Breaking Down the Play: Kentucky’s Post Game

Posted by Brian Joyce on November 29th, 2011

Breaking Down the Play is a regular feature during the season to provide in-depth analysis on the Xs and Os of an SEC team. Today’s Breaking Down the Play goes in depth on Kentucky’s ability to feed the post for a variety of options.

Kentucky’s ability to feed the post provides the Wildcats with a variety of options out of the Dribble Drive Motion Offense. The Cats were not establishing a post presence in their first several games of the year, but in the last two games they have made the inside out game a bigger part of their offensive strategy. In fact, Kentucky has run a designed play to give Terrence Jones the ball in the low post on the first play of the game in both of their last two contests. Kentucky has been extremely effective when making a pass to the post because of at least three different offensive options that open up for the Wildcats.

Below are the three plays from the game against Portland that showcase Kentucky’s options out of the post in the Dribble Drive offense:

(Excuse the picture quality as an HD option for the Kentucky game was not available. Seriously, it’s hard to watch a game that isn’t in HD!)

Play 1 (19:51 remaining in the first half)

The first play of the game, John Calipari instructs his players to isolate Jones. Doron Lamb sets a screen for Jones and then pops out to the perimeter for an open three-point look. Notice how Calipari uses his bigs to feed the post. Center Anthony Davis receives the ball from point guard Marquis Teague as the pick is being set.

Jones sets up on the very first play of the game

Jones establishes position on the low block and receives the ball from Davis. He is now isolated on the low block as the Kentucky guards back out to clear the lane.

Jones gets set to receive the ball.

The double team comes immediately as Davis’s defender slides down to help. That leaves Jones with three options: he can try to score, he can look to the perimeter for an open three point look for Lamb, or he can look for Davis cutting immediately to the basket for an open dunk.

Jones now has three options out of the low post

In this case, Jones spins and has the position for an open look at the basket. He takes it up strong and lays it in for an easy two.

Play 2 (1:42 remaining in the first half)

Kentucky runs the same play towards the end of the first half, and the same players are involved. Jones establishes position and Lamb streaks towards the three point line.

Same play with the same players involved later in the half

In the last play, Davis’s defender didn’t completely commit to the double team. In this instance, he is fully committed to the double down and surrounds Jones. Davis cuts immediately to the basket, and Jones has the same options as before.

A clear lane for Anthony Davis

If you know anything about Kentucky’s offense it is that a lob to Davis is about as good of a guarantee for two points as you will get. Jones makes the right decision by lobbing the ball towards the basket and Davis slams it down.

Boom Shaka Laka

Play 3 (12:15 remaining in the first half)

Going back to mid-way through the first half, Kentucky isolates Darius Miller this time on the low block and has freshman Kyle Wiltjer feeding him the ball.

Same concept, different players

This time Kentucky plays to the strengths of its players. Wiltjer is more of a spot up shooter. When Wiltjer’s man doubles down on Miller, rather than cut towards the basket like the high flying Davis, Wiltjer fades to the corner for an open three.

Wiltjer has an open look for three in the corner

Miller can attack the lane, which he does, or he has the option to kick it out to Wiltjer for the open three. Kentucky utilizes the strengths of its offensive weapons and puts its players in a position to be successful. Here, Miller decides to hop step into the lane for an open look.

Miller hop steps into the lane for an open look

I think Miller makes the right move here by attacking the basket. He misses the close opportunity, but the point is the options that Kentucky made available by feeding the post. The Wildcats can attack the basket in the low post, they can look to open players on the three point line, or they can look to a cutting player streaking towards the basket. In this case, Wiltjer spots up for three, and that option will be available when Kentucky runs this again. Good things happen when Kentucky establishes a low post presence, so don’t be surprised on Thursday (or again on Saturday) when Kentucky isolates Jones on the low block the first play out of the gates.

Brian Joyce (333 Posts)

Brian Joyce is an advanced metrics enthusiast, college hoops junkie, and writer for the SEC basketball microsite for Rush the Court.

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