Mike D'Antoni said something very interesting about his up-tempo offensive philosophies. He said that if you have the best team, why not try to give your players the most possessions possible. The theory being that the more times that Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash have to execute their offensive brilliance, the better it will be for his team since the opposition's talent won't be able to match them. If the game slows down, all of the sudden your margin for error shrinks and a handful of mistakes can cost you a game.
D'Antoni also said that he expects the Lakers to average around 110-115 points per game, which are numbers that haven't been reached since the Nash/Amare combo in Phoenix was broken up.
Those two things tell us that the Lakers will be playing at a very fast pace from now on, and despite the popular belief that their roster is too old to run, a free flowing offense is exactly what a veteran team wants in favor of a methodical offense like Boston runs which requires a lot of physical screening and post-up attempts. And having playmakers like Nash and Kobe together only makes this team more dangerous offensively because of his versatile they are coming off of pick-and-rolls. Nash is perhaps the greatest to ever operate a screen-and-roll and Bryant, because of his propensity to shoot, is a very underrated passer. Throw-in the most skilled big man in the league at power forward in Pau Gasol and the best finisher the league has seen since Shawn Kemp in Dwight Howard and we could have the makings of Showtime 2.0.
This play that I have designed would make good use of the cavalcade of skill players that the Lakers have. Because of the up-tempo offense the Lakers will be running, the play starts in semi-transition with Kobe handling the ball at the start. I have inserted Jodie Meeks into the line-up for Metta World Peace to add a true floor spacer. The shots that this set produces are all optimal ones based on these players career hotspots and you can run it several different ways with different players on the floor. It is best with this set up, though, with Kobe initiating the action, Nash bringing a ton of secondary concerns and Howard acting as the league's best roll man and lob catcher.
The play begins in semi-transition. Gasol sets a screen for Kobe on the left wing and roles to the rim. On the weakside, Jodie Meeks is setting a downscreen for Steve Nash to cut out of the corner and up to the top of the key. The goal here is to get Kobe a mid-range jumper or get the ball to Nash to intiate a high pick-and-roll or for him to shoot a three.
Kobe clears to the left corner, with Gasol setting a screen for him as he cuts using the baseline. If his man gets caught, Nash can find him in the corner. Meanwhile, Dwight Howard comes up from the right block to set a high screen for Nash.
Dwight sets a screen for Nash and rolls straight to the rim. Nash dribbles to the left elbow. After setting that screen for Kobe, Pau comes up to the foulline and sets a backscreen on Dwight's man. Depending on how the defense defended that pick-and-roll, the result may be a lob.
First of all, if the lob is not open, Nash can shoot the pull-up jumper. If Nash doesn't shoot, or if Kobe's man steps up to prevent the shot, Nash kicks to Kobe. If Pau's man sags to stop Dwight on the roll, Nash can hit Gasol for a mid-range jumper. If Meeks' man rotates to Gasol, he makes the easy swing pass to the corner. Additionally, if Meeks' man is the one that sags into the paint to stop the lob, Nash can intiiate the same set of passes by swinging to Gasol who then swings to Meeks. Gasol can also hit Howard with a high-low post entry pass if Howard can seal his man quickly if the lob is shut down. Finally, if he so chooses, Nash can keep his dribble alive and drive baseline, attempting to create a passing lane to Meeks himself.
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