Out of the Timeout: San Antonio’s weak side screen & roll play
Out of the Timeout is our new series at 48 Minutes of Hell where we take a look at different set plays the San Antonio Spurs run, and break them down step-by-step for you, the fan.
Manu Ginobili is a man of many talents, but one of his biggest strengths is when he is moving without the ball. Last week in the San Antonio Spurs’ final preseason game against the Houston Rockets, the Spurs ran the following play in the second quarter. The best thing about this play is the options it provides as a result.
Most defenses can only defend for so long before they make a mistake. That’s why coaches always stress ball movement and patience, eventually something will open up. So when a set play ends with several ways for the team to get a shot, it’s going to successful more often than not.
In this play, George Hill (1) brings the ball up the floor. As Hill approaches the 3-point arc, Antonio McDyess (5) sets a screen for Manu Ginobili (2) on the weak side of the floor.
Ginobili curls off the screen towards the free throw line looking for the ball and Antonio McDyess rolls to the basket.
When Ginobili gets the ball, he has several options. His first option is to go to the basket when he has the ball. That depends on where his defender is when he receives the pass from Hill, where the help defense is and the angle he takes when coming off the screen. His next option is to take the 15-foot jumper, which is what he did when the Spurs ran this play against Houston.
Ginobili also has several passing lanes available. Antonio McDyess is rolling to the basket after the screen, but if the defense rotates over to help on McDyess, that opens up passing lanes to either DeJuan Blair (4) in the short corner or Richard Jefferson (3) on the wing for a 3-pointer.
Again, the best plays result in several options for the offense, and several opportunities for the defense to screw up. Even the best defensive teams make mistakes and give up easy baskets. Plays like the one we just looked at take advantage of the fact that when defenses have to rotate and help after screens, they leave plenty of openings for the offense. From there, it’s just a matter of making the right read and executing.
All diagrams were made using FastDraw from Fast Model Software.