SB Nation (aka. The Mothership) has been putting out great content in time for the NBA Playoffs. (And also all year round, if my bosses read this.) Mike Prada broke down some of the important plays that you’re going to see this off-season:
Because sharing is caring, I’m just going to quote parts of his work here. But please take the time to hop on over there to visit the full article! These are all from his article, but I’m picking the ones that include the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers because ‘duh’.
10. The Gordon Hayward backdoor lob
Quin Snyder has a beautiful offense that takes advantage of his team’s collection of playmakers at every position. This is my favorite set play the Jazz run.
That pre-play motion usually ends with Hayward coming back to the ball at the top of the key. But this time, Hayward saw Austin Rivers overplaying him and broke backdoor for the lob pass. Utah catches teams every couple of nights with this read.
18. The J.J. Redick pindown, with a twist
This is an old reliable the Clippers have been running for years. DeAndre Jordan comes to screen for Chris Paul, then immediately U-turns to set a pick for Redick to catch and shoot in the middle of the court. Jordan angles his screen so that Redick runs his man to him, maintaining the timing necessary to catch the defense off guard.
Since most teams know this is coming, the Clippers have been adding new wrinkles to this set. For example, watch how Redick ignores the Jordan screen to curl on the baseline around a staggered screen on the other side.
The shot missed, but Redick got a clean look out of it and the Clippers eventually scored after the offensive rebound. This further proves the old axiom: The best plays are the ones that alter one small part of a common alignment.
24. The Blake Griffin duck-in
Injuries have made it harder for Blake Griffin to snatch the ball in the post and power through opponents. That means he increasingly needs to rely on smarts to get to his preferred spots.
One way he does that is to run straight down the middle of the floor to seal his man on the break. With more teams employing power forwards whose main job is to space the floor, Griffin can leak out on missed shots, park his ass on his man or whichever smaller player picks him up on a switch, and run him straight into the basket.
28. Rudy Gobert freaks everyone out
I mentioned this in the most recent Pictures Video, but it’s amusing how Gobert scares great players out of even trying to score. Watch John Wall quickly backpedal after he gets an advantage on his man in the pick and roll.
Watch Giannis Antetokounmpo, the league’s most athletic finisher, pump fake into oblivion right under the hoop.
I don’t blame them. Gobert is scary.
This is excellent work, and again please visit Mike’s article at the mothership over here. I don’t have much to add, but one signature play that’s worked for years now is the “cry to the ref after every call, foul real and/or imagined.” And we’re going to see that a lot from all of the teams this post season. I think we know which teams use this as their go-to move though. (Hint: You’ve seen them in the NBA Finals for each of the last five seasons.)