If it wasn’t scary enough that the Warriors have two of the best shooters in the league, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors have figured out a pretty cool way of getting the wide open shots. The unique screens are called “Elevator” screens and the way it works is the shooter will run between two teammates right before they “close the elevator door” by both setting a screen on a defender.
The montage above shows a bunch examples and if you want to read more in detail about the Xs and Os then click here for HoopChalk’s complete breakdown.
This set is really just a modified version of the flex offense, which Golden State has been running a couple of times per game this season.
As with any flex action, a player–Richard Jefferson in this case–is entered the ball in the high post while the guard who passed him the ball goes to the corner to set an initial screen. Usually this is where Curry will read and either cut baseline or else come up toward the top of the key, but on this play his route is predetermined.
Curry comes off the initial screen and cuts through the middle, as if he’s running a normal flex cut. Jack gets the ball back from Jefferson, who shifts over toward the free throw line in tandem with Carl Landry from the other side of the court in a quickly closing pincer. Notice Leonard’s positioning here. He is clearly expecting a standard flex motion, not ready for what’s about to come next.
Curry quickly shoots the gap between his two teammates at the free throw line, and the formidable two man screen closes the gate with Leonard stuck far behind the play. He can’t recover and the two big men can’t help–they’re on the wrong side of the play too–leaving Curry with a wide open three.