Digital Chalkboard: Arizona dribble handoff
In their opening night win against Valparaiso, Arizona did a superb job of forcing tough shots on defense but they also showed some positive actions on offense. They ran this dribble handoff play several times last night and got several open jump shots out of this set.
The play starts with a pass from Jordin Mayes to Nick Johnson on the wing. Jesse Perry sets a backscreen for Mayes, then turns and sets a ball screen for Johnson. With the Valparaiso defending hedging hard on the screen, Johnson has no path to the rim, so Arizona goes into the dribble handoff part of the set. They do not get flustered when the initial option is defended but have a second action ready.
Mayes has circled around to the corner after cutting through the lane off the backscreen. With Johnson going across the court toward him instead of toward the rim, that is his cue to curl around Johnson for the dribble handoff. As is the case in most handoffs, as Johnson hands the ball off, he sets himself up to set a semmi-screen on Mayes’ defender as he hands the ball off. This gives Mayes an opening as he comes around Johnson with the ball.
Arizona adds a unique wrinkle to their handoffs, as they then use Angelo Chol to set a second screen for Mayes on the handoff. Valparaiso’s defense is scrambling after the handoff, as Mayes’ defender ran into Johnson on the handoff and Johnson’s defender was scrambling back to Johnson after being screened by Perry. This left Mayes wide open and gave Chol nobody to screen initially, although he did get a piece of a defender who had no chance to challenge the jump shot.
I like this set because it opened with a side pick and roll option and once that was not open, Arizona had a second a back-up option with the dribble handoff. The spacing is set up so that the offensive players (Johnson and Chol in this scenario) tangle up the defense to create space for Mayes. Great execution to get Mayes open for the long 2 point jump shot.