The Mikan Drill

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Season leftovers: Butler inbounds play

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We continue our look back at the 2010-2011 season with an inbounds play from the Butler Bulldogs, which they successfully executed in the second half of the National Championship game. It is different from any other inbounds play that has been diagrammed on here before, so I have to give credit to Brad Stevens for the originality.

Butler lines up in a diamond set, centered around the free throw line. Matt Howard, at the top of the diamond, is going to open the action by flashing to the near corner, in front of the ball handler, before pivoting and setting the screen for Shawn Vanzant.

As you can see from the frame below, the cut by Howard was not designed to get him the ball but rather to set up the screen. He is not looking for the ball and is not ready to catch an inbounds pass. The purpose of this is to get the defense moving and to give Howard a good angle to set the screen for Vanzant.

With the lane now cleared, Khyle Marshall cuts from the top of the three point line to the rim, with the hopes of catching the defense out of position to give him an easy layup. Alex Oriakhi sees the cut from the beginning, though, and stays between Marshall and the basket, taking away any pass.

Meanwhile, Howard goes to set the screen for Vanzant. Vanzant is going to rub off Howard and flash to the corner, to look for a midrange jump shot.

Jeremy Lamb is not playing poor defense initially, but the play is designed so that without help from Roscoe Smith, Howard’s man, Lamb will not be able to defend the play. Lamb is playing in Vanzant’s chest to take away any cuts to the rim. However, this leaves him vulnerable to a screen, as you will see.

Smith does not hedge on the screen, as he does not realize Howard is setting one until it is too late. This allows Vanzant to run free to his spot and catch and release before Lamb can recover. Lamb has to go over the screen and with no help from Smith below the screen, Vanzant is able to get his shot off easily.

This is a nice play by Butler. It starts with a cut by Howard that is solely intended to set up the screen for Vanzant. This cut allows him to get a good angle on the screen, allowing Vanzant to get open.

UConn could have defended this play if Smith had hedged on the screen and slowed down Vanzant while Lamb was fighting over the screen. This may have bought Lamb just enough time to bother the shot.

Howard could have combated that defense by rolling to the basket after setting the screen. As you can see in the above shot, that would not have worked, as Marshall had not cleared out from the paint after his cut. If he does, Howard has the option to roll to the rim and Butler has a counter for almost any defense UConn chooses to play.

Written by Joshua Riddell

May 29, 2011 at 6:58 pm

One Response

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  1. […] teams play smart offense that makes their job on the defensive end easier. Stevens is also a master of drawing up inbounds plays, something Celtic fans have come to expect from their club thanks to Doc Rivers. All this said, […]


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