Carl Landry’s Return

It was bittersweet last night seeing Carl Landry in a Kings jersey.  While the memories of his time with the Houston Rockets are still fresh in my mind, I stopped to marvel at just how far he has come in his career, starting as a little-known second round pick and now being featured as the primary frontcourt threat on an impressive up-and-coming Kings team.

My favorite theme from last night’s contest was the dynamic between friends, a story familiar to every one of us.  We all have that acquaintance regarding whom we boldly proclaim that we “know every one of his moves” prior to engaging in battle.  This was captured yesterday in the matchup between Carl Landry and Chuck Hayes.  The subplot was intriguing because, after starting his rookie season buried on the bench as an after-thought, Landry actually pushed the incumbent starting Hayes completely out of the rotation later that same year (until the injury to Yao forced him into emergency duty.)

Carl finished the night with 22 points and 10 boards, going 7-13 from the field.  Rather than Scola, Hayes was the primary defender against Landry, the numbers giving off the impression that the mentor was taught a lesson by his former apprentice.

The tape tells a different tale.  I finally got around to pulling the trigger on some hardware which will allow me to capture the live video of the game onto my laptop.  This should really make it easier to explain the elements of each game which catch my attention.  I apologize for the very poor image quality in this first installment as I am still getting the hang of things.

What we find is that when matched up, Chuck was able to handle Landry fairly easily, anticipating each of his moves.  The sequences below are not intended to imply some flaw in Carl’s game; they are merely what was captured in a very unique relationship between the combatants.

In this first clip, we see Landry attempt to attack Hayes with his patented post-up-face-up move.  Hayes has seen this so many times in practice that as Carl brought the ball around, Chuck was able to anticipate and nearly swipe it away.  Carl falls to the floor.  Fascinating because I watched him routinely destroy All-NBA defenders with this move, going on to take one dribble to his right and spinning back to his left.

In our second clip, we see Chuck move his feet to cut Carl off from the baseline, steering him towards the help. One thing we noticed in the weeks prior to the trade was that Landry needs to improve upon recognizing the double team. While the Kings did score, Landry was forced into an awkward pass which could have easily led to a turnover.

In this next clip, we see Chuck anticipate the signature move again, reacting to cut off Landry’s right hand. He moves his feet and gets under the ball, but, as the replay shows, is wrongfully called for the foul.

Finally, we close with a clip that demonstrates that knowledge and familiarity do not suffice. Andersen shades Landry’s right hand, what Hayes would have done, knowing that he can only drive in that direction. However, because Andersen does not have anywhere near the lateral quickness possessed by Hayes, Landry easily blows past him for the dunk.

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