Bucks Floppy Play for Khris Middleton

The NBA is a copycat league. When one team notices another team running a play that works, they smartly attempt to replicate the play and insert it into their own offense. Over the years, floppy has become one of the most common set plays among NBA offenses because of the aforementioned phenomenon. A basic floppy play begins with the offense set like it is in the graphic below.

Floppy

The Milwaukee Bucks offense has struggled in the early going this season (29th in offensive rating), but one play that head coach Jason Kidd has implemented with great success in his first season is floppy for Khris Middleton. On opening night against the Charlotte Hornets, floppy was called for Middleton six times, leading to a bucket each time. Since that night, the Bucks have run floppy for Middleton much less frequently, but it remains a solid option for a sputtering offense.

Breaking Down the Play

After Brandon Knight crosses halfcourt, the Bucks position themselves to run floppy. Middleton, the recipient of the play, is positioned on the baseline directly under the rim like 2 in the sample set above. Jared Dudley and Jabari Parker serve as the 5 and 3 respectively, setting double stagger down screens on the right side of the floor. Larry Sanders positions himself as 4, or the man setting a single down screen on the opposite side of the floor from Dudley and Parker.

Floppy begins

Floppy can only work if the screeners set good, strong screens and if the shooter, in this case Middleton, makes the right read. Middleton is tasked with noting how the defense is aligned, particularly his man, and choosing which side to attack accordingly. In this case, Middleton sets Lance Stephenson up to cheat to the side of the stagger screens. This makes it an easy decision for Middleton to run the play to the left side of the floor by curling off of the down screen set by Sanders.

Middleton single screen

What makes floppy so dangerous is the multiple options available for Middleton when he runs off of the down screen. If Stephenson tries to follow him around the screen, he can curl tightly around Sanders’ body and receive the pass from Knight on a slash to the rim. If the defender is trailing far behind and a particularly good screen is set, Middleton can always catch and shoot behind the screen. On the other hand, if Stephenson attempts to read the play and go under the screen to meet Middleton on the curl, Middleton can simply flare to the corner for an open jumper or a baseline drive when he receives the pass.

In this instance, Stephenson attempts to catch Middleton by going under the screen. This leaves Middleton with an easy read to head to the left away from Stephenson once he catches the pass.

Knight pass to wing

When Knight delivers the pass to the wing, Stephenson is still attempting to get free from the down screen set by Sanders. Middleton takes one dribble to the left to ensure plenty of space to get off a good shot. Al Jefferson can’t help because Middleton could either go right around him on a drive or hit Sanders on a wide-open slip to the rim.

Middleton reads

Middleton rises to take the jumper, and the recovering Stephenson is a second too late to adequately contest.

Middleton shoots

This is one of the many times the Bucks have successfully run floppy for Middleton this season.

Proper timing, good screens, and good reads are all elements of a successful floppy play. If the offense gets all three elements right, it is incredibly difficult to stop. With the Bucks currently an unthreatening offensive team, Coach Kidd would be wise to copy a play of his own that has had great success and run floppy more.

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  3. […] catch-and-shoot three point opportunities throughout the season. Middleton was a popular target for floppy actions that created mid-range opportunities (more on that in a moment), but rarely if ever did the […]

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