Welcome to another edition of SLOB Sunday! This will be a semi-regular series to project my love for SideLine Out of Bounds plays, or SLOBs.
Quick refresher on the rules of SLOB Sunday:
- 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.
Celtics vs Thunder 3/20
If there was a Basketball SAT, Al Horford would get a 2400. Look at how well he slips the screen and fades, leaving Rozier with two defenders. Even more impressive is his sixth sense that Russell Westbrook is zooming in to block his shot. Seriously, I don’t know how Horford even gets that pass back to Rozier off in time, what incredible vision by Horford and a great pass by Rozier to Baynes. This two big man lineup for the Celtics has worked wonderfully so far, putting up 1.12 points per possession and holding their opponents to .98 PPP over 800 regular season minutes where Baynes and Horford share the floor. The inside-outside threat of the two together causes a litany of matchup problems for the defense, you see it here with Carmelo Anthony being forced to guard 7-footer Aron Baynes. It will be interesting to watch how Brad Stevens utilizes this lineup in the playoffs.
Nuggets vs Raptors 3/27
The player to watch here is Jamal Murray, who inbounds the ball and sets a nice screen on Pascal Siakam, then bolts to the three point line, shaking Fred VanVleet. Also love how Jokić creates space here, using his pivot foot to hold off Pöltl and complete the pass to Millsap. Nice play design here by Coach Malone, and nice shot by Murray to finish the play.
76ers vs Nuggets 3/26
The 76ers rank fourth in the NBA on points per possession on sideline out of bounds plays, and a lot of their buckets come from simple back screens like this one. Covington finishes this lob nicely, but I really love the enthusiasm with which Markelle Fultz runs to the top of the key. It even looks like he went a little early, as Ilyasova seemed surprised that he couldn’t set a screen for Fultz’s man. Strange play, but none of it matters because Joel Embiid is a brick freaking wall and nothing gets past him. Sorry, Will Barton.
Real Madrid vs Crvena Zvezda 3/30
If you haven’t heard of Luka Dončić yet, get ready to be hearing his name a lot over the next few months. The 6’7″ shooting guard from Slovenia has been tearing up the EuroLeague and will likely be drafted in the top five this upcoming draft. I started watching Dončić this fall when he led the Slovenian national team to their first Eurobasket championship, beating Kristaps Porzingis’s Latvia in the quarterfinals, the Gasol brothers’ Spain in the semifinals, and narrowly defeating the Bogdan-Boban machine that was Serbia in the finals. Doncic has a excellent jump shot and is big enough to finish at the rim with ease against his Spanish league competition. He will undoubtedly face an adjustment period when he enters the big leagues, but he has been playing professional basketball since the age of 16, and appears to have a pretty high basketball IQ, so I am betting on him being able to adapt to the pace of an NBA game. This cold-blooded dagger is just a small sample of what he is capable of on the next level.
From what I’ve seen, I believe he has the talent and potential of a first overall pick. The last non-NCAA player to be taken with the top pick was Andrea Bargnani in 2006. Clearly, Bargnani’s career (particularly his stint with the New York Knicks) was so horrific that it scared all front offices away from selecting an international prospect first overall for 11 years. But I think Doncic has a strong case, he is likely the best guard in the draft and teams are clamoring for guys who can guard multiple positions and score inside and outside. It would appear that Doncic has the potential to become that guy and then some.
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.