In this post, we will look at the play called "Strong"
Each number represents a pass.
1. Richard Jefferson passes ahead to Tony Parker:
- Parker pushes the ball ahead as the "ball handler."
- Kawhi Leonard fills the "strong-side wing"
- while Jefferson moves to the "weak-side wing"
- DeJuan Blair fills the "post" position
- Tim Duncan fills the "trailer"
2. Parker swings the ball to Duncan.
When the ball handler swings the ball up top to the trailer and remains on the strong-side of the floor, this pass initiates the "Strong" action:
- The first action in Strong is for the post to duck in towards the basket. The trailer to look for a hi-low pass to the post man who ducks in
Chris Bosh decides to front Blair. As Duncan receives the ball, Blair does a good job sealing Bosh giving Duncan plenty of space for the hi-low pass. Blair sinks the quick hook shot.
1. Cory Joseph brings the ball up and swings the ball to Tiago Splitter, initiating the Strong action.
- Matt Bonner in the post to duck in
- Strong-side wing Richard Jefferson step fakes his defender towards the baseline
- After swinging the ball to the trailer, the ball handler Joseph moves towards Jefferson to set a downscreen
2. Splitter swings the ball to the weak-side wing, Gary Neal
- After the trailer swings the ball to the weak-side wing, the trailer moves to set another downscreen for the strong-side wing
- Strong-side wing comes off the double screen set by the ball handler and trailer
3. Weak-side wing passes to strong-side wing up top after coming off the double screen
Marion goes under Spiltter's screen. The sagging Mavericks defense allows for an easy pass to the wide open Jefferson. Jefferson steps into the pass and knocks down the in rhythm jumper.
1. Tony Parker swings the ball to Matt Bonner, initiating the Strong action:
- Blair in the post ducks in
- Strong-side wing Danny Green step fakes his defender towards the baseline
- Ball handler Tony Parker sets a downscreen for Green after swinging the ball to Bonner
2. Bonner swings the ball to weak-side wing Kawai Leonard
- Bonner moves down to set the second screen for Green
- Green comes off the double screen
3. Leonard feeds Green on the move
Jason Terry is caught trailing Green through the double screen. Green takes a hard dribble to get by his defender then rises up to sink the floater over the contest of Ian Mahinmi.
1. The ball handler Patrick Mills swings the ball up top to the trailer Tiago Splitter keying the Strong action:
- Bonner ducks in
- Manu Ginobili step fakes towards the baseline
- Mills sets the first downscreen
2. Spiltter swings the ball to the weak-side wing Stephen Jackson
- Splitter sets the second screen
- Manu comes off the double
3. Jackson feeds Manu up top off the double
From here, the Spurs move into a spread pick and roll. Manu momentarily draws both his defender and Splitter's. Splitter rolls hard to the basket. None of the Cleveland defenders are willing to help off the Spurs deadly perimeter spot up shooters and Splitter finishes the wide open layup.
Once the strong-side wing has come off the double he has multiple options on both sides of the floor. Before we saw the Spurs flow into a pick and roll. Now lets look at the built in options of the play.
Here we see another Strong action and pick up after Leonard has come off the double screen:
- After setting the first screen for the strong-side wing, the ball handler continues towards the weakside of the floor
- After passing the ball up top to the strong-side wing coming off the double, the weak-side wing moves down toward the baseline
From here, the ball handler and weak-side wing enter a two man screening game known as the "gaggle." There are numerous options to run out of the gaggle: the weak-side wing can set a down screen for the ball handler, the ball handler can set a back pick for the weak-side wing to get to the basket,
The post man can also get involved in the gaggle: the post and weak-side wing can set a double screen for the ball handler, the post can seal his defender for a post up, the ball handler can set a back pick for the weak-side wing then receive a screen from the post in a screen the screener action.
In this case, the ball handler Cory Joseph goes towards the gaggle and receives a down screen from the weak-side wing Danny Green. Splitter gets pushed off the block but is able to seal his man. Joseph feeds Splitter and cuts while Matt Bonner sets a squeeze back screen for Leonard. As Joseph cuts to the corner, Green drifts up to the wing. Lebron helps off Bonner on Splitter's dribble. Spliter skip passes to Green who swings the ball to Joseph. Unfortunately the shot is off, but the Spurs showed their trademark patient ball movement to generate an open corner three (the most efficient jump shot in basketball).
If the gaggle is not available, the strong-side wing has another option.
Again we pick up after the strong-side wing, this time Danny Green, has received the ball off the double screen:
The gaggle hasn't developed, so Green enters the ball into the trailer Tim Duncan, who has settled at the elbow after setting the second screen for Green. The two get into a two man game. This elbow two man game is a drill that the Spurs constantly practice. Much like the gaggle, this two man game has numerous options. The typical drill setup has the trailer run a dribble hand off ("DHO") to the strong-side wing then cut hard to the basket. If the strong-side wing can't hit the rolling trailer, the strong-side wing can come off the DHO to the corner and run a side pick and roll with the trailer.
Here Duncan shuffle passes to the cutting Green wing and screens the cutter's defender in the process. Joel Anthony leaves Duncan to help and Green settles for a tough flat angle floater.
- When the ball handler swings the ball to the trailer and stays on the strong-side of the floor, this pass initiates "Strong." The ball handler then moves to set a down screen for the strong-side wing. The ball handler continues on to the weak-side of the floor towards the "gaggle"
- Post man ducks in looking for the hi-low pass
- Trailer swings the ball to the weak-side wing, then sets a second screen for the strong-side wing, then waits at the elbow
- Strong-side wing step fakes his defender and goes off the double screen
- Weak-side wing passes to up top to the strong-side wing, then moves down to set up the gaggle
From here the strong-side wing has two options:
- Find an open player off the gaggle
- Enter the ball into the trailer in the elbow to execute the DHO two man game
If all else fails, the Spurs can freely flow into a pick and roll attack.