The Spurs run a set they call Loop, where Tony Parker runs around two screens on the baseline. He curls around the second, and receives the ball with position to drive. The Hawks actually ran this exact set in last night’s game with Teague, but Jeff isn’t always the player on the baseline looking to get freed up. A variation of the Loop is a set the Rockets ran successfully last year called Wheel. In this set, a less able dribble — but bigger spot-up threat — goes baseline around the two screens but steps out beyond the three point line. If executed right, the team gets an open three for one of there biggest threats from downtown.
But, Budenholzer knows his players well already. He knows that he can tinker with these sets to accentuate the nontraditional bigs of the Hawks. In Houston, both the baseline screeners were bigmen. In Atlanta, there is only one screen Kyle gets around, as the second baseline player is DeMarre Carroll. Carroll instead of screening, cuts the opposite way. Instead of the defender having to choose to get out on the three point line or stop an immobile screener, it becomes a matter of knowing they could get beat by a matter of seconds in two opposite directions. As long as Horford’s screen is executed right, it becomes a matter of pick your poison.
Both these clips end in a miss unfortunately, but any team in the league would have Kyle Korver shoot open threes all day. He’s shooting 51,6% on threes total, and surely some of his misses have came on covered looks. Everyone knows this guy is deadly, so process takes a little precedence over result.
In this first clip, the Hawks sort of ran the play on the fly. Korver isn’t really in position to start, and by the end both Carroll and Paul are spaced in an ugly fashion. You get the feel for what is possible in the future however, as Kyle is wide open in the corner. Iman Shumpert decides to switch on to Carroll on the fly without J.R. Smith fully being aware of this. Even if he didn’t hesitate however, he smacks right into Al’s screen. The only man who can get out on the shot is Andrea Bargnani, who doesn’t succeed at help defense. He looks around, and even stares Korver down when he ends up shooting it, but doesn’t ever make a move to get on him. A real beautiful shot, but alas it hits the rim on the short side. The Hawks didn’t even execute this play as cleanly as they likes, and look how open he still is. Hard not to be excited if looks like this happen consistently.
Now, the Hawks flip the focus on it’s head. Starting out of bounds on a sideline play, they are a little more prepared to run the set. The ball ends up in Gustavo Ayon’s hands, but instead of looking at Korver. He hits DeMarre with a pass down low. The reason why the team ran it differently however, comes from reading the defense. Tony Wroten chases Korver all the way around the baseline, but Evan Turner is also there to cut off any attempt. Al recognizes this, and doesn’t put too much effort into the screen, instead focusing on biting down on the hoop. This leaves Carroll and Al Horford in a two-on-one down low with Spencer Hawes. Once again, doesn’t finish with a made basket, but this is the kind of situation you want to be in. Had DeMarre finished or given a perfectly timed feed to Horford, this could have very easily been a dunk.
These are things that team can easily hash out however, the season isn’t even a month old and there are still 70 games to be played. Maybe we’ll revisit this budding set when it fully blooms (I’m terrible I know).