For this week’s Savvy/Shabby we are going to just look at decisions made by the players on the court. First, we are going to look at Wilson Chandler and his great read of the defense, allowing him to cut back door for the big dunk and a foul. Next, we are going to look at the Minnesota Timberwolves and their involvement in the shabbiest play of the year.

Wilson Chandler’s Backdoor Cut

Working off of a baseline out of bounds situation, Nene got the ball on the top of the key. On the penetration, Wilson Chandler was able to read the situation and get an easy dunk.


Nene makes the catch on the elbow with Wilson Chandler standing on the weakside corner. After holding onto the basketball for a bit, Nene attacks the rim.


Wilson Chandler’s man, Thabo Sefolosha, takes his eyes off of him and focuses on Nene. Instead of spotting up in the corner, Chandler cuts right off of Sefolosha’s back.


Nene does a great job of finding Chandler, who gets the dunk and gets fouled for the And-1.  Here is the play in real time:

This is just a fantastic read by Wilson Chandler, and it is also an example of the Nuggets’ new philosophy on offense — ball/player movement. Who knows if a play like this happens if Carmelo Anthony is still a Nugget?

The Entire Timberwolves Team Falls Asleep

You probably have seen this play before and already know what I am talking about. However, this play is so bad that I had to feature it here. In a 14-point game, LeBron James makes the catch, attacks the rim, and gets the basket plus the foul. He goes to the line for one free throw, and when he misses all of the fun happens:

The shot goes up, comes off of the rim, and everybody just stops. The ball is live, and nobody on either team moves. LeBron James seems to be the only one who understands that the ball is live and he flashes to the rim, steals the basketball from Chris Bosh, and finishes with the uncontested dunk. Amazing.

I ref 10-15 year old kids in a local basketball league and this is the type of plays that the bad players in the league make. So how do professionals make it? Simply not understanding the situation.

The Timberwolves strategy for the missed free throw was to “pinch” Joel Anthony and use a player from the outside to box out LeBron. The only person who moves on the Timberwolves is Wayne Ellington. Ellington comes from the three point line and gets in front of LeBron. However, when he sees nobody else on his team moving, he thinks that there must be two free throws.  In fact, the three Timberwolves on the line are convincing enough with their lack of movement that they even fool Chris Bosh, who gets caught holding onto the basketball instead of going up for the rebound. This is the worst play of the year.

During an NBA game, there are situations where players have to make decisions on their own without the help of a coaching staff. We saw a great example of a player making a good decision with Wilson Chandler’s backdoor cut, and we also saw players lose their mind on the free throw line. Decision making/basketball IQ is important.

Until next time.