Three videos of three plays that you might’ve seen during the Spurs game and not paid much attention to, yet they speak well to what’s going right and wrong with this team.  Usually these segments break down one single play on a frame-by-frame basis, but I figured a video is worth a thousand frames.

The Good

This highlights an aspect of DeRozan’s game that’s matured this year – his usage of screens.  In this play he’s, first, getting himself into a position where he can run a curl, communicating with Ed Davis that he’s ready, and then executing very well by brushing the defender against Davis.  Sure, the screen is borderline illegal, but it gets the job done and frees up DeRozan in a range where he’s comfortable shooting.  The floater is pretty much unblockable. A very important reason DeRozan’s shot is not contested is the slight movement of Amir Johnson towards the rim, which forces the defender to guard against DeRozan dropping off to Johnson. If Johnson doesn`t roll, DeRozan`s shot is heavily contested.

The Bad

We often criticize Bargnani for shooting from too far out.  In this instance, however, he’s guilty of not doing that.  The wing screen action has served its purpose here and completely freed up Bargnani for a wide open mid-range jumper after he moved well to take full advantage of his man briefly switching on Lowry.  Tim Duncan is late rotating and pretty much conceding the jumper.  Bargnani bails Duncan out by driving at a guy who has been on the All-NBA defensive team, basically begging him to take charge.  Duncan obliges by stepping in and is probably left scratching his head on why Bargnani, a noted jump shooter, didn’t just pull up for an easy mid-range jumper. Sometimes you just got to realize that you`ve beaten the defense and keep things simple.

The Ugly

This play highlights the terrible game Jose had.  He’s given up his dribble way too early under almost no pressure in order to make the pass to Davis for a post-up.  Let’s leave aside the craziness of Davis trying to post-up beyond the elbow for a second.  The early pick-up of the dribble allows his defender to sag on Davis, making the pass harder and taking time off the clock.  Davis has to come out to catch the ball and by the time he does, he’s well above the three-point line.  At this point, the play is going nowhere.  I’m assuming DeRozan comes over to set things right by presenting himself in the post, which he does well.  A great San Antonio double blocks his path on the baseline and Calderon is passed the ball to relieve pressure.  At this point there are about 4.7 seconds left on the shot-clock and the natural thing to do is to try to make a play on his own.  Instead, he throws a skip pass (which takes forever by the nature of skip passes) to Ross who, by the time he catches it, naturally has a defender all over him and takes a forced shot.

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10 Responses to “Breaking It Down: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”

  1. lloyd

    Brooklyn in da house!!!  Yo yo yo, look at me everybody.  I can do one arm push ups, who wants to see one arm push ups?

  2. c_bcm

    Nice post, I love these. The details and idiosyncrasies of the game are largely lost on me, so I appreciate someone spelling it out for me.

  3. Nilanka15

    More UGLY:  It’s been mentioned on the broadcasts over and over again, but I just can’t seem to understand why our Guards REFUSE to wait until the screener has set his position before starting the pick ‘n’ roll.

    Every time Amir, Jonas, Davis or Bargnani come up to set a screen for Lowry, Calderon, DeRozan or whoever, I cringe knowing that it’s an offensive foul waiting to happen….all because the ball-carriers are lacking that extra half second of patience.

    Why do professional athletes lack such basic fundamentals?

    • 2damkule

      don’t know the answer, but i’d guess that most illegal screens happen when the the ball handler leaves the screener out to dry by trying to go too far wide of the screen, or, as you mention, try to exploit the screen before it’s been set.  it seems pretty simple…work the ball in closer so you don’t have a big sprinting 25 feet out to set the pick…let him get established…when using the pick, don’t leave ANY space between yourself & the pick-setter (i.e. force a switch, or force the guy defending the ball to try to fight over the pick – putting him out of position to defend the ball handler – or go under it – leaving the ball handler with what should be a fairly wide open look, assuming they don’t switch).

      PnR only works if the P is set & used properly.

    • c_bcm

      Not sure its all the fault of the guards. I think the bigs slip too early after setting the screens too. In general everyone is a little too excited to move onto the fun part of the play (scoring) and not being deliberate enough on the “set-up” plays and motions that give you the best chance at scoring. The art of setting a good hard screen was mastered by Reggie, mostly because he was not involved in the play otherwise, and not expecting the ball again until the shot went up.

    • Destro

      I actually in this case blame the screener IE Amir Johnson….Dudes atrocious at setting moving picks….Its not that he even waits but he doesnt set himself he’s already moving to the basket as he’s setting it….How many times does he get called for a moving pick that aint on the guard….thats all AMIR…

  4. 2damkule

    arse – it’s so clear that you’re not just a hater of bargs & jose, but a total RAYSESS!!!


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