Raptors Playbook: Zipper Loop
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 Zipper Loop – a play Nick Nurse reintroduced this season to get Kyle Lowry out of his shooting slump. Watch the video embedded below alongside the summary written, and remember to follow and subscribe to never miss out on a video.
Option 1: 3 Baseline Screens – Starting at 0:16
The play is initiated by the eventual target (typically Kyle Lowry) dribbling to the wing, triggering a “Zipper Cut” by an off-ball guard from the baseline to the perimeter. Lowry will then run off 3 screens positioned along the baseline and Weak Side wing, forcing the assigned defender to trail behind, take shortcuts, or switch off of him.
Toronto usually slots their Center as the last screener, as this is when the defense has to make the ultimate decision and negotiate their screen coverage. It puts the defense in a precarious situation when Lowry’s assigned defender is trailing the screen and a plotting Center has to switch out on Lowry. Alternatively, the defense can pick their poison in the other direction by forcing Lowry’s assigned defender to recover without a switch, ultimately granting Lowry an advantage on the catch.
Option 2: Floppy – Starting at 1:06
If the defense is able to adequately prevent Lowry from gaining an advantage as a threat coming off of 3 screens, Toronto will quickly transition into “Floppy” action in which the other guard near the baseline will receive an off-ball Pindown of their own on the opposite side of the court.