Fan Duel Toronto Raptors


RJ Barrett & Immanuel Quickley’s best plays explained

Learn how Coach Darko helps his players.

Basketball is a free flowing game full of improvisational plays and interpretive reads from superstars and role players alike. Those things dictate most of what happens on a basketball court, and they're influenced greatly by the overarching scheme, structure, and tenets that motivate some of the decision making from the players - and that comes from the coaching.

Some plays are set plays that exist under the framework, but are a little more specific. With RJ Barrett & Immanuel Quickley joining the Raptors, there's new skillsets to work with and different wrinkles to add to plays. I'll detail some of those wrinkles and successes that the Raptors have added and found. Strap in, and look forward to being able to identify more of the Raptors plays while you watch them live.

First up: Deki's play.

"Opening play in the game was an ATO that Deki, my friend, I learned that play from him. That's what he brought to the NBA, that's what he brought to Golden State." Darko said after the game, of his friend and Warriors assistant coach, Dejan Milojević. "I stole that play from him, and that was our opening play tonight, and we were able to score on that one. So, I dedicated this win to our team and to Deki."

After looking at the Raptors opening play, I figured that, that wasn't a set play. So, I clarified with Darko and he let me know that Deki's play was their first scripted play of the game, and the shot actually came around the 10 minute mark of the first quarter. An important clarification, considering all the largest news outlets shared the story with the wrong play (including myself initially), including the Raptors themselves and the TNT broadcast the next day. So, from the mind of Dejan Milojević: an inverted ghost screen with a flare screen into an empty-side.

The Raptors have used their guards as ghost screeners for a long time -- Kyle Lowry & Fred VanVleet were both fantastic at it in their time in Toronto -- and Quickley represents the exact combination of quickness, awareness, and shooting ability to really make this play work. It also helps that Barnes is a tall passer so he needs less loft over the top of the flare - getting the ball to his shooter faster. Quickley hits a nice shot against a contest (that the Heat had to switch to get to), and if he wasn't able to shoot it there, they could easily flow into an empty-side pick n' roll. Great play design with great players.

This next one is a twist on a classic formula. The Raptors have tried to work through the post -- high or low -- a lot more often this season, and chose to do so to create more high-low reads to feed Pascal Siakam & Scottie Barnes.

If you're interested in the names for these actions -- you don't have to be, if you can notice where advantages come from, without knowing names, you know ball -- in the first play we are looking at the Raptors initiating through the pinch post (a flex screen initiates the pinch post action, but not included in the clips) with the Raptors setting a rip screen on the weak-side. On the second play, it's a flex screen to pinch post initiation with that same rip screen, and a wide-pin stacked on top of it for IQ. Okay, that's the terminology.