Portland Trail Blazers’s inside circle sets up lob

From Terry Stotts, head coach for the Portland Trail Blazers

Portland’s Terry Stotts drew up this beauty of an inbound play leaving a defender running in a circle and a step behind as his responsibility is elevating and scoring at the rim.

Why use it

Unique baseline inbound plays always are an important part of your playbook. This set is not a common one and perfect to catch a defense off-guard. The Portland Trail Blazers recently ran this play in a victory over Golden State.

Set up

Have 2 and 5 align directly in front of 3, who is inbounding the ball. 4 starts a little more than halfway up the ball-side lane line. 1 is positioned far from the ball well beyond the 3-point line in the middle of the court.

Portland Trail Blazers's inside circle sets up lob

How to play

4 flashes across the lane to the weak-side block to pull the defender in that direction and out of the lane. 5 turns toward the lane to screen as 2 runs toward 5’s right shoulder [1]. 2 continues running between 3 and 5 and as 2 comes around 5, that’s when 5 sets a second screen freeing 2 to go to the hoop [2]. 3 tosses a lob pass to 2. 2 catches and scores before landing on the ground so the defense doesn’t have time to adjust [3].

Technique

What’s confusing for the defense is as 2 begins his or her actions, 2’s defender has a decision to make – follow 2 and get picked off, or go over the top of the screen, which allows for 2 easily to catch an open pass under the screen and score. 2’s defender almost always follows as that player assumes 2 is about to pop wide for an inbound pass, making the lob so effective.

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