Monday, 15 Jul 2024

Power Rankings Notebook: Luka Doncic’s 3-point attempts and Pelicans’ defense

Each week, we take a look at the latest happenings in the NBA to bring you the most comprehensive Power Rankings. This week, we delve into the intriguing storylines surrounding Luka Doncic’s 3-point shooting and the New Orleans Pelicans’ defense.

1. Pelicans Make a Change

In recent years, the Milwaukee Bucks have been notorious for allowing the most 3-pointers per game. However, this season, the New Orleans Pelicans have taken over that unwanted title. They currently allow a staggering 16.0 3-pointers per game, surpassing the league average by a significant margin. This defensive weakness has resulted in the Pelicans being outscored by a league-worst 12.5 points per game from beyond the arc. Despite Zion Williamson’s dominance in the paint, the Pelicans have struggled to make up for their 3-point deficit.

The Pelicans’ defensive strategy has undergone some changes in an attempt to rectify the issue. They have started dropping their bigs back on pick-and-rolls, which has already shown some improvement in their 3-point defense. However, they still have a long way to go to resolve their defensive struggles.

2. Fool Me Once…

Even the best defenses can sometimes fall victim to clever offensive plays. The Phoenix Suns successfully exploited the weaknesses of the Portland Trail Blazers’ defense by running a series of effective pick-and-roll plays. On consecutive possessions, the Suns managed to capitalize on the same play, resulting in easy layups. This highlights the pressure that skilled ball-handlers and well-executed offensive plays can put on any defense.

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Although the Suns suffered a recent loss to the Charlotte Hornets, they remain one of the top-ranked teams in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Their upcoming games against the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers will be crucial tests of their abilities.

3. Luka Off the Catch?

Luka Doncic’s 3-point shooting has been a topic of discussion throughout his career. While he is known for his exceptional off-the-dribble shooting, his catch-and-shoot abilities have been less impressive. Only 20% of his 3-point attempts have come off the catch, which is one of the lowest rates among players with significant 3-point attempt numbers. Surprisingly, he has actually been more accurate on pull-up 3s compared to catch-and-shoot 3s. This suggests that Doncic may benefit from more opportunities to shoot off the catch, as he has shown improvement in that area over time.

Doncic’s performance in clutch situations has also been noteworthy. Although his success rate has dipped in recent seasons, he has produced some memorable clutch moments, particularly with his step-back 3-pointers. Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks face tough matchups against the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets in their upcoming games.

4. Grizzlies’ Spain Variant

The Memphis Grizzlies recently showcased their own version of the “Spain” or “stack” pick-and-roll play. This variant involved setting screens inside the 3-point line rather than outside. The play proved effective in creating opportunities for Ja Morant to drive to the basket, with multiple options available for passes or finishes at the rim. This creative play highlights the Grizzlies’ willingness to experiment with different offensive schemes to gain an edge on their opponents.

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5. Usage Jumps

Several players have seen significant increases in their usage rates compared to last season. Among the notable names on the list is Jerami Grant, who has taken on a prominent role in the Detroit Pistons’ offense. It is interesting to see that JaMychal Green, who replaced Grant in the Denver Nuggets’ lineup, also experienced a jump in usage rate. Additionally, multiple Oklahoma City Thunder players have seen increased usage rates without sacrificing scoring efficiency. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kenrich Williams, and Mike Muscala have all improved their true shooting percentages while shouldering a greater offensive load.

On the other hand, James Harden has experienced a decrease in usage rate since joining the Brooklyn Nets. However, his increased assist ratio demonstrates his ability to contribute in other facets of the game.

Overall, these usage rate changes reflect how players have adapted to new roles and responsibilities within their respective teams.


Q: How many 3-pointers do the Pelicans allow per game on average?

A: The New Orleans Pelicans currently allow an average of 16.0 3-pointers per game, which is the highest in the league.

Q: Who is the leading scorer in the paint?

A: Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans is the leading scorer in the paint, averaging 19.0 points per game.

Q: What defensive adjustment did the Pelicans make to improve their 3-point defense?

A: The Pelicans started dropping their bigs back on pick-and-rolls to address their 3-point defensive struggles.

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Q: How has Luka Doncic performed on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers?

A: Luka Doncic has struggled with catch-and-shoot 3-pointers, shooting at a 32.5% accuracy rate.

Q: Which team has seen the biggest increase in usage rate this season?

A: The Detroit Pistons’ Jerami Grant has seen the biggest increase in usage rate this season, taking on a significant role in their offense.


In this week’s Power Rankings Notebook, we examine the New Orleans Pelicans’ defensive struggles in containing 3-pointers and Luka Doncic’s shooting performance off the catch. We also highlight the Phoenix Suns’ offensive success against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Memphis Grizzlies’ creative offensive play, and the notable changes in usage rates among various players. These storylines provide a comprehensive overview of the current trends and developments in the NBA landscape.

For more basketball action and updates, stay tuned to Don’t miss out on the thrilling matchups ahead and join us as we delve deeper into the world of basketball.