Breaking It Down

Raptors Playbook: “Thumbs Up” (DHO Baseline Stagger)

Raptors Playbook: “Thumbs Up” (DHO Baseline Stagger)

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 “Thumbs Up” – a quick hitter play run for Toronto’s shooters. Watch the video embedded below alongside the summary written, and remember to follow and subscribe to never miss out on a video.

Option 1: Staggered Screen – Starting at 0:25

The ball handler will dribble the ball up the floor on the wing and engage in a dribble hand-off (DHO).

On the weak side of the floor, the two Bigs will loosely set a staggered screen to free up the off-ball player for a pass on the ball reversal.

While that is happening, the player that dribbled the ball up the court will receieve staggered screens themselves along the baseline to take them towards the side of the ball. This should create one of three desired advantages.ooting

The first being that the player will have created a large advantage, in which enough seperation exists between themselves and their defensive assignment that they can score on the catch to shoot from the perimeter.

The second being that the player will have created a smaller advantage, in which enough separation exists between between themselves and their defensive assignment that their defender is forced to trail behind them as they drive and finish at the rim.

The final being that the player will have created an advantage that the screen defender deems to be of a great enough harm to leave their own defensive assignment and help on the catch. By drawing this second defender to the ball, the screener is now freed to slip and dive towards the rim – allowing the ball handler to make a dump-off pass for a high percentage shot around the rim.

Option 2: Ball Screen – Starting at 2:22

If a sufficient enough advantage is not gained by utilizing the staggered screens, the ball handler will toggle to the play’s next progression – a side ball screen.

Option 3: Vs. Off-Ball Denial – Starting at 3:30

If no advantage is gained by using the staggered screens and the ball handler is unable to make the pass to the offensive player cutting along the baseline, the ball handler will hold on to the ball and attack the middle of the floor with a drive towards the large gap, or wait for a ball screen.

Note: The call for this play is “Thumbs Up”.

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