2016 NBA Finals Ball Screen Sets by John Zall

2016 NBA Finals Ball Screen Sets

Written by John Zall

Twitter : @John_Zall John Zall BIO: Coach John Zall just completed his first season working for the Dallas Mavericks in their Player Development Department where they advanced to the First Round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs. Prior to joining the Mavericks, Coach Zall served as an Assistant Coach at Division II Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, NH for 2 seasons. During his 2 seasons there, Franklin Pierce University finished with a winning record and in 2014 advanced to the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament. Zall arrived at Franklin Pierce after spending the past 3 seasons as the Associate Head Coach/Head JV Coach at O’Bryant High school in Roxbury, MA. During his tenure at O’Bryant the program improved from 4 wins to 12 wins and qualified for the MIAA State Tournament twice. Coach Zall also has experience as an AAU Head Coach for the Boston Warriors. As Head Coach for the Warriors his team won the 2011 16U State Title and twice competed in AAU Nationals down in Orlando, FL. On top of being a student at Northeastern University, Zall was named Head Coach of the Men’s Club Basketball team for the 2012-13 season. During his lone season as Head Coach, Northeastern finished second in the Northeast Regional Tournament featuring colleges from throughout the East Coast. Coach Zall has also spent time as a Head Coach in the Bay State Games where his team won the Bronze Medal in 2012 and at various camps including: Five Star, Boston Celtics, NIKE, Franklin Pierce University, Hoop Group and The Elite 75.

June 14, 2016

2016 NBA Finals Ball Screen Sets (Exploiting Defensive Mis Matches) by John Zall

The Cavaliers and Warriors path to the 2016 Finals has been spearheaded by their juggernaut offenses. They rank first and second respectively in offensive efficiency for the 2016 Playoffs and at times have looked near impossible to guard.   These 2016 NBA Finals Ball Screen Sets will show how to exploit defensive mis-matches.

Part of a good offense is having a belief system and sticking to it but it’s also knowing when to make subtle adjustments at key times to exploit potential mis matches. The Cavaliers and the Warriors for all their Offensive prowess still each possess one large defensive liability amongst their core lineups.

The Warriors are led by 2 time league MVP Steph Curry and his incredible offensive repertoire. However on defense he tends to be considered a weak link, especially in lineups with multiple plus lineups. He is small in stature, no physically strong and is prone to fouling. The Cavaliers do a good job trying to run ball screens with whomever Curry is guarding in hopes of getting a switch. The optimal scenario for the Cavaliers is having Steph Curry guard LeBron James or the explosive Kyrie Irving in space.

2016 NBA Finals Ball Screen Sets

To achieve these optimal match ups the Cavs will get creative on offense. Often times they are having JR Smith, the teams’ starting Shooting Guard and Steph’s initial defensive matchup, set a ball screen for LeBron James or Kyrie Irving. The end result is either a switching or having a guard hedge a ball screen which is something they are not accustomed to doing. The numbers back up these tactics. According to Synergy Sports Steph Curry is allowing 1.167 points-per-possession (PPP) on offensive possession in which he’s guarding the screener in a ball screen. That ranks him 66th out of 72 possible qualifiers who have defended a minimum of 10 ball screens as a screener during the Playoffs.

The Warriors offense also looks to exploit mis matches, this time in the form of seeking out the much maligned Kevin Love. Despite what many may think, the Warriors are not a heavy ball screen team. According to Zach Lowe of ESPN only the New York Knicks set fewer ball screens this season than the Warriors. However in this series, the Warriors have tried to seek out Kevin Love as much as possible while he was on the court.

A Steph Curry ball screen is almost a pick your poison type scenario so teams have tried switching it to prevent a quick release 3 by Curry. What this means for the Cavs is that Kevin Love will have to guard Curry in space. If they try and corral him, Steph Curry will use his ball handling to get down hill and still wreak havoc. Per Synergy Sports Kevin Love has allowed .988 PPP on possessions where he was guarding the screener in a ball screen. That ranks him 55th out of 72 potential qualifiers. When they do switch and he has to guard them or anyone else for that matter in and Isolation, he is allowing 1.033 PPP, which ranks 49th out of 60 potential qualifiers for the playoffs.

Click on the pdf link to download the 2016 NBA Finals Ball Screen Sets (Exploiting Defensive Mis Matches):

2016 NBA Finals Ball Screen Sets (Exploiting Defensive Mis Matches) by John Zall

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