FILM STUDY—Watching Washington and my new favorite play

I’m preparing for the Washington Wizards tomorrow, and they just ran a play that might be my new favorite play (and it is so basic). Just imagine it with the Jazz personnel.

On the play before, John Wall and Marcin Gortat had executed a great pick and roll. It looks like they are setting it up again. Wall is playing great as of late, so there’s lots of attention on Wall. Trey Burke has to start demanding attention if he is going to be successful.

part 1 wiz playHowever, instead of using the pick, Wall goes the way Conley is pushing him and drives with his left hand into the defense. It will force Gasol to move farther toward Wall and then force Ariza’s man (Prince) to slide into the middle of the lane to help on Gortat.

part 2 wiz playWall passes over the top to Ariza. Imagine if Marvin is the wing on left in the corner and Jefferson is on the right corner with Hayward getting this pass from Burke. That is tough to defend. As the pass goes to Ariza, Gortat could just turn and pin Gasol on his back and be wide open at the rim for a basket as the rest of the defenders leave the area.

part 3 wiz playAriza gets the ball and Gasol has to rotate all the way back to the other end of the paint to help stop his drive. Ariza could also hit Beal in the corner for a three at this point, but Tony Allen has a nice angle and makes that pass tough. A lesser defender might not take as good of an angle.

Ariza brings the defense to him.

part 4 wiz playNow Gortat is wide open and he lays it in. Too hard for the defense to rotate back. The Wizards, though, are not spaced well on the back side. If this were the Jazz you could have Burke and Marvin spaced for 3-pointers on the left side of the floor for a pass from the ball handler or on a reversal by the big.

It’s a very basic play. Everyone in the NBA runs it. It is action of a pick and roll, but this is an example of shooters, spacing and ball movement.

The first key to the play is that your first pick and roll has to start at the 3-point line or lower so that the point guard’s initial action brings the defense. The second key is that the receiver of the pass has to act quickly, forcing the defense to switch strong side and weak side. Lastly, the big has to make himself available.