Sometimes, a play doesn’t need to be too complicated to be effective. The following play in the Wizards-Hornets game is an example of a pretty simple action that completely fools the defense.
On quick-shot out-of-bounds plays, the first movement is usually a decoy. A player will make a move to get the ball, it will be denied by the defense, and he will vacate the area, never to be a part of the play again (for example, J.J. Redick here or Jeff Teague here). After that first guy is gone, the remaining three players will set some combination of screens to get an open shot.
Watching this happen over and over again throughout the season, you can imagine how the defense might start taking the initial movement for granted. That is exactly what Randy Wittman preyed upon with this play.
On this play, Beal does the initial boring run to the ball, and it looks like he’s going to head into the far corner.
Instead, he loops back around, through a double screen, back to the spot where he started. Austin Rivers gets completely lost, and it is clear he wasn’t anticipating Beal’s U-turn. It’s pretty surprising how well this Benny Hill maneuver worked.
It’s doubtful that this play would work too often, so it’s a shame that Beal missed the shot. Perhaps we’ll see the Wizards break it out again in a few months, though.