Inside the play: Louisville’s set to open the half
The Mikan Drill can be found on Twitter @TheMikanDrill
I really like the set Rick Pitino drew up in the locker room at the half and although it was not successful in the end, it showed how a set does not always need to be an intricate set of screens. Often a play can get an open look by simply taking advantage of how the opposition is going to defend a certain set; in this case, the pick and roll.
Starting the half, Terrence Jennings sets the ball screen for Mike Marra. Marquette switches the pick and roll, Chris Otule switches off of Jennings onto the ball, with Erik Williams now defending Jennings. Since Marquette switches, Marra cannot rub off the ball screen and get to the paint and is forced to the top of the key.
Jennings dives to the post after setting the screen and seals Williams. Due to this, Jennings can look to receive the entry pass from either Marra on the top of the key (lobbing the ball over Williams) or Siva on the wing. Since Marra has neither an open shot, an open lane to drive or a passing lane to Jennings since the defense switched, he swings the ball to Peyton Siva, who is positioned well on the wing to continue the play.
You can see that Siva’s man, Dwight Buycks, is sagging off of Siva to help on Jennings. With the swing pass to Siva, he has an open shot from the wing and plenty of space before Buycks can recover to bother the shot. Buycks had to help on Jennings in this case to prevent the entry pass over the top from Marra. In doing this, he gives up the open shot to Siva.
If you look closely, you can see that Jennings has successfully sealed Williams and is open in the paint as Buycks is closing on Siva. If Siva held the ball for another second or if Buycks was a half step closer at the start, Siva would have had an open passing lane into Jennings.
This is why I like this set so much. It gives the offense several good options depending on how the defense plays. With the way Marquette played it, Siva had a great look at a jump shot and he could also have easily dumped the ball into the post to Jennings and given him a good look at a layup.
You can debate whether this was a good shot by Siva to start the half or whether he should have rewarded Jennings by feeding him in the post. Regardless, the Cardinals got an open shot by running a set to take advantage of the pick and roll switch and took what the defense gave them, which was an open jump shot from the wing.