Video Breakdown: What is Lock and Trail defense?

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Last time on the glossary we covered an offensive move named after Allen Iverson, but today we’re going to talk about a defensive technique you may have heard of called “Lock and Trail”.

The lock and trail — sometimes called “lock and ride” or “lock and go” — is a defensive method typically used for guarding a jump shooter coming off a screen, but it can also be utilized on dribble handoffs and elsewhere on the floor.

The basic idea is for defenders to come over the top and pressure guys at the arc. That happens when a down screen is set on a shooter, usually below the free-throw line, and the defender “locks” onto his man and “trails” him to the 3-point line, even if he cedes what appears to be an easier route to the basket.

But it’s not meant to be so easy. This is a help defense situation, where the trailing defender is trying to prevent the jumper and the help defenders are preventing the drive.

The technique is built to pressure a shooter off of his spot and back toward defenders until a recovery or full switch can be made, and a good result for NBA coaches utilizing the lock and trail would be a mid-range jumper with the 3-point line and the painted area locked up.

Let’s diagram what that looks like by watching the full video breakdown above, or the write-up below.

Drawing it up

Let’s say you’ve got the start of a set with two posts and two wings down near the block. Defenders here are in white, and the red offense is trying to get the ball to the guard with the yellow star.

In order to get the guard free, the center is going to set a down pick on his defender. The star is going to pop to the arc and curl around to received the pass from the point guard.

Lock and trail means fighting into the direction of the screen, staying on a defender’s shoulder, and following him around to the arc.

Once the offensive player gets to this point, he has to make a choice to dribble toward the basket or pass, where help defenders from the post and the point can dig down and help slow his progress until the trailing defender can catch up.

That’s the basic concept, now let’s check it out on tape.

You can see the lock and trail in action here by the Mavericks against Golden State. Klay Thompson is at the right elbow looking to come of a screen from Draymond Green.

The defender goes up and over to prevent him from getting the shot at the top of the arc, then the help defender comes off of Green to stop the drive before they eventually make a full switch.

Even when players are behind on a play, it can be an effective tool to run guys off the line, especially when it’s mixed with a soft ICE coverage. Rodney Hood is pretty far behind Devin Booker when this play starts, but look at how razor thin he’s cutting this angle off the screen to pressure Booker at the arc.

That’s mixed with an open invitation thanks to this pick-and-roll coverage by Derrick Favors, and Booker takes the bait as he moves toward a midrange shot.

Finally we have the Raptors trying to get DeMar DeRozan off a stagger screen coming to the near side of the floor. Andre Iguodala is down low with him, and doesn’t go over the top, instead locking and trailing to prevent a corner three.

As Iguodala trails, JaVale McGee comes off his man to stunt on DeRozan long enough for Iggy to recover.

That’s the basics of the lock and trail. It’s an alternative to switching screens or cutting underneath them, and now if you hear someone using that terminology, you’ll know that it’s a way for teams to run 3-point shooters off the arc and into the teeth of the defense by coming over the top of screens.

Joel Embiid frustrated, wants more post touches, to play back-to-backs

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Joel Embiid remains a frustrated man.

He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.

Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said.  “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”

I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.

His second frustration came from the loss to the Cavaliers on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”

He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. Especially against a team going small — the Cavaliers start Kevin Love at center — Embiid should be fed down low.

Instead, look at his shot chart from Friday night.

Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.

Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance

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NEW YORK (AP)—  The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.

Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.

NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.

Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling

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DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.