Film Study: Sowers-Brown razor pick-n-rolls

By Joe Keegan

PLL Analyst

Jun 28, 2022

“One of our strategies the last couple weeks has been trying to get Brownie the ball,” Waterdogs LC attackman Michael Sowers said postgame. “We just wanna get him the ball as much as possible.”

Against Chaos LC, they did. Ryan Brown attempted a season-high 10 shots against the notoriously slow-to-slide reigning champs. The Waterdogs’ 55.6% assist rate (i.e. the percentage of their shots that were assisted) against Chaos was the highest allowed by Andy Towers’ club all season by a wide margin. No other team has been able to unlock their off-ball players against Chaos like this in 2022.

One of the ways the Waterdogs got Brown free: Setting razor picks for Sowers.

Brown’s defender was hot for almost 48 minutes. The Waterdogs have always moved him around with that intention, forcing defenses to slide from their best shooter or to leave Mikie Schlosser and Connor Kelly running downhill against a helpless SSDM. What we hadn’t seen much of prior to Week 4 is Brown picking on or below GLE.

It’s rare to see Ryan Brown at X. His range is best utilized on the high wings. Since 2019 Brown has shot 18.6% from the low wings; he shoots 31.7% from the high wings, and even better once he moves inside the hash marks.

The Waterdogs ran this look in the first quarter and it produced a poor angle, low wing shot for Brown. When he and Sowers ran it back to open the second half, Brown popped higher to increase his angle and beat Blaze Riorden low-to-low.

Brown’s two-handedness makes him a picker on either side of the field. Other pickers tend to stay on their natural side. Brown moves everywhere. He barely gains a step on the roll here, but Kieran McArdle has enough trust to throw this pass into a tight window.

This razor pick for Sowers produced a switch – one of the few mismatches that could cause Chaos to consider sliding. Jack Rowlett directs traffic against the invert (it looks like he expects Jarrod Neumann to double-team Sowers, so he starts to fill). As Sowers dodges, his eyes are on Brown across the field.

“When you’re playing with a guy like Ryan Brown, it makes the reads pretty simple because, it’s like, find Brownie first. If he’s open, pass him the ball,” said Sowers. “If not, probably 2 or 3 guys are covering him in the process and then a lot of other guys are open on the field.”

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