Breaking It Down

Breaking It Down: Creating Fastbreaks

One of the things that stood out against Philadelphia were the Raptors’ 26 fastbreak points. Many of the points were the result of a convenient rebound combined with an aggressive mentality to run. We examine two such instances.

One of the things that stood out against Philadelphia were our 26 fastbreak points. Usually fastbreak points are thought of as being generated by an aggressive point guard who takes advantage of his speed and vision in transition, but in our case many of the points were the result of a convenient rebound combined with a running mentality. Here are two instances where a shooting guard’s ability to anticipate action results in a numbers advantage.

Creating a 2-on-1 – Part I

We’re in a man-to-man defense with all five guys being in man-self-basket position.

A high-screen is set for Green and Kapono, correctly anticipating a shot, will try to position himself for an offensive rebound thus leaving Belinelli. This is a very common thing to do, at this point in the set the offensive player isn’t thinking about preventing leakouts and the mental focus is on scoring.

Kapono’s got himself decent offensive rebounding position here as Belinelli hasn’t tracked him down. Kapono isn’t Calderon’s man so I’m not sure who the box-out responsibility falls on, but suffice to say that Calderon’s box-out on Kapono is very poor and if the rebound bounced in that area, Kapono would get it (the potential benefit of leaving Belinelli). Again, not sure whether Jose is in the wrong here but at least his man is not in rebounding position. Belinelli is the one who could rotate out to Williams but hasn’t put a body on him, you can’t fault him for this since Williams is just too far away to be a rebounding factor (unless it’s one of those long rebounds).

The rebound has dropped in Belinelli’s hands and he’s already decided that he’s off to the races. A more conservative SG might’ve simply waited for his PG and run a regular set, but Belinelli’s noticed Kapono’s position and anticipated a 2-on-1. Johnson is also on the same page and is about to make a hard run to take advantage of the opportunity. Lou Williams (23), is positioned laterally to Belinelli and isn’t in a good position to counter Belinelli’s break, Marco’s basically got Williams on his hip for the rest of the play and made him a non-factor.

The break is on! The Philadelphia defender that is back is Johnson’s man but he’s got to make the ball-handler the first priority as none of his teammates (including Williams) are in a help position.

Johnson’s man leaves Johnson and commits to Belinelli who, being the great passer he is, lays it off beautifully for him and he doesn’t have to break the stride to net 2 easy points. Commend Johnson’s hustle on the break and Belinelli for taking advantage of a convenient rebound. Kapono’s quest for an offensive rebound has proven fatal!

Creating a 2-on-1 – Part II

Elton Brand is in an isolation with Bosh and has designs on beating him baseline. Jrue Holiday will be clearing the space for Brand by moving over to the weak-side corner, doing so prevents Jack as acting as a help-defender and possibly stripping the ball if Brand drives to the middle. The drive will also draw Iguodala towards the rim leaving only one Philadelphia defender behind the three-point line preventing a leak-out.

Brand drives and is sealed off well by Bosh and Bargnani, but notice how there is only one man between DeRozan and the other rim. Also take note of Jack who is on the baseline. He’ll be steaming past Holiday in the next image to help DeRozan with the fastbreak.

The rebound is tipped by Brand to DeRozan and the break is on! There are two keys here: 1) DeRozan’s aggressiveness in seeing the opportunity ahead of him and 2) Jack beating Holiday by hustling hard and looking to give DeRozan an extra option on the break. Note that if Jack has just jogged up the floor nobody would’ve said anything about him – positive or negative – but being the smart player he is, he has anticipated the action and seen an opportunity. Iguodala has taken himself out of the transition defense by cutting (presumably anticipating a pass or rebound). It’s a Catch-22, is his responsibility to prevent leakouts or cut to the rim in this instance?

Jack and DeRozan’s speed has created a 2-on-1. A simple give-and-go is in order.

Two easy points. That folks is how you “run ‘n gun”, it’s a concept that is more than having an aggressive point-guard but a team that is well-conditioned, committed to running hard and having a high basketball IQ which allows you to anticipate action and catch teams napping when even they don’t know they’re napping.

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