Wizards Guarding Ball Screens & The Deron Williams S-Cut | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Wizards Guarding Ball Screens & The Deron Williams S-Cut

Updated: December 28, 2011

[Versus the Wizards, Deron Williams takes the double screen and dribbles in an ‘S’
around the hedging defense as the four rolls and options open at the hoop.]

The ball screen defense of the Wizards against the New Jersey Nets was sub par, to say the least. Also, Deron Williams is good. Nothing new.

“He just comes off pick and rolls good, and if the big is not there to show or help, he can pick you apart any type of way,” said John Wall when asked what made Williams so hard to defend. “He started making tough, contested shots, and when an All-Star player like that starts making tough, contested shots, there’s nothing you can do.”

When Wall was pressed about who needs to do more against screens, bigs or guards, he said, “The bigs is doing the best they can and hedging as much as possible,” retreating, somewhat. “When you got a guy that can probe his way through lane and keeps the ball a lot, and can split through a defense with no problem, that’s what it is. We did a great job of trying to contain him, he just made tough shots splitting the defense.”

“To guard Deron Williams, the people who have to guard him is your bigs. Because they a run pick-and-roll just about every time, and your big has to be in help situation,” said Flip Saunders after Monday’s game, giving credit to Andray Blatche for his work early, and Ronny Turiaf for his work late.

After practice on Tuesday, Saunders was asked about what he saw defending ball screens against New Jersey and what adjustments would he make going into the Atlanta game. His answer, also in the video above:

“The biggest thing, JaVale’s [McGee] got to get better. I think JaVale got a little bit winded and tired and he wasn’t up on his guy. We actually did a pretty good job on ball screens when Dray was involved defending it, when Ronny was involved defending it. But when JaVale’s out there, they really exploited JaVale. He did some things early, but as the game went on, he got a little bit tired, and wasn’t up on the screen. Williams just kept on playing with it and using that S-Cut off of that screen, and giving us some problems. We just got to be a little bit stronger at the point of attack of the screen.”

Remember that one play in the Wizards-Nets game where people couldn’t tell if Williams missed a lay-up over an out-stretched JaVale McGee arm, or if it was a soft lob to Kris Humphries (who dunked the miss or pass)? The stat keeper counted it as a miss, but the entire successful sequence was Williams working his S-Cut magic, diagrammed above and shown in the video below.

Granted, McGee was not solely responsible for the defensive breakdown, it actually was a team effort, including Blatche and Wall. Still, there were plenty instances when Williams easily played with the ball — and Wall certainly got caught chasing him a couple times — but one possession that surely stood out in the coach’s hour-long film session he put the team through on Tuesday came with about 8:30 left in the third. Johan Petro set a ball screen for Williams at the top of the key, McGee remained planted far away at the free-throw line. Williams hit the three and brought the Nets to within 53-51. There’s no excuse to not help on a superstar shooter like that. Check out the video below at the one minute mark to see the case example. For more Deron Williams S-Cut work on an out-of-bounds play, check the diagram below the video.


Deron Williams passes the ball in bounds from under the basket to the 4 on the wing who passes it up top. Williams then makes an S-Cut around the five and the four to get open in the corner and receive a pass for a three-pointer. Williams missed in this instance with 7:28 left in the first quarter.

Xs & Os courtesy of the FastDraw software from Fast Model Sports Technology.

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.