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Explain One Play: Warriors + Floppy = Klay Thompson three

Video analysis of the Floppy set, which the Warriors used to get Klay Thompson the game-sealing 3 against the Kings.

Showtime on Easter Island.
Showtime on Easter Island.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings game was a real scrappy, flowless game and the Golden State Warriors couldn't get consistent offense all game. Late in the Kings game with the Dubs up three with under three minutes left, the Warriors ran two Floppys to seal the game.

What is a Floppy play?

No, it's not a play where the execution is loose and sloppy.  Basically every NBA team runs some version of a Floppy play. At its core, a Floppy action is one where the ball is at the top, a shooter gets under the basket, and two screens are set at each side of the lane. The shooter can choose to use the screen on the left or right.

The Warriors Guard The Floppy

Here is a memorable use of the Floppy.  In the 2015 Finals, do you remember when J.R. Smith went nova for a half in Game 5? It's because the Cavaliers ran a simple Floppy play for him over and over.

The camerawork isn't great, but here you can see all the elements of a standard Floppy.

J.R. Smith sets up under the basket, guarded by Klay Thompson. He has a screen on each side. J.R. fakes going to his right, and curls out to the left getting a screen to bump Klay off of him. He drains the three.

The Cavaliers ran the Floppy for J.R. Smith 14 times that game, with great effectiveness before halftime, but J.R. did not score on the play after half time.  What changed?  I imagine Ron Adams reminded the Warriors that they were good at switching assignments and that they should cooperate to stop the Floppy, damn it.

So here is a typical Floppy after halftime. J.R. brings it up, but hands off to Matthew Dellavedova. He then turns it into a sort of triple screen loop, when he goes under the basket, but doesn't stop, and instead curls at top speed.  When you watch this play, can you find the moment J.R.'s defender Shaun Livingston calls for a switch? Who switches on to Smith?

Did you see Shaun Livingston pointing and yelling at Leandro Barbosa to switch?  As soon as Barbosa switches, his man Iman Shumpert alertly clears to the corner. This triggers a savvy but chaotic switch by Harrison Barnes onto Shumpert which forces a miss, and also puts himself and Livingston on the floor.

One of my favorite things about this play is a drum I've been beating for a while. I love Stephen Curry's rebounding. He's not as gifted a rebounder as, say, the athletic Russell Westbrook, but he just has a way of sneaking in there for key boards. In this case, Barnes's hustle has taken him and Livingston out of the play. If the Cavs get the rebound, they are playing 5 on 3. As soon as Stephen Curry sees Barnes is going to switch, he beats James Jones to rebounding position and boxes him out for a crucial rebound.

The Warriors Run The Floppy

You can imagine this could be an effective play for the Warriors, given the existence of Klay Thompson and Curry.  The Warriors have their own version of the Floppy that I've never seen another team run. It is very entertaining to watch and also tries to take advantage of having two good shooters.

In the Warriors version, Klay and Steph both start under the basket (already a bit unusual to run a double floppy) and (here's the very unusual part) basically orbit each other, sometimes locking arms and generally spin around Three Stooges style and try to run their defenders into each other. Then suddenly, one of them flies out and uses a screen. Sometimes the other one will use the other screen as a second option.

The Floppy Flops

In the following play, the Dubs are up three with under three minutes left. Notice the floppy action with Steph and Klay causing chaos under the basket, and then Curry bolting out using the screen on the left. The play is well guarded, which leads to Curry and Draymond Green improvising a second option.

Rajon Rondo reads the play quickly, and goes into high gear to follow Curry around the screens (nearly taking out his own man) and he denies the shot. Curry and Green flow into a simple give-and-go action, which is deflected (by Rondo I think) and in the ensuing scrum, Green comes up with the ball and muscles the ball in.  Great defense by Rondo, great effort by Green.

The Floppy Rocks

Just one play later, the Warriors run the Floppy again. This time, they put two twists into it.  First, they start it with Curry running into it and Klay setting a third screen on Rondo. (This is similar to how the second J.R. Smith Floppy above was run.)  Rondo is too wise for this and he evades all screens and catches up to Curry. (When Rondo is engaged and not deep in some psychodrama, he is a really talented defender.)  But the Warriors have built in a second option into the Floppy...

Yes, while Curry uses the left Floppy screen and drags everyone's attention with him, Klay uses the right Floppy screen and gets wide open for a three pointer which seals the game.

Final Notes

I'm hoping to keep doing these One Play items. For these first few, I've gone into more detail on the plays so that we can use these as a reference in discussing future plays. In future games, these may get much shorter, and I might just discuss a play and say "this is a great Floppy play (see here for a reminder about Floppys)".

So far we've covered

This is a pretty good chunk of the Warriors Playbook. I am still hoping to discuss this year:

  • 7 Seconds or Less Fast Break, Early Offense (high pick and roll), "21" or Pistol Action
  • Spurs Motion Weak
  • Triangle Curling Around the Post and Speed Cuts off the post
  • Several Cool Warriors Out of Bounds Plays
  • Several great plays where Curry (or Klay) sets a screen for a dunk
  • and whatever new plays they add.
And that will handle the large majority of the known Warriors offensive playbook.

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