Offensive Staples: Washington Wizards Flare Screen
This offseason series will look at plays from each team that they relied on throughout the year and the variations they ran off each set. To see the rest of the series, click on the ‘Offensive Staples’ category at the end of this post.
The Washington Wizards had the lowest offensive rating in the NBA last season, scoring 100.2 points per 100 possessions. In the series of clips presented below, the Wizards get several good looks out of this flare screen action but have trouble converting the open shot. Don’t let that be a deterrent to the bigger point, which is the action that led to the shot.
The set begins with a pass from the wing to the top of the key. The passer (John Wall) then cuts baseline, where he receives a double screen. This gives the illusion that the play is designed for the player using the double screen but this cut just sets up the flare screen.
The next frame shows the cutter in the middle of using the two screens. Like many other teams, the Wizards switch this between a double screen and a staggered screen but the effect in the end is the same. When Wall comes off the second screen and catches the ball, several defenders take a step toward Wall. In the first set, the defender on the second screen (Kevin Garnett) and the defender guarding the pass (Jeff Green) take a step toward the pass, putting them out of position for the flare screen.
With Green taking a step toward Wall after he makes the catch, he is out of position when Martell Webster cuts toward the right sideline for the flare screen, set by Emeka Okafor. Okafor is able to take a few steps toward Green to set a better screen and give Webster plenty of space.
With the screen set by Okafor, his defender (Brandon Bass) is not able to step out on Webster or the paint will be wide open for Okafor. This is due to the fifth Wizard player clearing out of the lane which forces Bass to stay in the lane. Okafor is able to seek out Green, as he is a step behind Webster, which allows Okafor to majorly slow down Green. This gives Webster a great look to start the game.
The key to this play is that the Wizards sell the primary option being the player using the two screens and cutting to the wing. This forces several defenders to instinctively take a step toward that player, which allows the passer to set up his flare cut and get open for a three point shot. Although the Wizards have difficulty finishing the play with a basket in these clips, it is easy to see the action that led to the open shot.