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Breaking It Down

Raptors Playbook: “Horns 4”

Raptors Playbook: “Horns 4”

Over at the Raptors Playbook YouTube channel (@RaptorsPlaybook on Twitter), I am breaking down the X’s & O’s of the Toronto Raptors. This week, we’ll focus on their “Horns 4” – a play specifically designed to leverage the speed of Pascal Siakam against recovering defenders. Watch the video embedded below alongside the summary written, and remember to follow and subscribe to never miss out on a video.

Option 1: “Catch & On-the-Run” – Starting at 0:29

The play is initiated in a (very loose) Horns formation with the Point Guard above the break, Siakam (or the Power Forward) on the left elbow, the Center on the opposite elbow, and each wing player in their respective corner.

While the Point Guard and Siakam engage in a step-up pick and roll (that is not designed to get the Point Guard an advantage to score), the Center exits to the left wing.

The pick and roll is designed to momentarily attract two defenders to the ball, and subsequently freeing Siakam. As the ball is being passed to Siakam above the break, with his defender in pursuit to recover back, Siakam begins his drive to the rim before he catches the ball – making the catch “On the Run”. The timing has to be precise, but when done correctly, Siakam’s speed is leveraged in combination with his driving and finishing ability to attack a slower and back-pedalling defender.

Option 2: Kick Out Pass – Starting at 1:41

Not an “option” per se, but a read that Siakam or the Power Forward can make based on the spacing of the action. Toronto typically puts one of its strongest three-point threats in the corner nearest to the “On-the-Run” drive, which typically disallows help from that corner. However, if the defense collapses from that corner to assist on the drive, Toronto’s quick Power Forwards have showed the ability to find the right pass.

Last note, the call for this play does indeed seem to be “Horns 4”.

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