The Blazers have a read and react offense but what does that mean? Where are the reads and what are the reactions? Well, they say the best way to learn is by doing, so take your best shot.
It's the first ever Blazer's Edge Choose Your Own Adventure game and a chance to see what it's like to be a point guard in the Blazers' offense.
* * *
You find yourself standing in front of a locker tying your shoes. Nothing seems out of the ordinary until you notice that your name is monogrammed across the tongue and you're wearing a red and black sweat suit you've never seen before. That's when you hear it.
"You know, if we just keep playing the right way, you know, playing unselfish, you know, then I think, you know, we'll be just fine, you know."
LaMarcus Aldridge is standing next to you surrounded by reporters awkwardly fielding questions. And then it hits you...
You're in the NBA.
Warmups go by quickly but you manage not to miss any layups and you're feeling pretty good about yourself. You rip off the button up sweats on your second try as the introductions reverberate off the walls of the Rose Garden, er, Moda Center. You hope nobody noticed your chest bump with Thomas Robinson was more like a chest to abdomen collision.
Before you know it, the refs are on center court tossing the ball into the air. Rolo wins the tip and bats the ball in your general direction. Terry Stotts calls Around the World and you nod knowingly. You start to put the ball in your left hand before deciding better of it and then take off down the right side of the court. Your left hand points into the air and you start making a circle motion starting the play.
Your personal friend, Nicolas Batum, runs directly towards you with his hands up ready to receive the ball. You give it to him only to have him shovel it right back. This seemingly silly exchange plays a critical role in setting up the next action as Batum cuts back door.
If a player simply cuts across the floor his defender will sag towards the hoop. This makes it easy for the defender to take away the back door cut because he is already multiple steps below the cutter. By having a quick handoff the defender is forced to come closer to Batum and is then in a trailing position as he runs around the back screen.
Luckily, in this play, Jeff Green is already behind as a result of the Robin Lopez screen. Batum could maybe just stop at the three point line for an open shot but continues to run the play cutting off of Aldridge's back screen.
It's now your decision to read the defense and decide what to do next. You can either:
A. Pass to Wesley coming off the down screen
B. Freeze thinking "Holy crap these guys are a lot bigger than they look on TV. Uh... Uh..."
C. Hit Batum on the back door cut
D. Break the offense and try to do something cool. You've only got this one chance, go big or go home.
E. Hold the ball waiting for a high screen. These guys can't guard you and you know it.
*Note: It's really hard to find clips of all these different actions involving the exact same players and oriented the same way on the court. As a result, sometimes the players involved change from clip to clip and the play may look a little different.