Note: Budding Sets will be a new recurring feature. Here at HawksHoop, we are excited about the future under coach Mike Budenholzer, and some of that excitement is the offensive creativity that Bud brings. So, as we go along the season, there will be some light shed on the fun sets that the Hawks run.
Kyle Korver has been masterful when it comes off-ball movement, and Mike Budenholzer worked for a very longtime under the Gregg Popovich. So naturally, when the two united, the imagination flowed with wondrous thoughts of what they could bring together.
It’s early, but there is one set so far that has been used with a decent amount of frequency. It stems from a set the Spurs ran last season called Thru UCLA Second Side — thank you How U — and adds a little variation by taking advantage of Horford’s passing abilities.
The set starts off by Teague feeding Kyle the ball to one of the wings. Jeff immediately clears out to the opposite side in order to retain spacing, while Al starts setting up in position in either the post or low block. When Horford’s ready, Kyle feeds him the ball and starts to move towards Paul Millsap. Millsap — who started off in a high position — comes down and screens for Korver, and this is where the decision is made by Kyle. It is important to recognize DeMarre Carroll clearing out from the right side, towards the left corner. Without this cut, Kyle is stuck into one direction of the play instead of reading what the defense gives him.
Here, Patrick Patterson backs off and plays the middle of the paint. He can’t leave Millsap right away in fear of Paul getting an open look, but he also has to protect the team from the Korver three. Kyle recognizes this, and does a UCLA cut for an easy hoop.
That’s the first read of the play. If Patterson makes any movement towards guarding the three, Kyle cuts in. However, that isn’t always the case. Against the Raptors here, Amir Johnson clamps down and cuts off the passing lane to Millsap. This is good, other than the fact Al hits Korver on the money after he flares for an open three. The effects of the Carroll cut is felt more here than before. Without that movement, Rudy Gay would have been able to help defend the three and the play would have probably unraveled.
It looks so pretty when it is that open. The movement is really simple here, but it is so effective because it takes advantage of both the passing ability of Horford and the off-ball strengths of reading the defense Korver has. Also, I personally like this set more than the Spurs one. While San Antonio’s doesn’t rely on a cut similar to what Carroll does in both videos, the ball starts in Parker’s hand on the side the play is run. There is one more defender that can recognize the play as it is ran, and potentially allows them to bite down on the cut to the hoop. Either way, this kind of creativity is a lot of fun.