The most well oiled, fine tuned offense in the NBA Playoffs (and for the entire season for that matter) has been the San Antonio Spurs. They have the personnel, experience and understanding of basic offensive concepts to create some beautiful offense. The staple play of their offense and the one that did the most damage in Game 1 against the Utah Jazz was the Spread Pick and Roll. The Spread Pick and Roll is a set where a high ball screen or high angled ball screen occurs while having 3 shooters spaced outside the 3PT line. The Spurs usually go to the Spread Pick and Roll exclusively when Matt Bonner, Stephen Jackson, Danny Green/Manu Ginobli are in the game, because they are all deadly shooters. Add that to the fact that Tony Parker is using the ball screen to get into the paint at will, while guys like Tim Duncan, Dejuan Blair and Tiago Splitter are rolling to the rim for dunks, and no wonder they have the best record in the West.
A few things can occur in the Spread Pick and Roll as you will see in the video edit below. The spacing of the off-ball shooters creates in decision for the defense. Do they help off the shooters to stop the roller and Parker from scoring easy layups? But if they help they will leave great shooters open for easy three point opportunities? The roller must roll hard, sprinting to the rim in order to draw the attention of help defenders.
As the ball handler, Parker is usually the quarterback who gets to make all the reads in the play. With Parker’s elusiveness, command for the basketball, and passing ability, he has mastered the Spread PNR. In the video clip below, Parker is mainly the ball handler and you can see how he uses the dribble penetration off the screen to collapse the defense leaving the shooters open. And when the defense is late or doesn’t respect his scoring ability, Parker scores with an array of fadeaways, floaters and layups. In Game 1, The Spurs, Parker especially torn apart the Utah Jazz with the Spread PNR.
Please view the video clip for a better understanding of the spacing and reads in the Spread Pick and Roll. And be sure to keep a look out for the same set in Game 2 as well as any adjustments the Jazz make in stopping this deadly action.
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