Sunday afternoon San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists in 32 minutes during the Spurs’ 122-100 preseason victory over the Denver Nuggets. While Aldridge scored or found his teammates out of the low post through the traditional 4-down play, he also scored with the pick-and-pop action too. However, it looks like the Spurs are making Aldridge more comfortable on offense with the addition of what looks like a new play, that for the Project Spurs Playbook will be called the ‘Aldridge Left Elbow ISO.’
How does it work?
The play diagram with its instructions for each player can be seen below.
Here’s a video of the play in action Sunday against the Nuggets.
Why is it effective?
Having Aldridge at the elbow with his teammates spaced around him gives him more freedom to decide how he wants to attack his defender in isolation. He can simply try to beat his defender off the dribble like he does several times to Mason Plumlee in the clip above, or he can try to start posting his defender down toward the basket with space. Aldridge also has the options of shooting a face-up jumper over his defender or passing out to multiple teammates in the event a help defender tries to get sneaky and throw in a double team.
One of the crucial parts of why the play can be effective is because of what’s happening on the weakside. The other big and two wings all have some off-ball roles so that they’ll keep their defenders busy so they can’t help onto Aldridge. Depending on who is on the floor for the Spurs when this play is run for Aldridge will really determine just how much spacing Aldridge will have. If it’s a shooting point guard like Patty Mills or Bryn Forbes, their defenders wouldn’t dare try to help from the corner and risk leaving them open. If it’s a big man like Davis Bertans, Pau Gasol or Joffrey Lauvergne up top, they too can make the defense pay if a help defender tries to sneak in for a steal against Aldridge because the trio of bigs can all make threes.