Moving from defense to offense, the Charlotte Hounds take their first step faster than Ramsay Bolton’s hounds after a week without a meal. Transition is where the Hounds thrive, scoring a league-high 24.3 points per 45 fast break possessions. Ryan Brown’s role at the point of those fast break formations has been huge.
The second-year sharp-shooter out of Johns Hopkins has buried a league-high 15 fast break goals on 48.4% shooting. Brown’s teammates demand a slide. Face-off specialist Brendan Fowler is shooting 64.3% on fast breaks; long-stick midfielder Michael Ehrhardt is burying 36.4% of his two-point shots. Let them run through the middle of the field, and they’ll surely score. But if you slide to them, then Brown will burn you. Pick your poison.
In the six-on-six, defending Brown is not any easier. His two-handedness makes him a threat from either wing. Regardless of where his feet are on the field, his stick is toward the middle, seeing as many square inches of net as possible.
The wings are where Brown shoots best, mostly because those are the only areas that defenses will allow him to have any breathing room.
When you watch the shots that Brown takes from the middle of the field, you start to see why his shooting percentage dips even though his angle is increased. Defenders stay in his gloves with no intentions of sliding when he’s in a high percentage spot on the field.
Charlotte’s offense is predicated upon attacking short-sticks and engineering stepdown shots for Brown. But when teams stick by Brown’s side, other Charlotte shooters need to exploit the lack of help defense; this season, that hasn’t happened.
As a team, the Hounds are shooting 24.2% off the dodge (7th in MLL). Joey Sankey (14.3% off the dodge), Mike Chanenchuk (18.4%) and Matt Rambo (21.1%) haven’t been winning their matchups frequently enough.
It’s no surprise that the Hounds go as Brown goes. Charlotte is 1-3 when Brown attempts less than six catch-and-shoot shots. They have scored 1.24 more points per 45 possessions in games when Brown attempts more than six catch-and-shoot shots. He might touch the ball less often than anyone on the team, but he’s the heart of this offense.