Definitely, the use of this "stretch 5" strategy has been one of the reasons for Lokomotiv Kuban to make it all the way to Berlin. It will be interesting to see what kind of adjustments will be made to fight it in the Final Four.
We saw different ways to get advantages through Anthony Randoph during the play off against F.C. Barcelona, let’s take a look at some of them:
Pretty basic, when all five Lokomotiv players are placed beyond the three point line, creating so many three point threats, there is a lot of room to drive and it is kind of risky to help on penetrations. If Randolph’s defender helps, the opportunity is right there for the kick out pass. Once he gets the ball, the right decision making will end up with shots, penetrations against close outs, or extra passes to beat defensive rotations.
Side screen situations: We are used to “fours” popping after setting ball screens. Not so much to “fives” having that shooting range. Loko often clears the corner and short corner for Randolph to pop to that area. Another shooting threat will be usually placed one pass away from the ball (weak side elbow, three point line on top) making helps on the ball screen situation even harder.
More side screen, now looking for weak side actions: When Randolph's defender doesn’t help, the weak side defenders need to give a hand on the ball screen defense. Movement without the ball is the key now. Weak side cuts are extremely dangerous for the defense. As we see in the second clip, the skip pass is also used to punish defensive rotations.
Middle screen situations: Randoph’s pop creates a superiority right after the ball is passed. Quick shot or pass against defensive rotation. If the defenders hesitate or are late… the dagger will fly.
Finally, one of the sets they run to free Randolph for a wide open shot, with a hand off followed by an off ball screen. Once again, he will decide either to shoot, drive, give an extra pass against rotations or run the set all the way and play one more hand off / side screen. As we see in the last clip, even if the execution is not perfect (they don't play the initial hand off, don't set the small - big off ball screen) the key idea remains the same, Randolph wide open and taking care of business.
The Final Four starts tomorrow, let's get ready for some of the best basketball moments of the year.