Brandon Paul’s 3 point barrage
Illinois did not struggle too much with UC Irvine in their regular season debut and part of that is thanks to Brandon Paul and his 6-8 performance from behind the arc, including 5-5 in the first half.
How did he continue to get open? It was a total team effort and Paul came out the hero. Let’s take a look at how Paul was open time and time again.
Attention on Demetri McCamey
When you have a dynamic offensive player like McCamey who can score from different places on the court, he is going to attract attention. With the Anteaters playing a zone, McCamey was able to penetrate the zone, draw the defense and find Paul open on the kick out.
Watch how the defense collapses on McCamey as he drives into the paint. The arrow signifies where Paul is going to move to on the floor. If he stays in his current position, it is going to be a tough pass for McCamey. By shuffling just a few feet, the pass is much easier.
Once he gets into the paint, he recognizes the situation and knows that a teammate must be open. Paul correctly moves into an open position where McCamey can get him the ball and he steps into the open jumper. Look at all the open space he has, as the defense has no time to recover.
McCamey again draws the defense and hands the ball off to Paul. He draws the defense in with penetration and sets a screen with the handoff. McCamey had 8 assists last night and should have no trouble replicating that night in and night out if Paul (and others) shoot like this.
Paul did a nice job of getting to an open spot on the floor in transition, squaring up and knocking down the open shot. One way to beat a zone is to beat it down the floor and put up a shot before it can get set. Illinois does this nicely here and Paul smartly trails the play and puts himself in an advantageous situation.
There were two instances when Illini players passed up an open three, made the extra pass and got the ball to the hot hand. Smart plays by the Illini led to open shots for a player who was hotter than the sun in the first half last night.
In the first clip, we again see the Illini in transition with McCamey pushing the ball. The key here again is him getting the ball into the paint and drawing the defense. He kicks the ball out to the corner but the extra pass is made to Paul, who had already hit 3’s on the last two possessions. Nice recognition to make the extra pass.
Look at McCamey, who recognizes the hot hand of Paul and is calling for the extra pass to be made.
Once the extra pass is made, the defense does not have enough time to close out and Paul has enough space to take the jumper. What I love about his shot is he has so much elevation, even if he has someone in his face, he can rise above them and not get blocked.
Here is a very similar play with the same result, a made 3. McCamey drives into the paint, kicks to the corner and the extra pass is made to the hot hand. Illinois was carving up the zone last night, thanks to McCamey’s penetration. Paul’s open looks were often a result of this penetration.
Off a screen
With his final 3, Paul showed he is dangerous coming off screens as well as simply spotting up. His form is flawless, as his feet and shoulders are square, he gets great elevation and has a terrific follow through. Excellent performance from Paul in the opening game.