Game P1: DEN-GSW. Quick notes on Steve Kerr's new schemes and the new players

Basketball is back!

Here are a lot of scattered thoughts. But first, the highlights.

Post Game Thoughts

  • Just went through video of DEN-GSW to pick up the new plays. Only one really new, that HORNS set I tweeted before (see In-Game Notes below). I saw a base version and three options. Will make video of it some time...

  • This team is fun to watch. Energetic defense, pushing the pace, improvisation in space…

  • I don’t mind Steph playing at 20% intensity on offense for the start of preseason. But GSW will need to practice playing off a higher usage Steph for the team to be its best.

  • All the early sets have been handoffs on the wings, none of the classic post split cuts (yet). And to be honest for simple split cuts, after a year the league figured out the D should just switch, so you have to run three man splits which take longer to install.

  • They did actually run some three man splits, out of High HORNS and also what I used to call Delay Dive-Pop. This is variation of an old play that Draymond, Looney and KD used to run. I’ve analyzed it thoroughly before: Explain One Play: Durant Reverse Dunk and Curry 3 from Next Level Split Cuts and Explain One Play: Kevin Durant Passes For Curry Layup and Looney Dunk are two examples.

  • Every one seemed to have the green light to iso drive from the wing as long as you did it fast. Then if you can’t make something, swing it to the top for a quick dribble handoff from a curl on the weak side.

  • Oubre had 3 blocks and they all felt like season highlights. Sure at least two were because he got beat backdoor, but hey, he made up for it.

  • Wanamaker is a solid backup. But the offense definitely skewed to straight wing pick and roll with him.

  • Wiggins actually looked okay running some of the wing pick and rolls. He made a couple of good passes in traffic, or kicking to open shooters.

  • Of course I like Mulder and have since last year. He made 2 threes just on catch and shoots, then off a high horns PNR pop, then -- the ultimate respect -- at Q4.2.46 Kerr runs a Klay play for Mulder. (Fake high PNR slip into pin down curl catch and shoot)

  • But then they ran the same play for Damion two plays later, so maybe it wasn't as special as I'm thinking.

  • I'm still learning the plays, but I think Baze was out of position on a few. But made up for it with energy, chaos and pulling scores out of garbage.

  • Nico played okay I thought -- except for the obvious inability to hit a jumper. Some were because he couldn't blow by a guy, some were good shots. His passes were on the hands and on time for four 3s from Mulder and Damion. His D hard to tell since was matched on 5-11 Campazzo.

  • I think this is kind of sad, but I’m glad GSW got out to a big lead and eventually won. I know the game is meaningless, but it still is a feeling we’ve lacked for a long time.

Other In-Game Thoughts

  • GSW look rusty of course but watchable. Certainly not shy about firing the threes

  • And lots and lots of energetic D with fast counter attacks

  • I haven’t been charting the game but feels like maybe 3 HORNS sets, a few wing handoffs, no Steph PNR, I think the first real PNR was side PNR for Wanamaker

  • I like this HORNS set I think they’ve run maybe thrice. Feed right elbow big from top, down screen for left elbow who gets a handoff and can shoot from wing or curl into a drive. Left elbow (I think) has been Oubre, Baze. So guys that can do damage driving in a mess from wing

  • I think that was consecutive wing PNR for Poole-Chriss? Then a very calm read from Poole passing out of the corner for an open wing 3. Pretty fun to watch even though Steph has touched the ball for maybe a total of ten seconds

  • Haha Smiley with a dominant minute there. Hung Poole out to dry for a TO, got burned in drop coverage, had a vigorous steal in drop again, took it down court and just kept going and just lumbered the ball in over Jokic

  • By the way I’m watching on a tiny tiny screen so sometimes I’m guessing which player is which haha

  • Okay start of Q3 same formation, Steph down screen for left elbow but pops out instead. Overplayed, back cuts, casually with the sweeeet layup

  • They also let Oubre run a wing PNR which went nowhere

  • Oubre with a great block but then stops play to check on fallen blockee while play continues

  • Steph with a very amorphously screened high horns PNR ending in a self indulgent loooong 3.

  • Chriss dies on a screen by little Murray and Jokic gets a wide open J. Competed harder to jam a Jokic back door but too hard. Free throws.

  • Most worrying about Smiley is on about five straight possessions on D he didn’t get arms up to contest layups. Offset three straight 3s by Mulder and Damion

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