Jonathan Donville: Lyle’s new favorite picker

By Joe Keegan

PLL Analyst

Jul 28, 2022

Lyle Thompson shot 12-for-36 (33.3%) off pick-n-rolls in 2021. Entering the weekend, he had shot 1-for-10 (10.0%) in those scenarios in 2022.

Lyle misses his favorite picker: Paul Rabil. Rabil would re-pick and play true two-man games when defenses tried to switch – an outcome Lyle is indifferent toward.

“He doesn’t really care [about matchups],” Cannons LC offensive coordinator Sean Kirwan told me last summer. “He’d rather see that indecision.”

The Cannons have used Brendan Bomberry, Asher Nolting, Ryan Drenner, and Jake Froccaro in that role with little success this year. Finally, they may have found the right picker: second-round pick out of Maryland (and Cornell) Jonathan Donville.

No two Lyle dodges are the same. It’s tough for a defender to pick up on tendencies – and for a picker to get in that defender’s way. Donville understands Lyle’s preferences. He times this pick perfectly with Lyle’s change of direction – putting Tre Leclaire, in his first game in a SSDM role, on an island with Lyle.

Donville’s hands on the interior have already earned Lyle’s trust.

“He’s got a good stick. He’s gonna catch passes on the inside,” said Lyle. “I’m comfortable feeding the ball to him with a little bit of pressure.”

Donville was drafted 16th overall by Chaos LC. He was released to the player pool on June 21st -- and the Cannons wasted no time adding him.

The Oakville, Ontario native has proven to be the perfect complement to Lyle and Nolting on the righty wing. No team initiates from that area more than the Cannons. With Donville picking and mirroring Lyle and Asher's dodges, the ensuing ball movement has been beautiful.

After Donville produces a switch here, he buries the pole. The two-man game isn't over yet. Donville pops to the perimeter as the defense slides and threads a skip pass to Adam Charalambides. His vision and decision-making on the perimeter has been impressive.

This offense is at its best when it runs through that righty wing with Lyle (4G, 3A against Archers LC) as a pick-and-roll operator. The ball didn’t find him in the fourth quarter. Only one of his 12 shots came in the final frame – a common theme. Lyle only has two fourth quarter shots on the season. Keeping him involved for 48 minutes – with Donville as his new picker – is the key to the Cannons making a run at the postseason.

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