Critique of the NBA often surrounds the narrative of one player dribbling around then shooting. But when you have a 20-year old athlete whose combination of speed and size is already superior to most at his position, you take advantage of his one-on-one skills. And when that player loves to pass and relishes in the assist while always being a threat to score, it’s called basketball. Flip Saunders is a basketball coach and he often knows exactly what to do with John Wall.
Spread sets usually seem reserved for late-clock situations, and mostly true for the instances in the video below. Still, with Wall they can be implemented at just about any point of the game, depending on his surrounding personnel and the defensive match-ups the Wizards might want to exploit, of course. This clip of four plays all occurred in two games against the Golden State Warriors and Utah Jazz on the Wizards’ late March west coast road trip, and all came with around 70 seconds or less left in a period. Let’s watch…
Earl Watson, Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis… Sure, intimidating defenders they are not. But also, this is the NBA. Not many rookies can make these moves look so easy — an attack of the rim through trees, finding Yi Jianlian for a bounce pass in the paint, throwing the perfect lob to JaVale McGee, getting to the rim through a big man, making the basket, drawing a foul, and finishing with a muscle flex.
It’s a simple game that can be made even more simple with supreme athletes. And the spread set out of which these plays were run — sometimes with a man in the far right corner (Nick Young), but mostly with the guard extended on the right wing (Jordan Crawford)… depending on the shooting comfort spots of the respective players, I suppose — certainly has some more intricate options. But I won’t blame Wall’s teammates too much for standing around to watch him operate sometimes (as long as the guards remember to cover on defense, and as long as they’re always ready to receive the pass).
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em. And sometimes all you need is to spread ‘em for John Wall, put the ball in his hands, and let him initiate his point guard instinct. And now, some relatively crudely diagrammed looks at the spread clear-outs run for Wall using the FastDraw software from Fast Model Sports Technology.