Welcome to The 3-Point Play, a new semi-regular recurring feature here at HoopChalk. Every so often, I’ll take a quick look at sets from three different teams that have something in common. Rather than devoting a separate post to each of them, they’ll all be grouped together here. This week, we’ve got the Grizzlies, Heat and Hornets running some funky pick-and-roll sets.
What looks at first glance like a standard high pick-and-roll play between Mike Conley and Marc Gasol only becomes more when you concentrate on the off-ball action. Check out the staggered double-screen from Gasol and Zach Randolph that Rudy Gay receives as he heads from the right side of the floor all the way across to the left. And watch Tony Allen running the baseline and getting a screen from Randolph himself while spotting up in the corner. Conley’s dribbling from right to left before running the pick-and-roll coming back right – away from his strong hand – with Gasol combined with Gay’s cut across the court helps sell the whole thing.
Like a lot of the best Heat plays, the real action here is in the corners. LeBron starts off the play in the right corner and gets a dribble hand-off from Mario Chalmers. While continuing his route across the court, LeBron makes the pass to Wade and feigns a pick-and-roll. At the same time, Battier is knifing through the middle of the defense and Chalmers takes up LeBron’s spot in that right corner. Finally, LeBron completes his route and heads to the left corner, while Wade and Bosh run a side pick-and-roll, Chalmers cuts up from the corner toward the elbow extended, and Battier takes Chalmers’ spot in that right corner where LeBron started. Wade gets into the teeth of the defense, sucks Boston in, and delivers a cross-court pass to outlet man LeBron for a wide open 3. I’m totally not sure how you stop this.
I may actually like this version of the Hornets’ double pick-and-roll even more than the version I wrote about in the first post on this site. Running it as a high pick-and-roll rather than a side pick-and-roll, and making both the roll and the pop delayed rather than immediate adds a little kick to the proceedings. Vazquez is already below the free throw line and receiving the second screen from Anderson by the time Smith starts rolling to the hoop, and Smith is halfway through the lane when Anderson reaches the top of the key on his pop. Stationing “shooters” Austin Rivers and Al-Farouq Aminu in each corner spreads the floor for the action in the middle of the court.