How to steal from better teams (edit: and how we kind of did that vs the Bulls)

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

I was watching Utah vs GSW and Toronto vs Boston and i couldn't help but notice some plays and concepts that we could easily steal.

When you have Blake Griffin on the team you want him attacking the basket.

One way we can do that is by having Blake spot up. Blake is great at attacking a funky close out and when he gets by his man, there's little you can do to stop him.

Problem is defenders close out on him knowing he wants to drive.

Another way you get Blake attacking is by utilizing the short roll. Doc Rivers used that a lot and we can do the same by running a Reggie-Blake high p&r. Reggie draws two defenders and Blake is left attacking 4v3 trying to find the open teammate. Great action. Only problem would be Andre under the basket, so Blake doesn't get a clear drive to the rim. This action is mostly run to generate open corner threes and lobs and not so much to get Blake buckets.
Here's what it looks like.

We haven't seen Blake short rolling in the first two games of the season. Instead, Casey likes Blake popping and if his three point shot keeps falling like this i'll have no problem with that. His form does look great.

But we see in the clip above that Andre being under the basket does limit Blake's options somewhat.

Truth is when Blake is attacking the rim only Centers can stop him, so you would want rim protectors removed from the action and occupied with something else to give Blake maximum space for a drive. That's where Andre's passing and screening comes to help.

Weak side screening

Here, Zaza uses a weak side screen to distract Lopez.

Lopez sags off way too low and we can all see how open Reggie would be if he used Zaza's screen (he doesn't for some weird reason). Andre can do the same and we have to be better at exploiting different options the defense gives us. We have to punish Lopez here, so that he doesn't help next time.

Making Andre a passer

You can give the ball to Andre and have Blake screen for a guard.

Imagine the same action with Bullock (in Curry's place), Blake (in Green's) and Andre making the pass

We already run a similar action, but we mostly use Blake to ReggieB DHOs or we use our PG as a passer.

In the clip above Andre's man is right in position to help, but if Andre was providing the pass to Bullock, the latter would be meeting a much smaller defender, or no one, at the rim and his attempt would have better chance to go in.

Below we see that removing the ball from the action gives Galloway much more freedom to move and read the defense. His defender goes under and he has an open shot.

Removing the ball from the screening action and having Andre pass the ball will definitely confuse the defense and draw Andre's defender away from the rim. That'll give space to Reggie-Blake (or whoever) to run what's basically a side p&r, but with more options. Depending on how the defense handles it, we can get a lot of different shots out of this action.

We could even have Blake back screen for Reggie Jackson or fake screen and cut to the hoop to get the ball near the basket.

Or even throw the ball to Blake in the high post to hand it off to Reggie to drive to the basket full steam.

We've used this action to try to get open looks for Bullock coming off the L corner, but i want to see more options explored. Having Jackson involved is a great wrinkle and i've always liked the idea of some back screens for Blake.

Little adjustments like that make the offense much less predictable and i expect Casey to slowly add such things as the season progresses. In any case during this kind of action Andre's man won't be able to help much. Another important thing to notice is that these actions don't require a play call. We can seemingly add them to our movement based offense as secondary actions, as well as "early offense".

Attacking off the catch

A p&r requires the player coming off the screen to have the ball in his hands. That limits said player's movements as it is much harder to move with the ball than without it. It also generates more pull ups that you'd want and a pull up is not a particularly efficient shot.
DHOs free the player coming off the screen to move however he wants before he receives the ball.
Taking it a step further and removing the ball from both of those players' hands frees both of them to move however they want and make quicker and better decisions without caring about handling the ball.
Utilizing all three of those actions, again, makes the defense less predictable and provides different options to the same set.

Here's a set i like from the Boston Celtics playbook that i think fits our personnel perfectly.

The screen by Andre (Horford) would make Blake's (Tatum) defender trail him and that would free up a lane for Blake to bully his way through.

Blake's defender can go under, but that would mean an open three for Blake or create a situation where Blake attacks a close out. Even better Blake can pop and turn the action into a Reggie-Blake high p&pop with Blake's defender way out of position.

Andre's defender can switch the screen but that would allow Andre to slip and cut to the hoop for a lob and dunk.

There's no good way to defend this action because of the versatility of our bigs and that's exactly why i love this set for us.

When the defense does a good job of containing the primary screen the action quickly turns into a Blake-Andre P&R.

Or a high P&R for Reggie-Andre.

Similar double high screen set that we used a lot to get Tobias Harris an open three.

We can use this to get Blake (Hayward) attacking off the catch in a similar way. On that play it's even harder for Blake's defender to go under the screen and we can even get a switch on the first p&pop.

And here's what happens when Blake's defender (Klay) is way too late and Andre's man (Dray) has to rotate a bit.

Reggie is also great driving the ball, while he's not the best pull up shooter. So, attacking off the catch could do wonders for him too. Casey seems keen on playing him with Ish, so an off ball role for him could mean plays like this

and this same play from above

I think Casey is going to use those concepts eventually as he used DeRozan often in a very similar way

These kind of actions are so much better than pick & roll if you want to generate drives, because the defender is already out of position when the attacker catches the ball.

Post ups

Casey talked about how Blake's 26 points against the Nets came the hard way and how he wants more inside out game to avoid Blake banging down low too much.

Mike Snyder pretty much covered this topic during the off season, but i'll provide some plays i noticed from the GSW.

We already use the Reggie-Andre high p&r as a second option to the Blake post up, so we can use actions like this to have Reggie (Jackson) attack or Reggie (Bullock) shoot

we can use the screen in either direction

and we don't even have to call a play to run this action. It could be a default whenever Blake posts up to relieve pressure and distract Andre's defender.

Fortunately, we already added that kind of play in our playbook during the Bulls game. Blake has two options to pass here as a Zaza screen gets Galloway open (ala Curry) and a hammer screen from Ish gets Reggie an open corner three

Unfortunately Andre ignored this option and didn't screen for Reggie Bullock on the same occasion. He shot a three himslef instead, which is just unacceptable.

Another thing to notice is that we can get movement off a post up even without those screens. Every defense is going to build a wall around Blake and he has the passing skill to create a breach. A few swing passes will always create an open shot or a drive opportunity.

and it's nice to see Reggie shoot it comfortably in rhythm with great form.

Stanley is not too shabby either on this one. Nice hop into the shot, good arc, good looking form to shoot it over the late contest.

And now that we're talking about Stanley, here is his drive against Lopez.

Runs right into Lopez, who remains vertical, and gets his lay up blocked.
Here's how LeVert handled the same situation.

That's better. Slow long strides could be Stanley's friend. He's not explosive vertically, so he can't rely on a big fancy jump like Lavine to draw contact. But he is really really strong and he can draw fouls, finish through contact and find open guys using euro step moves.

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