Inside the play: Pitt’s inbounds play
Pitt looked strong in its convincing win last night against Illinois-Chicago. There was not much that could be inferred from the game, as Pitt was clearly the dominant team from the onset and proved it all 40 minutes. What I did enjoy was watching one of the inbounds play Pitt ran that got them a bucket.
Here is the setup. A double screen on the ball side with the potential for a single screen on the weak side. What I find interesting is the position of the defender. He is set up to hedge on the weak side, where only one screen is waiting. I think this is so he can see the ball but I do not think it is good position.
Play straight up or hedge toward the ball and rely upon your teammates for communication. His positioning here helps this play succeed for Pitt, as you will see. He is taking away the worse option for Pitt, which is strange.
Look at the starred man under the basket, who is responsible for the inbounds man. He is taking away the weak side pass, which is why I think Wannamaker’s man should have been positioned differently from the start. He is content to take away the cut to the left, when he has help defending that action, which is not a big threat to begin with.
The arrows show how I would have wanted to have seen the defender’s feet positioned initially. This would have allowed him to cut off the cut to the right, the better option for the offense.
Wannamaker jab steps to the left and gets his defender leaning that way. He then cuts hard to the right off the double screen. You can see his defender trailing and McGhee’s defender has to make a decision. Does he step up to Wannamaker or play back? If he steps up, McGhee rolls for an easy layup.
If the initial defender was position properly, we would have been able to slide right above the screen, instead of getting caught behind the screen. Now he has to trail Wannamaker, which gives Wannamaker an opening.
McGhee’s defender does not close on Wannamaker and thanks to the double screen, the initial defender is a step behind him as well. This gives him a clear opening to catch and shoot the 18 foot baseline jumper.
What makes this play work is options. The initial defender chooses to take away the cut to the left, so Wannamaker makes a nice read and cuts to the right, off the double screen. If the screener’s man wants to switch or hedge, the screener rolls to the basket for a layup.