View from the Clipboard: Beaubois Also Rises

Posted by Rob Mahoney on August 20, 2010 under Commentary | 12 Comments to Read

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).

Page 001

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.

Page 002

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.

Page 003

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.

Page 004

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.

Page 005

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.

  • Shawn Collenburg

    The genius of this play is using Dirk as a decoy. Even when defenses “know its coming” its hard to ignore the superstar in his pet spot. Even if defenses learn to stop RB & Dirk it won't be hard for Carlisle to add 3nd & 4rd options to this play.

    The downside to this play is that it takes a loong time to develop. If the play breaks down, the Mavs have at best 8 seconds left on the 24 second clock. This is particularly worrisome given the Mavs Achilles heel of light pressure on Kidd as he brings the ball upcourt (as shown by the Spurs in the '10 playoffs) and you're looking at an offense that will struggle against solid team defense.

  • tcat75

    And, if Dirk's man is smart enough to come off of him to guard the easy dunk, then Dirk gets a wide open 18 footer from straight away. That's pretty much money.

    • Rob Mahoney

      Great find, tcat.

  • John

    right on Rob. he can do it all

  • philip

    yeah, sure all teams have access to this footage… but no need to help them out! not cool, rob! still, good job.

  • Aleks

    The point about using Dirk as a decoy is important, just compare the first and second example in the video. In the second case, the man at the FT line extended is Butler (I think), and although he manages to block Beaubois' defender, his defender immediately cuts to the rim. The play still works, but it's close. Teams will leave Butler alone with a smaller defender, but not Dirk.

  • Aleks

    Okay, seeing it the second time I realise that the wing defender in the second example is Drew Gooden, then with the Clippers, who probably knew what's coming.

  • finzent

    I suspect the only good way of stopping this play is realizing what is going on and pressuring Kidd hard so that he can't make the pass. But that only works if Kidd's defender is smart and knows what's coming.

    • Rob Mahoney

      We've also seen bigs disrupt the lob itself. It happened in a regular season game against the Pistons if I'm not mistaken, though I don't have the video for it.

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