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Blazers’ Give & Go 3-Point Play for McCollum

Through 39 games this season, Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum is the team’s second leading scorer, as he’s averaging 23.6 points in 34.8 minutes. One of McCollum’s primary skills is his sharp shooting ability, which he can do in a variety of ways – shooting off the dribble, off spot-up action, in transition, or off of screen action.

McCollum attempts 6.1 threes per game for the Blazers and he’s shooting above league average on those attempts, as he’s knocking down 41.6% of his outside looks. One unique play the Blazers run to get McCollum some open 3-pointers is a 1/2/1 Give & Go set, which usually features Damian Lillard with McCollum.

The play is designed below:

Play Diagram by @PaulGarciaNBA
Play Diagram by @PaulGarciaNBA

While the ball only touches the hands of Lillard and McCollum, it’s the big men (4 and 5) who have a large role in making the play effective. The 5 man first needs to set a good quality pin down screen to free McCollum to run up and catch the pass from Lillard. Once McCollum catches the pass, he quickly throws it or hands it right back off to Lillard. From this point, McCollum’s defender is already trying to navigate past two actions to stay by McCollum’s side.

Then, the 4 man is responsible for setting the hammer type screen to really free McCollum for the 3-pointer on the left wing. While the 3 man might not seem like he has a large role in the offense, his route of running to the right corner is crucial so that it stops any help from the defender in the corner.

If defenses get caught out of position on the play, it’s an easy open 3-pointer for a wide open shooter in McCollum. If the defense anticipates the play and the defender either gets around the screen or the big switches, then McCollum has the whole left side of the floor to operate by either driving, calling for a pick, or shooting off the dribble.

The video below will show three different times this season the Blazers have run the play effectively for McCollum in the left wing area. In one of the clips, the defender tries to cheat and make the steal on the initial pass from Lillard, but, McCollum and Lillard recognize this, and so, they make the defender pay by having McCollum just run the route without the give and go action.

If you’re a coach out there and you have a lethal shooter on your roster who works well off screen action, this is a recommended play to add to your playbook.