View from the Clipboard: Elemental Surprise

Posted by Rob Mahoney on November 30, 2010 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

Over the last few games, Rick Carlisle has unveiled an interesting choice for go-to offense to commence each game: a set designed to open up Tyson Chandler for an elbow jumper.

The primary play action itself is nothing new, but the result itself is worth noting. There are obviously multiple options available to the Mavs in this particular continuity set, but the one they’ve ended up settling for — a mid-range jumper from the floor’s least likely shooting candidate — is worth noting.

By my count, the Mavs have run the set to open the game on at least three occasions in the past two weeks, and Chandler’s shot is smoother than one might think. He hasn’t made all of his looks, but the visual image of Chandler popping a set shot from the elbow is far cleaner than the concept itself.

I had a chance to ask Chandler about the set after the Mavs’ win over the Heat on Saturday. “Well, I don’t wanna give away our scout,” Chandler said. He grinned widely. “But we can throw it out there every now and then until I make some guys into believers.” Judging by the laugh Chandler let out during his response, he may have to turn himself into a believer, too.

It’s not a complicated set, but here’s a look at the play to free up Chandler:


The sequence begins with a sub-free throw line pick by DeShawn Stevenson, which allows Dirk Nowitzki to set up from the left elbow. Jason Kidd dribbles upcourt on the right side of the floor, and stops at the three-point line.


Kidd feeds the now-open Dirk Nowitzki, and Stevenson fades into the left corner. Meanwhile, on the right wing, Tyson Chandler sets a baseline screen for Caron Butler, who cuts from the corner opposite Stevenson to the left block.


But all of this is just foreplay. After the right side of the floor is cleared, Kidd sets a down-screen for Tyson Chandler, who cuts toward the right elbow. Nowitzki hits him with the pass, Chandler faces up and…well, clang in this particular video example.