Title: How the Raptors came to use a play popular in Spanish basketball well before Marc Gasol’s arrival
Date: February 28, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about a pick-and-roll wrinkle popularized in Spain that the Raptors have made a regular part of their offense this year.
There could not have been a better way to get Marc Gasol comfortable in the Raptors offence on his first night.
Gasol was changing NBA teams for the first time in his career and had little time to prepare for the New York Knicks. His new coach, Nick Nurse, claims his playbook is not too deep but does have a lot of actions with multiple options and wrinkles. All of Gasol’s teammates were new, too, save for Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. Gasol has a preternatural feel for the offensive side of the game, with the type of vision and passing that make him a wonderful improviser. Still, finding him a touch or two in familiar fashion would seem a prudent way to endear him to his new surroundings quickly.
Why not, then, utilize what’s come to be known around the league as the Spain pick-and-roll?
And so that’s what they did. In Gasol’s second shift of his Raptors debut, he wound up at the free-throw line thanks to solid execution of that exact play.