[Some transition opportunities end with John Wall dunking and the other team watching, you're about to read about a different version of the break.]
Back in 1991, when I was playing varsity basketball and trying to fulfill my pseudo-NBA dreams, my coach used to always discuss his version of the perfect fast break. As he saw it, this would happen when one player grabbed the rebound, started the first of four passes without dribbles, and then the last player would lay the ball in the basket (nobody on our team could dunk). Our coach was so in love with this concept that he promised to take us out for ice cream if we ever achieved the milestone (we didn’t).
For years I’ve watched basketball on the professional and collegiate level, and every now and then, when I see the “perfect fast break,” I stop and marvel at its beauty. Then I think back to my high school coach and say to myself, “Wow, my coach was right, this IS the perfect way to run transition offense!”
On Tuesday, John Wall and Nick Young showed me a different light, making me believe there’s more than one way to run a perfect fast break.
With 57 seconds gone by in the fourth quarter, Sixers guard Evan Turner attempted to drive the lane, but Wall swiped the ball away–something he did nine times in his Verizon Center debut.
Then, as if Han Solo himself had made the command, Wall kicked into warp speed and started to glide up the court. He shunned the traditional wisdom that says a point guard should lead the fast break from the middle of the floor and chose to proceed from the left side.
Wall then kicked into yet another gear, as he had done so many times that evening, and drove to the hole from the left. The Sixers, also sensing they had seen this script before, collapsed on Wall, making it virtually impossible for him to get his shot off.
Wall left his feet, saw that a basket (by him anyway) was not going to happen, and kicked the ball out to the corner where Young had been standing all alone. Young took the ball, released it perfectly and swished it.
Mike Prada, of Bullets Forever and SB Nation DC fame, temporarily violated the “no-cheering-in-the-press box” rule that writers try to abide by and let out a “Yes!” However, to his credit, he was able to reel in his emotions and write this accurate tweet:
“For my mind, the prettiest play in basketball is the PG push for the corner three. That Wall push to Nick for the corner three – wow.”
We at Truth About It don’t like to brag, say I told you so, or blow our own collective horns, but we did actually get something right back in September during our player previews when we drew up the perfect play for Nick. Little did we know that Wall and Young would actually pull it off during a hotly contested game, and that it would eventually lead to their first victory of the season.
I wonder if I can find my high school coach and present this as a counterpoint to his argument…
The perfect fast break can be seen here (it starts at the 30 second mark, and ends at 41 seconds).
John Wall has his head up and his eye seeing the court.
He’s ready to ignite the fast break.