Film Study: Connor Kelly inverts

By Joe Keegan

PLL Analyst

Jun 22, 2022

The Waterdogs scored a league-low 2.1 goals per game off initiations from X in ’21. Only Chaos (7.0 shots per game initiated at X) attempted fewer shots than the ‘Dogs (7.2).

They’ve generated 3.3 goals per game and 9 shots per game from X so far in ’22. Part of it is Michael Sowers’ return to the lineup – but even without Sowers in Week 3, Connor Kelly inverted to give the Waterdogs a presence behind the cage.

Kelly is a heads-up dodger. His assist totals have always understated his vision. From ’18-’21, teammates shot 27.3% (24-for-88) off feeds from Kelly. This year they’ve finished 4-for-6 (66.7%).

Single inverts lead to dunks when defenses leave the mirror. Passing to other options on the perimeter is high-level stuff. Kelly sees Mike Manley slough in too far from the weakside and threads the needle to Ethan Walker.

Chrome is slower to slide than most defenses. They’ll fake slides to make you cough up the ball. That looks like what JT Giles-Harris is doing here. Kelly knows he won’t commit, but that quick “show” is enough of a window for him to squeeze a lever pass in to Kieran McArdle.

Even when Sowers returns, Kelly should invert a few times per game. Rob Pannell picks or plays above GLE when Jules Heningburg inverts. Ditto for Matt Rambo with Brad Smith. Too many defenses are comfortable leaving their top defender on an island. Sowers won’t break down Giles-Harris or Matt Dunn consistently. An invert option like Kelly is extremely valuable in September when every goal is earned.

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