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Warriors’ Right Wing Elevator for Thompson

The Golden State Warriors are on pace to win 70 games this season, as they hold the top Offense (113.7 Points Per 100 Possessions) and top Defense (101.0 Pp/100) in the NBA through 48 games. One crucial player in the Warriors’ attack on offense is All-Star guard Klay Thompson, who is the team’s third leading scorer with 21.1 points per game on 17.0 field goal attempts each night.

From beyond the arc, Thompson has remained efficient went attempting 3-point looks, as he’s converting 3.0 of his 7.7 threes per game (39.7%), which is a percentage above league average. Whether it’s catching off screens, in transition, off the dribble, or even with a defender’s hand in his face, Thompson is capable of making different types of 3-point shots.

The area where Thompson attempts most of his threes is from the right wing space, where he’s taken 136 attempts and made 53 of those shots (39.0%, +3.6% above league average). Going back to early December, in a game against the Los Angeles Clippers, one of the ways the Warriors got Thompson a wide open look from the right wing three area was with the use of an elevator screen, as the diagram shows below.

Diagram by @PaulGarciaNBA
Diagram by @PaulGarciaNBA

As you can see in the video below, in order to run the set successfully, all five players played a role in helping to initiate the action, and run two different actions on each side of the floor to keep the defense occupied, so that Thompson could get free for the three and his teammates could set the effective elevator screen.

Even if the Warriors didn’t go straight to the Thompson shot, the successful spacing also allows Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry to run a 1/3 pick-and-roll, which can usually result in either player having a mismatch against the opposing defender.

Though there are multiple sets the Warriors can use to get Thompson open 3-point looks, on this December night, the right wing elevator screen was one that they ran which ended with a positive result.