Weber State fans made the trek to Salt Lake to see former Wildcats star Damian Lillard play for the Portland Trail Blazers against the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena on Thursday night. Now they can see Lillard in Sports Illustrated’s NBA preview as well.
I don’t have a copy of this week’s S.I. edition yet, but a look at this picture posted on Twitter shows Lillard in a Weber State uniform, dribbling against BYU defenders.
Further research took me to the Inside Sports Illustrated blog, which teases Lee Jenkins’ (@SI_LeeJenkins) story like this, including a reference to Weber State coach Randy Rahe:
Lee Jenkins Investigates Why the Pick-and-Roll is the Surest Way into the NBA
The pick-and-roll has been a pillar of NBA offenses since Oscar Robertson and Lenny Wilkens were delivering pocket passes, but never has the set permeated playbooks as it does today. Powerhouses like James Harden, Derrick Rose and Chris Bosh may make it look simple, but Sports Illustrated’s “Data by Synergy Sports Technology” proves that a skilled pick artist has become a standby that teams are relying on more than ever before. Weber State coach, Randy Rahe is convinced that the pick is now invaluable to college basketball, “Pick-and-roll is such a big part of the NBA … so it only made sense to add more of it to our offense” (page 66).
The pick-and-roll is a dance, one big partner and one small, moving in a mosh pit and as a by-product of the point guard revolution, it has become a standby that teams are relying on more than ever. In Los Angeles, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard will be the celebrity marriage of the pick-and-roll world and Mike D’Antoni says, “I just don’t know if you can do better than that” (page 66).
And if you go back and zoom in on the pic posted on Twitter, you can see a reference to WSU assistant Phil Beckner as well. It will be interesting to get a look at the full story.