Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scores 1.11 points per possession on isolation attempts.
Admittedly, this is supreme small-sample size theatre, as isolations only account for 5.0% of SGA’s total possessions. It’s still clear that the LA rookie has an understanding of how to manipulate defenders to get to his favored spot at elbow, or really anywhere in the midrange, where he can finish effectively with his length. For comparison, Gilgeous-Alexander has been as effective (he ranks in the 93rd percentile) in isolations as James Harden, who isolates for a whopping 49.2 percent of his possessions.
On the whole, the Clippers don’t like to isolate — as Doc Rivers points out often, they’re not the type of team that can overwhelm opponents with singular offensive talent. Their offense succeeds as more than the sum of its individual parts. However, isolations can be a helpful fallback option. Danilo Gallinari has been involved in isos more any other LA player for 14.1 of his possessions, and he averages 0.93 points per possession on those plays, placing him in the 65th percentile.
Tyrone Wallace loves getting out in transition.
Almost 30 percent of Wallace’s possessions come in transition, which ranks him 9th among all NBA players. Unfortunately, due to his struggles finishing, Wallace only scores on 41 percent of his transition opportunities. The most effective Clippers in transition have been the ones who can spot up for jumpers, like Gallinari and Landry Shamet, and Mike Scott before he was traded. Shamet showed his ability to score on the break in his first game against the Celtics, and has continued that streak over the past month.
The Clippers don’t run much other than when Wallace pushes the pace. No other player on the team finishes even in the top half of the league in transition frequency. Lou Williams technically has the most fast-break plays for LA, but he handles the ball more than other player, so his percentage is still relatively low.
Lou Williams ranks in the 82nd percentile of pick-and-roll ball handlers.
Williams doesn’t get out on the break because he gets his work done in the pick-and-roll. The Clippers sixth man runs 10.8 pick-and-rolls per game, tied for third in the league with D’Angelo Russell behind Kemba Walker and Donovan Mitchell. Those plays generate 0.97 points per possession for LA, which puts Williams comfortably ahead of players like James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, and Chris Paul. Williams runs the pick-and-roll on 53.4 percent of his possessions, so not only is he one of the most effective practitioners in the NBA, he does this at an incredible volume.
The Clippers as a whole like running lots of pick-and-rolls, and Rivers is excellent at scheming these plays so that the team has several scoring options. Tobias Harris (0.99 PPP) was very comfortable in the pick-and-roll for LA before he was traded, and Gallinari’s efficiency ranks in the 95th percentile of ball handlers, though these types of plays only account for 12.1% of his possessions.
Montrezl Harrell is the third-most efficient roll man in the league.
If the Clippers are running all these pick-and-rolls, someone has to finish them, and almost no one has been better than Montrezl Harrell. Among players who have played at least 10 games and roll at least twice a game, only Kenneth Faried (1.37 PPP in Houston) and DeAndre Jordan (1.35 PPP in Dallas) have been more effective as a roll man than Harrell, whose rolls to the basket create 1.34 points per possession. That’s an insane offensive figure. Harrell shoots 70.3% on these plays and draws fouls 20.6% of the time, making him an impossible cover, particularly considering that Williams is on the other end of the play.
Hope you enjoyed! Next time, we’ll dive into the Clippers’ defense.