Season leftovers: Virginia double screen
Over the next few weeks, we are going to breakdown some regular sets that I did not have enough time to get to when they happened during the season with inbounds sets coming later.
This first set comes from Virginia during their ACC-Big 10 challenge game against Minnesota. It shows Joe Harris running through two big men who converge to set a screen to give Harris room to catch and shoot.
Look at the initial space between the two big men, Assane Sene and Mike Scott. They are set up far enough away to give Harris space to cut through the two of them and close enough so they can close quickly to set a screen and cut off Harris’ defender. Often, the two screeners will start shoulder to shoulder and the shooter will curl over the top of the two screeners and fade to the wing or he will run baseline and curl off the double screen. UVA gives the defense a different look here and is successful because of it.
The defenders of Sene and Scott cannot cheat out to the wing, as this will give their man an open lane to the rim, with the easy pass being made to them from the top of the key. Based on the ball position, they need to be in help position in the paint. What this does is open the wing up for Harris to fill as he runs through the paint.
This frame is right after the screeners converge, after Harris ran through the two of them. After he cuts through them, they come together to form a double screen, setting a very effective screen on Harris’ man. The help defenders are not able to hedge in time and Harris has plenty of space to catch and shoot.
This play is successful because the offense uses two players to set a screen in a creative way and one that the defense does not usually see and therefore is not prepared to defend it. Most defenses have a gameplan on stopping a staggered screen or a double screen with the shooter coming over or under the double screen. Instead, UVA sent their shooter through the two screeners, who converged at the last second to set an excellent screen.
By not utilizing the regular double screen and having Harris run baseline off the two screens to the wing and instead having him run through the paint through the screens, UVA put the defense in an unfamiliar position and they were not able to react in time to close out on Harris. The result is a wide open shot.