How the Warriors draw inspiration from European basketball – and how they can continue to look to Europe for ideas

Understandably, everything that happens in the European basketball world remains largely a mystery to American fans. Start times often do not coincide with ideal viewing times; Those who want to watch try to find the channel that broadcasts them, leaving less than legal means (*coughs*streams*cough) to watch them.

The most plausible explanation is that the American public simply doesn’t care about basketball outside of their shores. Even the allure of watching non-US NBA stars – Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Dončić and Nikola Jokić, to name the three biggest names – competition for flag and country isn’t enough to attract them.

But for hardcore basketball junkies like myself, it’s almost essential to watch the European basketball scene – especially during this current match-packed period of time. Basketball World Cup European Basketball Championship Qualifiers, EuroBasket.

The notable inconsistencies have lived up to the hype so far, but tuning into relatively regular, less competitive matches can lead to “eureka” moments and great realizations – some of which speak more to the sensibilities of basketball geeks. Take this particular half-court possession during Serbia v. Holland, for example:

The third open corner does not go in, but the entire offensive operation was good – in fact, more than good. It was definitely Fabulous.

There is nothing more apt to describe the above possession than it being a work of moving artwork. The ball spends less than a second in each player’s hand; It whips back and forth like a bouncing pinball, while individuals move in a synchronized manner. After the ball is passed, no one stands still – either they move to a different place on the ground, or they put up a screen.

If you keep your eyes on Serbia No. 16 (Nemanja Nedovic, who plays professionally for Panathinaikos in the Greek Basketball League), never stops moving – which is very reminiscent of Golden State Warriors The star who built his reputation on perpetual motion.

In Stephen Curry’s case, the action certainly wanders more on the haphazard side of the spectrum, rather than the coordinated, pre-planned paths that Nedovitch manages. But the similarities in the philosophy are curious, and while it’s something that may be rare in the NBA outside of the Warriors, it’s more common in European basketball circles.

It’s hard not to see the European influence behind the Warriors’ offensive. Steve Kerr once played Greg Popovich, who himself drew inspiration from European playing styles – exemplified by the San Antonio Spurs’ “beautiful game” that went to The NBA Finals For two consecutive seasons.

Kerr also played under Phil Jackson’s Triangle Offense, which itself is a precursor to many of today’s action crimes that are becoming more and more common in Europe. As a general manager of an era of 7 seconds or less Phoenix SunsKerr witnessed the emergence of “Speed ​​and Space,” a concept brought from Europe by Mike D’Antoni, who played and coached in the Italian Professional Basketball League.

Taken together, all of these influences resulted in an eclectic mix of fast pace, ball movement, personnel movement, every conceivable screen type, and high/low passing — all of which were an integral part of European basketball, but a constant being incorporated into NBA offenses.

Warriors were – and in many ways still are – at the forefront of this integration. So it was surprising to see a fairly familiar half-court set – one that the Warriors love to run during quarter-end situations – being used by the Turkish national team.

Furthermore, the Serbian national team uses very similar combinations that are part of Kerr’s rules of play, including the “HORNS” movement based on pick and roll (playing the ball up, two players at the elbows, two players at both angles) which creates an opening by attracting the help of the weak side away from the corner.

Another combination used by both Serbia and Warriors that aims to increase elite passing and decision making for the best NBA player and veteran. These 5-Out “delay” combos, which feature a large retarded man handling the ball at the top of the arc and making decisions, are some of the most versatile of the action that have become a popular sight in both European and NBA circuits.

Of course, being at the forefront of the movement revolution, the Warriors popularized the delay, with Draymond Green (and sometimes, Kevon Looney) the one tasked with making the gameplay decisions.

Hating a heavy diet of high-ball screens — 25 pick-and-roll games per 100 ownership were rated dead during the 2021-2022 regular season — the Warriors didn’t fully embrace some of the more sought-after. Half-court proceedings run by many NBA teams on a regular basis. One of these is the most popular Pick and Roll “Spain”named after the Spanish national team, whose use was popularized and mostly responsible for its emergence among the collegiate basketball mindset.

The difference between the Spain action and the typical high ball screen involves the addition of a third party – a back screen, usually the shooter, who looks for the rolling man’s defender, after which he exits and presents himself as an open kick target. .

Although Kerr does not rely heavily on Spain, there have been cases of warriors running their own versions of it – including one beginning with the “Weave” procedure:

But properties like the ones above are a more extreme exception than the rule – even with Curry, a Premier League goalkeeper (created by 157 help points on the screensecond among 95 goalkeepers who played at least 1,500 minutes during the regular season).

This is the area where warriors can draw further inspiration and add to their overall playbook. One idea I’ve thought of a lot is to combine a common pick and roll action – Double swipe screensor two interlocking spherical screens set in transition or semi-transition – with Spanish pick-and-roll, with Carey or Klay Thompson acting as the rear screen.

During their campaign for the recently concluded Championship, the Warriors increased their diet of pick-and-roll possessions – from 25 per 100 possessions to 29 per 100 possessions. The double pull form is a large component of this diet.

Why not add another element to double the draw – the back screen, for example – to shift expectations and make more use of the shooters’ talents? After all, Dončić and the Slovenian national team tried it out recently during the World Cup qualifiers – to great success.

With both the rolling defender and Dončić’s defender entering a two-man ball-screen motion, the back eyebrow seeps towards the weak-sided winger, leaving the low man alone and forced to face two players. A pass to the wing, followed by a swing pass to the corner, Double Drag Spain is an instant success.

Imagine Curry handling the ball, with Thompson setting the back screen and leaking toward the wing, and Andrew Wiggins – Left corner scorer Ghazir Waiting for a possible swing pass. The idea of ​​such a scenario is mouth-watering.

Europe continues to innovate and meander, while the rest of the basketball world sways. The Warriors – themselves sluggers in the NBA who constantly love slalom – can’t benefit only from borrowing ideas from a continent that has already given them so much inspiration.