Title: Raptors Tactical: Exploiting the Timberwolves’ pick-and-roll defence
Date: October 25, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, I wrote about how the Raptors exploited Minnesota’s pick-and-roll scheme on their way to a 5-0 start to the season.
Kyle Lowry has become one of the NBA’s most prolific long-range shooters over the past three-plus seasons. And by long range, I do not mean just 3-point shots. I mean long range, the type of shooting acumen that stretches a defence out well past the top of the arc. It’s not quite Steph Curry bombing 40-footers, but Lowry has the best pull-up 3-point percentage among any player with 300 such attempts since the start of the 2015-16 season.
The Minneosta Timberwolves responded as such when they visited Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday. Head coach Tom Thibodeau no longer employs the consistent, conservative pick-and-roll scheme that so many teams have borrowed from the last few seasons, instead tasking Karl-Anthony Towns to guard more dynamically.
Against the Toronto Raptors, that meant Towns hedging way above the 3-point line in part to prevent that kind of Lowry pull-up triple, a strategy the Raptors seemed to welcome. Lowry himself had a modest scoring night with 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting, but his 10 assists were a game-high and set the tone for another night of solid Raptors ball movement. On the heels of a hot scoring start to the season, Lowry was just fine to keep piling up double-digit assist nights.