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Explain One Play: How KD creates for Steph without the pick-and-roll

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Kerr thinks pick-and-rolls and isolation plays make the team passive. Here’s an alternate play where Kevin Durant can create for Stephen Curry and others. Watch the Warriors run and re-run this play to come back against the Dallas Mavericks on Feb 6 2018.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks
Do I look good? Yeah, you look good.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It’s known that Warriors head coach Steve Kerr doesn’t like running the Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant pick-and-roll. He did pull it out a bunch in 2017 Finals Game 5 — but reluctantly.

I’ve covered elsewhere why he doesn’t want to overdo it:

The point is, this play is not a cheat code that has destroyed the NBA. It’s a good simple option, but can be defended if run all the time and it unbalances the team. This could be mere correlation, but it’s striking how Klay Thompson’s shooting slump seemed to coincide with Mike Brown’s head coaching stretch, where the team heavily relied on pick and roll basketball. It’s easier to take someone like Klay out of the game if his role is to stand around spacing.

It was only the special circumstances of the Cavaliers defensive scheme that led to the Warriors using the fabled Curry – Durant pick and roll so much, so don’t expect to see it much next year, except for in its Use Only In Emergency case for the Warriors’ title defense.

So, if you don’t pick-and-roll and you don’t isolate, what plays can you run to use Curry’s and Durant’s gravity?

One play the Warriors have introduced this year is what I’ve called Double Punch. I covered it in three Explain One Play articles last calendar year. It’s a wing double-screen flowing into a post passing play flowing into a post-up isolation.

The Warriors ran it several times to make a push against the Mavericks in a recent game, with Curry, Durant and Kevon Looney. Here’s a video of some different options, and the cat-and-mouse game with Kerr against Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, as the Warriors change the play each time that Dallas adjusts.

KD Creates For Steph

Kerr thinks pick and rolls and isolations make the team passive. Here's an alternate play where Kevin Durant can create for Stephen Curry and others. Watch GSW run and re-run this play to come back against the Dallas Mavericks last week. By @EricApricot. See full articles at http://tinyurl.com/ericapricot

Posted by Golden State of Mind on Sunday, February 11, 2018

(alternate YouTube video)

Just as Golden State withheld the Durant-Curry pick-and-roll for most of last year, I suspect the maximum form this play could take will have Klay Thompson in the role played by Kevon Looney here (and Jordan Bell, in the past). That would allow a proper dive-pop action between Curry and Thompson and put the team’s best three attackers in the same action. We haven’t seen it this year (that I noticed), so I’m still looking forward to it.