Inside the play: Gonzaga gets shooters open
Last season, Gonzaga had two deadly shooters in Matt Bouldin and Steven Gray. They liked to run this play which allowed both of them to run off screens and work to get open. It gave the ball handler options and forced the defense to guard both Bouldin and Gray instead of focusing on one of them, while the other was not moving.
It’s a fairly simple play but it is a nice play because of its simplicity and available options. Let’s break it down.
The play develops quickly, as Bouldin passes the ball back to the top of the key and he and Gray immediatly start the action. With Elias Harris and Kelly Olynyk based on the wings, Gray and Bouldin cross paths in the middle of the key and run off of screens on the opposite side.
The first point is to notice how the movement of Gray and Bouldin creates a natural pick for each other, as the defenders have to be careful to avoid both each other, as well as the crossing Gonzaga player. This confuses the defenders and Bouldin’s defender is already a step behind.
Next, Gray and Bouldin come off of simple down screens. The key is the fact that the defense is already a step behind due to the crossing action, which allows the shooters room to get open. It also gives the ball handler options, as they can see which player is more open and assess to which side the action should go.
Bouldin is the recipient of the pass and he buries a three. A simple play but sometimes those are the most effective.
It will be interesting to see who is paired with Gray when this play is run this year. Harris and Olynyk have both shown to be capable shooters, but I am not sure they would be effective in running this play and shooting off the screen. Any insight Gonzaga fans?