found offensive game (as I discussed yesterday), Rashard Lewis because of the mismatches that he creates and of course big man Dwight Howard. The post-up game creates so many opportunities for Orlando’s many shooters and if Dwight Howard can become a stronger passer and ball handler, the Magic could wind up having the most effective offense in the entire NBA.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger. Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)