A Jose/Andre Pick and Roll Preview


February 3, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (1) reacts after the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at The Palace. Lakers won 98-97. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Jose Calderon-Andre Drummond pick and roll is something I’ve been wanting to watch for quite a long time (provided you consider almost two months is a long time). And now that Andre Drummond has returned from his back injury, it’s going to be (or at least should be) a staple of Detroit’s offense. Any time you pair a great shooter and passer with an athletic, agile big man, fun things are bound to happen.

It was just one game, but small sample size theater is fun. And whether there is movement preceding the pick and roll or just a simple dribble-the-ball-up-court-bring-a-screen type of play, having a great roll man Drummond (1.19 ppp, per synergy) rolling to the basket should be a great boost to the Pistons offense.

In the 17 minutes Jose Calderon and Andre Drummond were on the floor together on Friday night the Pistons posted an offensive efficiency of 94.8. Hmmm….could have been better, but again, it’s just one game. And there were a few decent to good looking pick and rolls between the two.

On this first play, Jose Calderon receives the ball in the left corner on a pass from Kyle Singler. After he passes, Drummond sets a screen for Singler who flashes through the lane. Rudy Gay gets caught up on Drummond’s screen so his man has to help off of him to prevent a layup for Singler. The play then turns into a side pick and roll for Calderon and Drummond. Because Valanciunas had to help, he is out of position to hedge on the pick and roll. Still, he does a solid job recovering, and Calderon has to throw a tough pass to Drummond, although he may have had Monroe in the lane. He fumbles the ball a bit, and the play ends in a turnover because they are the Pistons. If Drummond is able to cleanly catch the ball, he’s got good position on  smaller Amir Johnson.

This next play has a much more desirable result. After coming off a Kyle Singler screen, Calderon gets the ball on the right side of the court. As this action finishes, Drummond begins to run over to set a screen. Since Drummond ran so hard instead of lackadaisically trotting over, Valanciunas has no choice but to use a sag technique on Calderon because he’s once again out of position to hedge. With Kyle Lowry still recovering and Valanciunas sagging, there is ample space for Jose to make a routine pocket pass to a rolling Drummond. And Drummond being the athletic he is (not to mention a little help from a late rotation by Amir Johnson) is able to convert an acrobatic layup.

In this video, Detroit’s running the same action as they did in my first example. Calderon once again receives the ball in the corner, this time from Brandon Knight. Knight cuts through the lane, just as Singler did in the first one. It turns into a screen and roll for Calderon and Drummond. Valanciunas hedges, but Calderon this time is able to get around it and quickly deliver the ball to Greg Monroe standing at the free throw line. Amir Johnson rotates onto Drummond much better this time, but he rotates back to Monroe who is fairly open. Monroe already knows where the play is going to be before it happens. As soon as he catches the ball he makes a nice dish to Drummond for an easy dunk.

This last one’s a fun one. It’s just a simple high screen and roll. Drummond comes and sets the screen, rolls, and is met by nobody. A nice alley-oop  later and the Pistons have two points. I’m not sure who was supposed to be making the rotation on this play because, well I’m not the Raptors coaching staff, but it looks like Rudy Gay surely could have interrupted his path to the hoop. Oh well. More points for Detroit — those are pretty hard to come by for them this season.

It’s been reported that Drummond won’t have any minute limitation for the res tof the season (you can decide whether that’s a good thing or not), so there should be plenty of pick and roll opportunities for the combination I have now named  Josandre. Only nine more games remain for this version of the Pistons, so the duo might not have a long lived partnership with Calderon’s contract expiring. But for the sake of the new phrase I yell and the Pistons, I sincerely hopefully they do.