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Raptors Playbook: “Swirl”

Raptors Playbook: “Swirl”

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 “Swirl” play – a set that involves a lot of player and ball movement around a post up. Watch the video embedded below alongside the summary written, and remember to follow and subscribe to never miss out on a video.

Option 1: Post Up – Starting at 0:10

The play, which can be initiated from SLOB (Sideline out of Bounds) scenarios or a normal half-court possession, is triggered with a guard making a “rub cut” off of the low post player. This cut works to prevent the post defender from “fronting” the post and making the entry pass difficult.

After this “rub cut” is made, the ball is entered to the post. From this point, the screening and movement will occur.

The “rub cutter” will then set a back screen for the player that is positioned above the break. Then, the “rub cutter” will receive a screen of their own (screen-the-screener action) to produce a three-point opportunity.

The post up player is in facilitation mode and can pass to any of these cutters, but also has the ability to score from the post due to the off-ball defense being preoccupied.

Option 2: Back Screens – Starting at 3:23

The second option of this play is triggered by not passing the ball into the post and instead passing to the Big above the break. When this occurs, a DHO will follow.

Afterwards, back screens will be set on both sides of the court. This stretches the defense laterally and makes it difficult for both actions to be guarded will equal efficacy.

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