Welcome to the first edition of SLOB Sunday! This will be a semi-regular series to project my love for SideLine Out of Bounds plays, or SLOBs.
The NBA is back in full swing after the All-Star Break, which means that 28 of the 30 head coaches had plenty of time to sit around and think of creative inbounds plays (apologies to Mike D’Antoni and Dwane Casey). Before we dive in, let’s establish some rules.
- The play has to result in a made basket
- Has to be an inbounds play from the sideline
- Has to be creative (no high pick and rolls)
- Bonus points for high-pressure game situation or towards the end of a game
With that in mind, let’s get started.
Nuggets vs Clippers 2/27
This play is awesome for two reasons: Tobias Harris’s sneaky behind the back handoff, and DeAndre Jordan sealing Mason Plumlee directly under the basket with Hulk-like strength. The nuggets play good defense here, but there is nothing you can do about a seven foot monster barreling his way underneath the basket.
Heat vs 76ers 2/27/2018
Covington fakes like he’s going around the screen to his left side, but cuts through the paint at the last second. The play may not have fooled Josh Richardson if it wasn’t for the perfect execution by Joel Embiid on the classic ‘motion with my right arm to the right side of my body while you fake cut there and go left’ play. Seriously, watch Embiid and tell me he doesn’t make that play with his deceptive arm motion. Also, I know this has been said a million times, but those Miami jerseys are probably the freshest in the league.
Jazz vs Timberwolves 3/2/2018
Seriously, how do you even guard this? Perfect execution by 18-year veteran Jamal Crawford faking the back screen on Rudy Gobert. By the time Gobert sees Karl-Anthony Towns pop back up to the top of the key, it’s already too late.
Rudy Gobert is one the best defenders in the league if you believe in the eye test or in Defensive Win Shares metrics, in which he’s currently second to Andre Roberson. But having a big man like KAT who can draw his defender away from the paint creates so many problems for a defense that relies on Gobert to protect the rim.
Also, once again, those Utah jerseys are insanely fresh. Plus the court, just wow. Nike and the Jazz are both killing it.
Okay, last but certainly not least, let’s check out this play that appears to be drawn up for DeMar Derozan.
Bucks vs Raptors 2/23/2018
Great defense by Giannis getting around the screen from Jonas Valanciunas, but the crucial mistake here is by John Henson, who helps just a little too much and falls too far back, allowing CJ Miles to inbound the ball to Valanciunas easily. He fakes the handoff and catches Henson a little flat footed, then throws it down without a tenth of a second to spare.
Just pure poetry, I love NBA basketball.
Jacob Mooallem is a student manager for the Indiana University Men’s Basketball team and a sophomore in the Kelley School of Business. He spends too much of his time on Twitter.