It was finally this week that Roanne broke a five-game losing streak in the Euroleague, and the guy pulling the strings for that to happen was no other than Marc-Antoine Pellin
, whose impact on the game goes beyond that 5-7 body he showcases at the top European competition. Guys of his size are not supposed to play high-competition basketball, but Pellin is a real engine that runs the show for his team. He had only 7 points, but also a whopping 13 assists that set the pace for his team to route Lottomatica Roma. He continued the exhibition in the French League, paving the way for the victory against Vichy, with 13 points, 7 assists and
8 rebounds! Not bad for a 5-7 guy.
Lets see first what Jonathan Givony, who had the chance to catch some action from last weeks Euroleague game, has to say about Pellins performance.Roanne just went nuts pushing the ball and scoring in transition. This is a team that wants to play free and open basketball and keep the tempo high in order to make up for their lack of talent at the Euroleague level, and Pellin was the key to that in this game. He was just too quick for anyone to stay in front of, and he did a great job making decisions and staying under control despite the speed of which the game was played at. He's also really strong, so when he decided to put pressure on the defense by putting the ball on the floor in the half-court, he was able to draw a decent amount of fouls. Defensively, he can sometimes look like an absolute pest. This doesn't turn him into a great draft prospect by any stretch (I didn't get to see him shooting at all) since he's even shorter than I am, but you have to give him a lot of credit for helping his team absolutely destroy a pretty good team from Rome that is currently in 2nd place in the Italian league, and just finished mopping the floor with Fortitudo Bologna only a few days before.
Pellin fills the bill very well when it comes to what an orthodox playmaker is suppose to do on a basketball court. He distributes the ball, involves his teammates in the game, pushes the tempo when necessary, stays under control, and takes shots only when theres a fair opportunity for him to score. Of course there are drawbacks, but in European basketball, thats a damn good start for a young playmaker to have a chance to hit the court.
Although pretty athletic, Pellin is not freakish in this department. Besides, hes not a guy who heavily relies on his quickness to play his game, hes not a ball-hog who tries to outrun everybody else, but a player that shares the ball any time he has the chance, and actively helps the fluidity of the offensive flow. Its not the most usual thing to see him attacking his opponent in pure one-on-one settings, but he often tries to take advantage of screens to split defenses. Hes really effective dishing the ball off the dribble, either in pick-and-roll plays or just as he penetrates and punishes a defensive rotation with the pass.
Actually, Pellin is a pass-first playmaker, especially because hes aware of his physical shortcomings and the subsequent limitations he suffers in order to finish again any kind of opposition. In the end, many of his points come in fastbreaks generated after steals, fully open layups or perimeter jumpers. Hes a solid shooter with three-point range and off-the-dribble ability, but he needs a lot of space to be effective.
Pretty quick on his feet, Pellin is capable of putting nice pressure on the ball, but hes not always equally intensive and aggressive. In line with what his team Roanne shows as a whole, theres often not much emphasis on the defensive end. Being so small, its pretty easy for him to come up with steals attacking his opponents dribble, especially in defensive rotations. On the other hand, he struggles mightily contesting shots or in any kind of post play, while his presence provides some relief to the opponents passing lanes.
Probably not a serious draft prospect, still born in 1987, Pellin could make a very nice living in Europe. In an age where size is becoming a trend at the point guard position (Papaloukas and Diamantidis rule in the Euroleague, while Rubio and Teodosic are the most promising youngsters), he certainly has things to offer despite his lack of size.