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Explain One Play: Draymond Green to Klay Thompson Backdoor Layup

A look at how the W’s put two actions together to get Klay a backdoor layup in the Knicks-Warriors game on Dec 15, 2016.

New York Knicks v Golden State Warriors
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Do you remember early in Klay Thompson’s career when he had trouble making layups? “Klay-Ups”? He’s getting plenty of practice now. Here’s a quick look how the W’s got Klay a backdoor layup in the Knicks-Warriors game on Dec 15, 2016.

I like this simple play because it sequences two of the actions we’ve been talking about in the series. Let’s run the play. Can you identify the two options?

Option 1. Back screen from Thompson for Green

The first part of the play is a quick backscreen from Thompson for Draymond Green letting Green rip cut to the basket. But the vengeful Kristaps Porzingas gets through the screen. When a shooter like Thompson (or more often Stephen Curry) nails a big defender with a screen, it is effective since the shooter’s man doesn’t want to switch (or it may not even occur to them). For instance, here was a memorable one from earlier this year, where Curry sets a left elbow back screen for Kevin Durant.

In tonight’s version, Draymond doesn’t get free, so they flow into a second option.

Further Reading

Option 2. Next-level split cut, the dive/pop

This is the new version of the old Warriors core play, the post-cross split cuts. The old version had one shooter screen for another. The problem is that this is defeated by defenders switching assignments. The new version has two players run towards each other and suddenly one dives to the basket, one pops out for a catch-and-shoot. I call this dive/pop action.

Here’s an example from this year:

Green and Curry come together, Green dives, Curry pops out. And Green dunks.

Furthe Reading: Explain One Play: Durant Reverse Dunk and Curry 3 from Next Level Split Cuts

All Together Now

Here’s the play again, so you can review how it really is a backscreen for a rip cut, which flows into a dive/pop action.

What I like about this is that it looks audibled (or at least like the kind of play you can audible). You can see Thompson feed Green in the low post and call for the screen with his hand signal to Ian Clark. Clark gathers with Thompson, and first he dives before popping out. That’s either a very convincing fake, or he’s reading what Thompson does (dive or pop) so he can do the other option.

Final Thoughts

I live tweeted the game from Oracle, and here is the Tweetage.

  • Tonight's Steph-Ian warm-up was bowling at human pin / throw out first pitch / football cross pattern / volleyball mime.
  • Also Shaun and Ian wearing ugly Sager shirts in memory.
  • Now Klay corner 3s getting rebounded by Andy using only his feet (soccer kick return feed). All the hard hitting news here.
  • Palpably downbeat mournful vibe tonight. Sagar, traffic and torrential rain outside (literally) dampening attendance...
  • Fun ragged start. My section is 1/3rd Knicks fans. NYK fans resale subsidizing season ticket holders. Wonder if new arena will have PSLs.
  • Note that JaVale is off, may see actual basketball. Up till now W's only allowed to score on JaVale alley-oops.
  • W's are in full mess-around mode. As I write this. KD plays 1.5 possessions w one shoe.
  • After Q1, had returning soldier reunite w family. Odd night. For halftime Red Panda will juggle while apologizing to those she's wronged.
  • Bored W's always play concept games. Like All JaVale Dunks. Then Pass In Paint As Close To Knicks As Possible. Then Curry Only Tries Passes.
  • Warriors Rip with Pass Near Knicks Head.
  • Curry playing w Ghost Ship shoes. Sager. Storm. Reunion. T-shirt hype guy came to section. No one stood. Lowest energy Oracle game ever.
  • Halftime youth game. For last minute they release 3 random other players to cause chaos. It's an odd night.
  • Dubs playing quarter-assed bball trying to set assists record vs Knicks team from alt reality where Phil trades Melo for triangle prospects.
  • KD now repeatedly practicing elbow jumper release of 80 degrees. It's an odd game.
  • This is not boring, but W's engines down to one-sixth-assed effort.
  • I think Curry is trying to set a record for total distance of assist passes.
  • They showed Tim Roye on kiss cam. It's an odd night.
  • On a serious note, W's quite unprepared to handle KD getting double teamed. That's how W's defended OKC KD in 4th Q.
  • Ooooooh I finally get it. Dubs trying to get three triple-doubles in one game. Explains excessive over passing. And missed layups.

If you want to read more video breakdowns — one for almost every Warriors’ win since 2015 — check out the rest of the series of Explain One Play articles. For the full,updated index, go to The Explain One Play series index.

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