The Nuggets were a terrible pick-and-roll team last year

The Nuggets’ point guards in particular must improve on pick-and-roll plays this year.

Point guard Emmanuel Mudiay at the Denver Nuggets press day, Sept. 26, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)pepsi center; nuggets; basketball; sports; kevinjbeaty; denver; colorado; denverite;
Point guard Emmanuel Mudiay at the Denver Nuggets press day, Sept. 26, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) pepsi center; nuggets; basketball; sports; kevinjbeaty; denver; colorado; denverite;
Emmanuel Mudiay struggled in pick-and-roll situations last season. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Over at NBA.com, John Schuhmann is doing an advanced-statistics deep dive into each team’s 2015-16 season. On Thursday, he held last season’s Denver Nuggets under the microscope.

His article was chock-full of interesting Nuggets nuggets. (I’m sorry.) His primary takeaway? Denver was a terrible pick-and-roll team.

Here’s Schuhmann:

“According to SportVU, the Denver Nuggets had the lowest usage rate on ball screens last season. This means that, when they ran a pick-and-roll, the Nuggets were least likely to get a shot, turnover or drawn foul from the ball-handler or screener.”

Why? The team’s point guards, mostly.

Emmanuel Mudiay and Jameer Nelson were poor off-the-dribble shooters, hitting 32.6 percent and 35.8 percent of such shots.

Neither player was efficient when they got to the rim either.

Nelson tended to forego shots at the rim in favor of trying to pass to guys on the perimeter. Mudiay was much more willing to shoot when he got near the rim, but he had the worst field-goal percentage among the 44 players who attempted at least 200 shots on drives to the hoop.

Denver’s point guards must do better this year in pick-and-roll situations. Having a healthy, motivated Jusuf Nurkic back to set screens should help. So should another year of experience for Mudiay, who’s still only 20 years old and playing basketball’s most difficult position.

Denver closes out the preseason against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday at the Pepsi Center.

Christian Clark

Author: Christian Clark

Christian Clark covers sports. He's worked for outlets that include the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Oklahoman, Columbia Missourian and Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine. He likes music and Mexican food. Lots and lots of Mexican food.