Sebastian Pruiti

sebastian pruiti

Sebastian Pruiti is the founder and editor of NBAPlaybook.com, a blog started in 2010 that takes a look at the Xs and Os of the NBA. He will be contributing weekly to The Basketball Jones with his Savvy/Shabby series that looks at the best and worst plays, coaching decisions, and player decisions in the NBA.

Recent Posts

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.

After taking a break to look at some of the best and worst plays of EuroBasket, we are back to looking at some of last season’s best plays. Today we’ll be tackling after timeout plays, where you see some of the most creative Xs and Os plays in a game. This is our third installation, check here for parts one and two.

Portland Frees Up Rudy Fernandez for a Three

Coming out of a timeout, Portland found themselves up by 11 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves early in the second quarter. Looking to put the game out of reach quickly and take the Timberwolves out of it, the Blazers ran a quick hitting play designed to get Rudy Fernandez a wide-open three-point shot.

The ball comes in from the sideline, with Nicolas Batum inbounding the ball to Patty Mills. After making the inbounds pass, Batum goes to the rim, positioning himself in the paint. He continues, flashing up to the top of the key after going between Rudy Fernandez and LaMarcus Aldridge, who are setting screens for him.

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After two rounds of group play, eight teams advanced to the single elimination quarterfinals, where teams had to win two games to guarantee a spot in the Olympics (which is what Spain and France did) and three games to win the entire competition (which is what Spain did). With so much at stake, every play — both good and bad — gets amplified. Like the first and second round, we are going to be looking at those plays.

A Quick Hitter to Close Out Navarro’s Amazing Quarter

Maybe Spain’s toughest game in the elimination rounds was their matchup with Macedonia. Macedonia, powered by Bo McCalebb, actually found themselves winning at halftime and only down six in the third quarter with about 50 seconds left. After a quarter that saw Juan Carlos Navarro go crazy, Spain knew they had to get the basketball back in his hands, so they ran a very deceptive quick hitter for him.

With the way that Spain is setting up as Ricky Rubio brings the basketball down the court, it looks like they are going to be running a simple staggered screen off of the ball for Navarro as Rubio comes off of a ball screen.

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The elimination round of EuroBasket 2011, an international competition pitting 24 European countries against each other with the top two teams qualifying for the Olympics, started started today. With real live basketball action featuring a number of NBA players taking place, I thought now would be the perfect time to a break from looking at the NBA’s season leftovers and look at some of the best and worst plays of EuroBasket’s second round. To check out last week’s post on the first round, click here.

Off-ball Movement Sets Up Lithuania’s Pick-and-Rolls

We already know that Lithuania loves their pick-and-rolls, as they ran it 30+ times in at least two of their games in this year’s EuroBasket tournament. Fighting for seeding, Lithuania needed a win, and late in the game they found themselves trying to pull away from Germany. To do that, they used the pick-and-roll. However, it was some movement away from that action that freed up Jonas Valanciunas for his two big dunks on the roll to the rim:

We pick up this possession as Jonas Valanciunas gets in position to set a ball screen for his teammate. Valanciunas’ defender, Chris Kaman, is going to step up and hedge on the screen, relying on his teammate’s help defense in the corner to try and stop Valanciunas as he rolls to the rim.

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EuroBasket 2011, an international competition pitting 24 European countries against each other with the top two teams qualifying for the Olympics, started on September 1st. The second round started today. With real live basketball action featuring a number of NBA players taking place, I thought now would be the perfect time to a break from looking at the NBA’s season leftovers and look at some of the best and worst plays of EuroBasket’s first round.

France Rotates and Gets a Stop

On the final day of round 1, Serbia and France played each other to determine the winner of their group. In the middle of the fourth quarter, France found themselves up one point, looking to get a stop on the defensive end. Serbia went with a pick and roll, however good rotation from France forced Serbia into a tough shot.

We pick up this possession with Nenad Krstic setting a ball screen for Milos Teodosic. France is going to defend this ball screen by hedging hard with Kevin Seraphin and having the man defending the ball handler go over the top of the screen. That isn’t the only rotation that needs to be made, however. On the weakside, Mickael Gelabale, who is defending a Serbian in the corner, dives to the middle of the paint to defend the roll man.

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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.

We are now entering the third round of posts looking at my favorite sets from this past season, so we are back at the beginning, looking at two more baseline out of bounds sets (click for part 1 and part 2).

Lakers Get a Baseline Bucket

On this particular set, the Lakers were able to use both of their bigs to get an open look along the baseline.

LA1

As soon as the trigger man (Matt Barnes) gets the basketball, Shannon Brown comes off of a double screen set by both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.

LA2

After running off of Bynum’s screen, Brown heads towards the corner, taking his man with him. After setting his screen for Brown, Bynum comes over and sets another screen, this time for Pau Gasol.

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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 doing 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.

As I mentioned in the introduction to part one, defensive strategy late in games is just as important as offensive strategy. That being said, it is something that is often overlooked. When a late game possession doesn’t result in a score, everyone is usually looking at why the offense didn’t score. Sometimes, it is just as simple as there was really good defense being played.

Suns Get the Stop They Need with Smart Rotations

Playing the Suns on the road and trailing by two points, the Jazz came out of a timeout looking to at least tie the game. What coach Tyrone Corbin came up with was a pretty solid quick hitter (with just seven seconds left, it needed to be quick-hitting), and at first, it looked like it was going to result in a wide open layup or dunk.

However, a great heads-up play and rotation by the Suns’ two weakside defenders prevented the Jazz from getting the game-tying basket and helped secure the win.

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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 doing 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.

Despite being put in a position to win a game with a playcall just a few times a season, a lot of coaches get their reputation as a Xs and Os guy from how they perform late with the game on the line. If you run a solid set and get the basket, you are a genius. If you isolate your best player and he misses, or worse, you don’t get a shot off, you’re a fool. That’s a lot of pressure on one play.

Spurs Get Ginobili in Space to Win the Game

During their wild game against the Denver Nuggets, the Spurs found themselves trailing by one point with 7.1 seconds left. Here, Gregg Popovich used a little misdirection to get the ball to one of his best players in space, allowing him to create.

The first thing you need to notice about this play is that George Hill is standing at half court. He probably won’t get the basketball, but there is enough time on the clock (7.1 seconds) where he is at least a threat, and this forces the defense to keep someone on him, even though he won’t get the basketball. As the ball goes to the trigger man, Tim Duncan, Richard Jefferson turns around and sets a screen for Manu Ginobili who uses the screen and flashes towards the basketball.

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