2013 EuroBasket: Latvia Quick Hitter
With the FIBA EuroBasket tournament underway in Slovenia and with six spots available for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, we’ll look at some offensive and defensive strategies from this tournament. Follow along on ESPN3.
Latvia opened up their 2013 EuroBasket campaign with a convincing 11 point win over Bosnia and Herzegovina. They showed some very nice sets in their offense and showed creativity and discipline to get some easy baskets near the rim.
In the middle of the first quarter, Latvia opened up a half court set in a formation that closely resembles the HORNS formation, with two big men at the elbows and two guards in the corners. The point guard dribbles the ball to the right wing to initiate the action, while the big men set pindown screens for the guards.
This frame shows the guards using these pindown screens to continue the action. The point guard makes the pass across the court to the guard using the screen on the left side of the court, while the strong side guard uses the screen to cut across the middle of the lane to eventually receive a pass on the left side.
The guard who has cut across the lane receives the pass from his backcourt teammate, catches it and turns to face the basket on the left wing. The big man who set the initial weakside screen set a second screen for this player to get free from his defender.
The key decision to make comes at this juncture for the player with the ball. In this scenario, he has three options depending on what the defense gives him. He can drive to the lane if the screener’s defender does not step out, dump the ball off to the screener or try the lob pass to the guard from the top of the key using the backscreen.
In this case, the screener’s defender hedged as the Latvian player caught the ball and was ready to attack the basket. This allowed the screener an open lane to the rim off his cut after the screen. Due to the backscreen that was going to be set at the top of the key and the spacing in the far corner of the fifth player, the lane was wide open.
The pass to the cutter was a sloppy one but the paint was so wide open that there was time to collect the pass, gather himself and finish the layup. This is a creative play and was well executed by the Latvian offense.
This set works because of the multiple screens leading up to a spot where the offense has three valid options. Don’t be surprised to see Latvia run this set again in this tournament with a completely different outcome, depending on how the defense rotates and is positioned. The ball handler on the right side might have a lane to drive toward the baseline or the back cut may be open for a lob to the front of the rim.