If the Wolves spread the floor with uninvolved players standing behind the three-point line, particularly in the corners, they’d have more success. Last night, one simply play involving Bjelica and Wiggins demonstrated as much.
Kevin Martin actually brought the ball up the floor in a semi transition scenario and 4 Timberwolves spread out evenly around the arc, with Karl-Anthony Towns posted near the lane.
Bjelica is playing the 4 and has Rockets big man Clint Capela on him. Capela’s natural instincts are to protect the paint first, so when Martin swings the ball to Bjelica, Capela has to close out hard.
Bjelica catches Martin’s pass, draws an overaggressive close-out from Capela, and looks to drive and create offense off the dribble.
With the floor spread, Bjelica has all kinds of room to work with in the lane as he surveys the floor for his next move.
Eventually, Dwight Howard has to commit to stopping Bjelica’s drive, and then in turn James Harden has to dig down to prevent an easy slip pass to Howard’s man, Towns. Possessing good passing instincts, Bjelica reads all of this.
The open man is Andrew Wiggins, after Harden had to help the helper. Wiggins takes the shot from the corner, one of the most efficient places a player can shoot from.
The result is a made three-point shot, something the Wolves have less than any other team in the league, right now.
The main keys to the play were proper, wide spacing, and putting Bjelica in a position where his defender is moving when he catches the ball. He is not an explosive athlete, but if he can be handicapped just slightly by having that dribble drive action opened up a bit for him, his abilities as a playmaker open way up.
It would be nice to see more plays like this one as the season moves along.