Lots of people watch basketball. In fact 18 million people have watched the 2014 NBA finals. Therefore you tend to have a lot of fans who think because they have watched the nba for 20 years, they know how the game works. Well reality is, most don’t have a clue. Basketball was designed a specific way purposely. The dimensions of the floor and amount of players on the floor at a time isn’t happenstance. It was designed so that doing certain things certain ways will gain you an advantage over your opponent. Just like how we have physical laws, the law of gravity, the four laws of thermodynamics, etc. there are also laws that govern the game of basketball. Here are a few fundamental things that the Spurs are getting accomplished in this series that will give them the edge against Miami.
1. The pick and roll: the pick and roll or screen and roll is mostly used and thought about to allow a the offensive player with possession of the ball to have a split second of space from his defender to either pull up a shot or drive to the basket. And although this type of pick is very useful and important it is only the tip of the iceberg on how a pick can be used. Setting picks away from the ball is something that Coach Pop is having his players do in their offensive set that is paying exponential dividends for them. If you watch closely to the set that they run a lot of the time, it is designed so that Duncan/Splitter sets a pick for Diaw, Diaw then runs to the wing, setting a pick for Green or Leonard,or whomever is at that position. When the second screen is set, the player being screened for flashes the middle causing the defense to be in a mad scramble to decipher what player they should be guarding resulting in a 2 on 3 advantage at the hoop or the outside defense sinks in the try to help protect the basket leaving 2 shooters, wide open for a 3 point shot. Such a simple design, but if done the right way, it cannot be stopped.
2. Drive and dish: the drive and dish is another thing that the Spurs are doing right, contributing to the win of two finals games thus far. Too many times while watching the 2014 playoffs I see Lebron or Wade or Charmers bring the ball down the floor, dribble for ten seconds and then either shoot a contested 20 footer or make an out of control drive to the hoop resulting in a missed shot or turnover. Sure the one on one offense style will bring you a level of success if you just have enough natural skill or athleticism, but to win a 7 game series in the NBA finals it will simply not work. The Spurs in the series have continually pushed the ball to the basket by driving but their success doesn’t come by the drivers ability to finish at the hoop but by their willingness to drive to 8 feet, draw 2 defenders and make the bounce pass to the open guy cutting to the basket.
3. Give and go: the give and go is as simple as it sounds. It means if you pass the ball you move. So many times I see players on Miami standing around waiting to see what Lebrons going to do. They get the pass, throw it right back to Lebron and don’t move and inch. When you pass the ball you should immediately swing wide and beeline to the basket, if you don’t get the pass back, oh well, you fill the empty gap and everyone else rotates.
These are easy simple fundamental things that I could teach a 7 year old to do but yet these are the things that are putting the San Antonio Spurs in position to win basketball games like they are. In today’s age fans and players are all too focused on how pretty their jump shot is or how hard they can dunk a basketball. But in reality, and it’s been proven time and time again, the things the makes champions are the fundamentals designed at the dawn of the game.