Due largely to the success of the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs over the last three seasons, we’ve seen two trends emerge in the NBA: Increased ball movement and a greater emphasis being put on layups and three-pointers.
Both of those come easy to certain teams. Having LeBron James, for example, fills a lot of the gaps because he lives in the paint and commands a double team on a nightly basis. Throw in his passing ability as a small forward, which is practically unparalleled for someone at his position and his size, and it’s no wonder the Cleveland Cavaliers were amongst the league leaders in 3-point efficiency and scoring at the rim last season.
For the other teams that don’t have that sort of firepower, there are certain sets they can run to help them move the ball and create those high quality looks — many of which are jazzed up versions of pick-and-rolls and post-ups. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five in particular that are both unique and have the potential to take the league by storm this season.
It seems like every NBA team has their own version of “Elevator” nowadays. Regardless of how it’s put into action, though, what matters is the shooter sprints in between two players and pops out to the three-point line once the elevator doors have closed. When it’s run for the likes of Stephen Curry and Anthony Morrow, both of whom have the quickest releases in the NBA, it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the defense to react on dime.
Teams have begun to get creative with this set, too. The Golden State Warriors, for example, used the threat of Curry to get Draymond Green an uncontested basket in the fourth quarter of a tightly contested game against the Los Angeles Clippers last season. The Dallas Mavericks even put it in reverse on a perfectly executed out of bounds to get Devin Harris a layup instead of a jump shot.
It’s still at its best when run for a three-pointer, but its rise in popularity has forced teams to adapt on the fly. That’s why we could see greater variation this season.