Thoughts on Sixers – Rockets: Closer Look at Landry, Note on Iverson

2009 December 12
by rahat huq

My plan heading into this game was to chart every offensive possession featuring Carl Landry.  I have listed the sequences below:


  • 4:11 – board and lay-in in traffic
  • 2:58 – faceup jumper on the left wing – miss
  • 2:25 – board and left handed baby hook under basket
  • 1:56 – catches pass inside under hoop and draws foul


  • 7:11 – catches in post and turns to face up, spin and hook shot near basket against Dalembert – misses it short
  • 6:28 – posts up Brand on the right block and goes toward middle fading away and gets fouled
  • 2:45 – posts up on the right block and goes to the middle – offensive foul
  • 1:11 – offensive board and putback off glass


  • 2:46 – catches it in the paint off the pass and goes up for the ‘and 1′.
  • 2:17 – faces up on the left block, drives in close, and misses two handed layup off the glass against Young


  • 9:12  – dribbles right, crosses left, and kicks it out of bounds – note: the drive seemed extremely slow
  • 8:44 – jumper from the right block – miss
  • 6:17 – catches inside off the pass and gets fouled
  • 4:38 – jumpshot from 1 foot off the catch – miss
  • 2:36 – catches on left block, faces up, hesitates left, and goes right, getting fouled – note: this is Carl’s signature move
  • 2:01 – catches off the pass and gets fouled

As one can see, the vast majority of Landry’s baskets either came through cuts to the basket or putbacks.  The data above did not support my pre-existing thesis nor did it work to disprove it.  My assertion has been that Carl Landry’s achilles heel is ’shooting over the top.’  As evidenced above, he rarely posted up in this game so we don’t have any relevant sequences through which to proceed.

To elaborate, my contention is with some of the recent projections predicting stardom for Landry on the basis of his production thus far.  From an on-court observational perspective, I simply don’t see him having the necessary tools.  He can only go around his defender, but not over or through.  As a power forward, this makes things difficult.

It should be obvious that he is unable to back his man down.  However, in addition, one will note that he almost always comes up short when posting up and shooting the fadeaway.  He is thus far shooting 60% on close shots (not including dunks).  This comes on the strength of an absolutely lethal spin move as seen with 2:36 remaining in the game.  Make no mistake, the driving spin is Carl Landry’s signature move.  While this move, in addition to his jump shooting ability, make him an absolutely lethal option for any team, I simply think that his inability to reliably score over taller defenders must preclude any discussion of star potential.  However, as today’s data did not display anything of relevance, we will have to suspend this inquiry for the time being.

One final note for tonight’s game involves the match-up of Aaron Brooks and Allen Iverson.  One must wonder the feeling for a guy like Brooks matching up with the idol of his childhood generation.  Iverson’s relationship to the generation of young guards in today’s league in my opinion goes so much deeper than that of anyone who worshipped Mike to Mike or any other student-mentor pair that may come to mind.  This isn’t due to some superiority of Iverson.  It’s simply because he was a direct socio-cultural phenomenon.  Mike’s draw was ‘greatness’ and pizazz but he was to be worshipped and watched from afar.  It wasn’t possible for society to emulate him.  Iverson represented the spawning of a heresy that changed the way basketball was played into the present day.  The wide crossover dribble stands as one of the greatest social symbols in modern sports history.  Simply put, Allen Iverson was more brand than idol.  For Aaron Brooks, this must have been the realization that he had almost become what had already seemed so accessible.  No one could be Mike, but in some ways it was always possible to become Allen Iverson.

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4 Responses leave one →
  1. luislandry permalink
    December 12, 2009

    On the plus side, he’s very young and is working with a great staff. This could be something that he adds to his game. Or, he may just be more of a face-up power forward like Malone. Not comparing his abilities to Malone’s, just the types of things he can do. Considering how much his FT shooting has improved, it’s not unreasonable to think he can have tremendous success with excellent jump-shooting or driving to the basket/spinning into the lane to pick up fouls or easy (for him) finishes. I’m also unsure that he has star potential, but if the Pistons won a championship in 2004, I’m a very firm believer that he’s good enough to be a primary offensive option on a championship team. And he’s getting better.  


  2. pentajigga permalink
    December 12, 2009

    first of all congrats on the blog & true hoop. what a great start!

    i’d be a bit cautious in trying to use carl’s set of moves as his criteria for potential stardom. For arguments sake, let’s say stardom is the ability to be a featured player on the floor for large portions of the game, while playing against teams best line-ups. Carl has been scoring in the 4th quarters of close games while teams are defending him with their starting line-ups. To me that indicates that he has a nose for scoring, like DeJuan Blair has a nose for rebounding — Carl can get the ball in the hole.

    I think you make a good point that we don’t see Carl baking his man down. This reminds me of Morey talking a while ago (last year?) about how they were hoping Carl could play the 3, if he could learn to defend 3s. With a 3 guarding him, he’d have a much better chance of back a smaller defender down. As long as he’s producing 14-22 pts a game off the bench (including the 4th quarter) I’d think you have to say that he’s executing as a budding star due to his efficiency.  


  3. NobodyisBetterthanJordan permalink
    December 12, 2009

    Landry is my favorite Rockets player right now.
    IMO, a lot of it has to do with his ability to play fierce and unrelenting with a smile on his face. He has fun while he’s out there, and continues to show just as much excitement when his teammates are doing well. His stats are enough to elicit praise and admiration, but his positive attitude on the court reveals a purity to his game that is impossible for any true Rockets fan to resist.  


  4. luislandry permalink
    December 13, 2009

    i agree with NIBTJ…the Rockets know how to separate fierce competition from unsportsmanlike conduct and anger.

    Also, I meant to comment on your other point…that’s really good insight into Allen, and I’m sure you’re right that a guy like AB might never have tried to make it if not for that example.

    great blog!  


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