While DeAndre Jordan and his defense have been the talk of the Los Angeles Clippers preseason, the offense that Doc Rivers has installed for this team has been simply fantastic. Sure it’s the preseason and teams aren’t throwing out their best defensive strategies to stifle this top offense, but what has been seen on the court is surely something that will carry over to the regular season for the Los Angeles bunch.
I recently went over the way Doc Rivers is getting Blake Griffin open for mid-range jump shots by using mis-directions and down screens. That’s just one notable addition. Another is a loop play that has gotten DeAndre Jordan several easy shots at the basket. There have been at least three examples of the play, so I’ll start with the first time the play was seen in the Clippers’ preseason opener against the Portland Trailblazers.
This is the simplest of the three plays, getting straight into the action without much from the involved players. The play starts with Jared Dudley and DAJ on the same side of the floor. Jordan then sets a screen to get Dudley open.
When the guard up top hits Dudley curling on the screen it forces the defender — in this case Robin Lopez — to decide which he wants to stop: either Dudley’s lane to the basket or keeping Jordan from getting an easy lob over the top.
Basketball is a game of inches. Lopez’s slight hesitation toward Dudley results in a pocket pass to Jordan who turns the opportunity into an And-1.
Live - http://youtu.be/BXxrOT4KwMQ
With Darren Collison in the game the Clippers have Chris Paul playing off-ball. It’s the exact same set shown above with CP3 in the corner alongside DeAndre Jordan instead of Green and on the opposite side of the floor.
As Collison hits Paul off the loop, Kanter is hit with the same decision that Robin Lopez was forced to face: cut off the guard or cut off the big.
Opposite of Robin, Kanter decides to cut off Paul’s lane to the basket by hedging on the pick which leads to a devastating lob by DAJ.
Live - http://youtu.be/JQ1v9ZdjX9Y
Knowing that defenses adjust to the plays after being ran a few times or watching film, Doc Rivers threw a wrinkle in the play beginning from the opposite side of the floor and working his way back toward DAJ. The play begins with a simple back screen on Willie Green‘s (may be J.J. Redick when returns from injury) defender by Antawn Jamison.
Green then runs back in the direction he started from, rubbing Gordon Hayward into another Jamison screen which leads him to the middle of the floor after receiving the pass from CP3.
On the curl Green has three options: 1) continue to the basket for what could be an easy layup, 2) dish it to Jamison for the mid-range jumper if Jeremy Evans commits to him defensively, or 3) hit Jordan under the basket if Kanter steps in to cut off his lane to the basket.
Kanter steps in and Jordan is left open under the basket for an easy two points.
Live - http://youtu.be/FNtte4BnIGw
A huge problem in Vinny Del Negro‘s offense besides letting Chris Paul do everything was his inability to get DeAndre involved in the offense. Sure the center doesn’t have a go-to move at this point in his career, but Jordan posted a field goal percentage of 64 percent last season. He’s solid around the rim when given a chance. And it’s one Doc Rivers is giving him with these little opportunities off the loop play.