Tonight the Golden State Warriors take on Orlando at Oracle Arena. The headline news this morning was be prepared for a three point shootout. The game plan is simple, make them shoot twos and I’ll tell you how.
Orlando’s offense revolves around seven foot center Nikola Vucevic. He’s averaging 17.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, shooting 40% on threes while making 1.8 and the most telling stat of all is his 2.8 assists per game.
He has three primary positions on the offensive end of the court. One being the right block, another the right elbow and lastly the top of the key three. From the right block he does a couple of things, he sets cross-screens for shooters to maneuver around. Either curls or straight dashes to the corners. Also he posts up, and I know what you’d usually think about a player that posts up, you dig down on him to try and come up with a steal, make him pass or disrupt his shot. Here’s the twist. He doesn’t drop step, and is always looking to pass out to open three point shooters. So two being the magic number means don’t dig. You’re going to be able to keep them out of their game. Which is pass, pass, pass until there’s an open three. From the right elbow, he plays the pick and roll and the pick and pop. Don’t dig when they get the ball to him on the roll… again, you’re keeping them out of their offense. Lastly, he sets up at the top of the key three and is either looking to shoot or make a dribble hand-off and roll.
The Warriors have plenty of centers capable of guarding him one on one. I expect to see Coach Kerr use JaVale McGee off the bench tonight in particular.
I also have a few notes on local Aaron Gordon. He plays off the ball a lot and has switched from the traditional catch and shoot step in jumper to the hop. He’s getting his shot off from distance a lot quicker and is noticably more smooth on the shot. He’ll also give an up-fake with a rocker step and take what you give him with a one dribble left pull up jumper.
His most lethal weapon is his back-door cutting, and he does two things to set that up. One, he’ll use misdirection. A couple of steps going away from the rim then his hips explode like a cornerback and he’s by you throwing down a vicious two handed Luke Skywalker slam. Two, he seals you away from the hoop leaning on you until it’s time to go. Then he uses your body to propel him towards the basket, so don’t let him behind you.
Guys you can dig off of, whoever they play at point guard, but don’t get caught chasing. That’ll just fuel their extra pass attack, might as well put a body on someone and help out on the boards.
Don’t get sucked in, stay disciplined to these few tips and win going away.