Steve Kerr Winner Play
Here is 9.6 seconds left on the clock with the ball. Down 1. No Kevin Durant. No Klay Thompson. Season on the line. What is Steve Kerr going to draw up in the timeout to get Steph Curry the ball? There is no question in anyone’s mind that the ball was going to go to anyone else. The Steve Kerr Winner play was outstanding.
What Kerr drew up should seem familiar to NBA fans. Depending on how closely you follow the NBA, you will have seen this play run before. Depending on whom you ask, the person who first ran it may differ. Some say Željko Obradović, one of the European greats and coach of Fenerbahce was the first one to run it. The first time I saw it, team Canada was running it. Most credit Brad Stevens for its origin, or at least popularizing it throughout American basketball. Stevens has been running it since his days at Butler, and he gave it no more fitting name for a play you run with 5 seconds or less, down 2, “Winner.”
The basic structure and execution are fairly simple. It is a misdirection play designed for your best shooter. The ball is lobbed to the weak side for a catch. While people are focused on the pass, a big screens away bringing the shooter to the now ball side on the catch for a quick pass and catch-and-shoot. It’s standard (or most common) alignment is a box (or some version of a box). I think that the Steve Kerr winner play was pure genius.
9.6 seconds left. The Warriors came out in a distorted box. Green down screens for Curry bringing him to the top. Cook cross screens underneath for Green taking him away from ball side. Igoudala floats a lob across the court for Green. On the catch, Cousins screens across the top for Curry. Green pass. Curry catches and shoots. Shot no good. Well drawn. Well executed. Ball just didn’t go in. Game over. Season over. “Winner”…just not this time.