It didn’t take long for Mavs fans to latch on to Rodrigue Beaubois. It was more than just the usual rookie intrigue; from the moment Beaubois stepped on the floor a Maverick, he was a scoring sensation, bending and breaking the limits of our expectations with every bucket. One designed play embodied Beaubois’ allure perfectly: the point guard-to-point guard alley-oop. The sequence showcased Beaubois’ athleticism and Kidd’s impeccable timing, but more importantly, it worked. Very well, in fact. So well that the Mavs ran it fairly frequently — or at least, as frequently as you would run a lob play for a 6-foot-2 guard — and far more often than not, Kidd’s oop found Beaubois right at the basket.
Of course as the season went on, and teams grew wiser and wiser to Beaubois’ leaping abilities as well as Kidd’s intentions, Dallas ran the play less and less. It was broken up here or there by this team or that, and when Beaubois was buried in the rotation mid-season, so too was the play.
The sequence is easily identifiable (not many Maverick sets trigger with the same hand-off action on the wing) though, and for little purpose other than re-living one of Beaubois’ first NBA highlights, we’ll break down the set-up using FastDraw.
Note: The numbers do not indicate positions, but actual jersey numbers. For this example, the Mavs’ lineup will consist of Kidd (#2), Beaubois (#3), Dirk Nowitzki (#41), Shawn Marion (#0), and Brendan Haywood (#33).
The play begins with Kidd bringing the ball up on the left side of the floor, while the other four players remain stationary. Kidd hands off the ball to Beaubois, and begins to cut toward the baseline.
Nowitzki sets a pick for Kidd, who attempts to brush his man off on Nowitzki’s screen. From there he continues to cut baseline, heading toward Marion on the opposite wing.
Marion sets a similar brush screen for Kidd, who rounds the corner and heads back out to the perimeter while Haywood runs interference with another screen. Keep in mind that the purpose of these picks isn’t really to free up Kidd as it is to draw the attention of the defense. If the Mavs are running three screens for Kidd, it seems clear that they want him open in a specific spot. In a sense they do, but the screens here, while certainly beneficial in executing the play, are largely misdirection.
Beaubois dribbles to the top of the key as Kidd cuts up the sideline, positioning himself to make a simple feed back to Kidd.
Kidd receives the easy pass from Beaubois, likely with his man still trailing behind. At this point, the play resembles a set designed to open up Kidd for a three-pointer, but he doesn’t shoot. A defense may misread this as early success, thinking that they’ve botched the Mavs’ primary option on this play. Dirk heads to the free throw line extended, as he often does when the Mavs’ sets break down. Beaubois, after making the pass back to Kidd, begins to drift back to his prior spot on the left side of the floor.
Rather than receive the ball at the elbow, Nowitzki is another decoy. He sets a screen on Beaubois’ man at the elbow, and Beaubois darts toward the basket while the defense watches Kidd and Dirk. The opposing bigs are likely with Nowitzki, who is moving in the opposite direction, and Haywood, who is standing on the right wing. This allows Beaubois to cut to the rim, and finish with an undeterred slam.