One of my favorite college basketball blogs is a site called The Mikan Drill, a site that looks at the Xs and Os of the college game. Something that they have been over there since the season has ended was Season Leftovers, looking at some great sets over the course of the college season. An idea so good, that I decided to bring it over here during the NBA offseason.
Continuing the Season Leftovers’ rotation, we are going to be once again looking at some great after timeout sets. As I mentioned in part 1, I really feel that after timeout sets that get drawn up or called by the coaching staff really show you how good of a Xs and Os coach you are. It’s one play, and whether you drew it up on the fly or called it out, it takes smarts to get the correct play run and have it work.
Boston Gets Jeff Green Open In The Paint
Doc Rivers is probably one of my favorite after-timeout playcallers in the NBA. Sure, he has great talent to work with, but he knows how to put that talent in the right situation just about every single time. This set is a perfect example of Rivers using his personnel correctly to get a wide open lay-up:
This set starts with a dribble hand-off to Ray Allen, who dribbles the ball out and quickly returns it to Delonte West. After passing it back to West, Ray Allen cuts off of Jermaine O’Neal and heads into the paint.
After cutting through the paint, Allen gets in position to set a screen for Jeff Green. Allen isn’t the only one though, over the top, Glen Davis and O’Neal are getting in position to set a staggered screen off of the basketball. Green is now presented with two options, use Allen’s screen or use the staggered screen. Jeff Green isn’t the one making this decision though, his defender is. Marvin Williams gets over top of Green, in an effort to keep Green from using the staggered screen. Green complies and uses Ray Allen’s screen.
The beauty of having Ray Allen as a screener is that his defender will never hedge off of him, especially if you have Allen coming through one of those pinch type of screens after setting his screen. That happens here, and when it does, Allen’s man (Kirk Hinrich) swings an arm at Jeff Green, then returns to Allen trailing him on the play.
Marvin Williams gets caught on Allen’s screen and with Hinrich not helping, he is able to get open underneath the basket. Delonte West hits him with the pass, and Green is able to finish easily.
Here is the play in real time:
There are a number of factors that make this a pretty incredible play. First, you have Jeff Green getting two screens and letting him read the defense. That automatically puts the defender in a pretty bad position. Second, you not only have Ray Allen setting a screen, but you have him coming off of a screen after setting a screen. All that means that his defender isn’t going to help off of him, and the result is a wide open lay-up for Jeff Green. Now, if Allen’s man does leave him, Ray Allen is going to be wide open behind the three point line, at that point, Boston already won.
San Antonio Gets An Open Corner Three
All last season, the Spurs were determined to get wide open three point shots out of the corner. One of the ways they were able to do that was playing off of the pick and roll. Coach Gregg Popovich was able to take that philosophy and apply it to a post-timeout play.
The play starts with George Hill bringing the basketball up and kicking it to Richard Jefferson who brings it to the top of the key. As that happens, Hill cuts across the foul line getting a screen from Matt Bonner.
Hill gets the basketball back and the Spurs run a pick and roll with Bonner and Hill. The reason why the Spurs liked to use the pick and roll to set up the corner three is because the pick and roll tends to grab the attention of all 5 defenders on the court. Here, Luis Scola and Kevin Martin, who are both supposed to have an eye on the ball and an eye on the man have their head turned to the basketball. This prevents them from seeing Antonio McDyess coming over and setting a backscreen for Gary Neal.
Neal makes the catch as Kevin Martin is running at him, due to the screen, Martin is farther away from Neal than he would like and and he needs to close out hard. This allows Neal to throw a pump fake and Martin bites on it.
After resetting his feet, Neal pulls up and knocks down the wide open three point shot. Here is the play in real time:
Just great execution by the Spurs. The discipline here by George Hill is probably the most impressive. He could have had a floater or maybe a pull up jumper, but he knows that the Spurs are trying to get corner threes, and he keeps his head up waiting for Gary Neal to get open, which happens.