Video Breakdown: What is an Iverson Cut?

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Last time we broke down a piece of the NBA lexicon in our glossary series we covered just what in the heck “Pistol” action meant. Like today’s breakdown, that was a simple part of a larger sphere of offensive actions that can get plays going quickly. Today we continue in that realm to talk about a move that Hall of Famer Allen Iverson made so ubiquitous that NBA coaches just started calling the action “The Iverson Cut”.

You may or may not have heard the term Iverson Cut before but it’s likely you’ve seen it about a million times over the course of your basketball-watching career. It’s sometimes referred to as a shallow cut, and plays can be labeled simply with “AI”.

Watch the full video explanation above, or continue on below to start by drawing it up on the chalkboard first to show you the basic action before we see it in practice.

The Diagram

An Iverson Cut typically starts out in a flat play or in HORNs, with a point guard at the top, two posts at the elbows, and guards either at the wings or down in the corners. The player making the Iverson cut is labeled here with a star and ball is at the top of the arc.

The basic idea is that the star guard is going to get two screens across the top of the key, right at the free throw line. He will move up and across the formation, trying to rub his defender off of him as he moves to the opposite side of the arc.

After the cut is made, there’s a lot of options including a quick shot, a backdoor cut to the rim after the second post screen, isolation, post up plays, or a swing back to the other side of the floor to star the rest of the play.

On the floor

For example, this set by the Warriors is actually a setup for Kevin Durant on the other side of the floor from where he starts out.

Klay Thompson is on the right part of the arc, standing flat next to Zaza Pachulia ready for the first screen. Thompson runs AI simply to clear space for Durant, who the Warriors want to get a jumper from at the elbow.

Here for the Brooklyn Nets, it’s Bojan Bogdanovic running the Iverson cut from the far side of the formation. This is just a quick action to start another simple play.

Bogdanovic gets a screen from Brook Lopez at the right elbow, then runs across to the opposite 3-point line. At that point, Jeremy Lin sets a screen for Lopez, who cuts diagonally to the left block in order to get the inlet pass to the post from Bogdanovic.

Just a simple post play!

Finally here for the Blazers, it’s a modified type of Iverson cut for Gerald Henderson. The twist is that Henderson stops to dummy a screen on CJ McCollum before continuing on to his second screen as he runs to the arc.

That’s the basics on the Iverson Cut.

It’s something simple that a lot of teams run for their guards to get them open on the arc. It’s a great way to create negative space on offense to either start a play or get a quick bucket for one of your top scorers.

If you want to see more on the Iverson Cut, I’m going to recommend set of videos I did on the Blazers last year that covers their Thumb Series. Portland runs a lot of modified screens based on the Iverson cut they run to get their guards going horizontally across the formation. It should give you a good idea about how offensive plays can be built around that initial Iverson cut.

Carmelo Anthony has 18, but Giannis Antetokounmpo’s triple-double leads Bucks to win

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had his second triple-double of the season and the Milwaukee Bucks beat Carmelo Anthony and the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers 137-129 on Thursday night.

Antetokounmpo had 24 points, 19 rebounds and a career-high 15 assists to lead the Bucks to their sixth straight victory. Antetokounmpo, who also had a triple-double in the season opener, has 16 career triple-doubles. Milwaukee is 14-2 in those games.

Eric Bledsoe added 30 points and six assists in the Bucks’ highest-scoring game of the season.

After scoring 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting in 24 minutes in his season debut Tuesday night against the Pelicans, Anthony had 10 points in the first half Thursday. The 10-time All-Star finished with 18 points (6-of-15 shooting) and seven rebounds for the Blazers, who were without Hassan Whiteside (hip), Damian Lillard (back), Zach Collins (shoulder) and Jusuf Nurkic (leg).

CJ McCollum scored a game-high 37 points and Skal Labissiere added 22 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks off the bench for Portland. The Trail Blazers lost their third straight game and seventh of the last nine against the Bucks, including sixth straight in Milwaukee.

The Bucks made their first seven shots, including three 3s, and led 17-6. Milwaukee never trailed.

The Bucks also had their highest first-half total, leading 72-58.

Report: Knicks not looking to make early-season coaching change with David Fizdale

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It didn’t take a Kremlinologist to read into what Knicks president Steve Mills said at his forced by the owner impromptu press conference 10 games into the NBA season:

Coach David Fizdale was in trouble. Big trouble.

It may not just be immediate, reports Marc Berman at the New York Post.

Mills wanted to see “consistent effort” and he’s gotten it. Indications are the coach’s hot seat is cooler halfway through this 10-game trial. Their record is 2-3 since the James Dolan-inspired conference, but could easily be 4-1 (they blew big leads to Charlotte, losing on a last-second 3-pointer, and, of course, had Philly dead in the water)…

The Knicks had to really sink south for a coaching change to be made by Game 20. Indications are it was far-fetched for a change to be made this early anyway. Was owner James Dolan, who has given Fizdale private reassurances, really going to let president Mills hire a new coach from the outside on a long-term deal with Fizdale still having at least one season fully guaranteed on his pact for 2020-21? Sources indicated the major deterrent to making a change at Thanksgiving was the sketchy alternative of promoting one of the assistants – Jud Buechler, Keith Smart or Kaleb Canales.

Good luck finding anyone who thinks Fizdale is safe long term in New York (and for the record, Smart has been an NBA head coach before, there are worse choices).

However, making a mid-season coaching change should really only happen for a couple of reasons. One is that the situation is so bad, so toxic, that it could poison the team into future seasons. The other is that there is a coach available on the sidelines that the team sees as “the man” going forward and they want to snap him up before someone else does (the Kings hiring George Karl comes to mind, although he turned out not to be “the man” they needed).

Not sure either of those situations applies to the Knicks and Fizdale. A move is more likely in the offseason.

However, predict James Dolan’s moods at your own risk.

Cavaliers’ new jerseys feature a big ol’ feather

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The Cavaliers rank near the top of the NBA by taking 19% of their total shots outside the restricted area while still in the paint. But Cleveland has converted just a middling 41% of attempts in that floater/runner range.

Maybe these uniforms will help the Cavs find a more feathery touch.

Though not in so many words, the Cavaliers actually stuck a feather on their jerseys and called it macaroni.

Jarrett Allen denies Kyrie Irving rumors, “He acts like a normal teammate”

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It hasn’t taken long for the “Kyrie Irving isn’t a good leader in Brooklyn” rumor mill to start up. The Nets 6-8 start combined with a desire in some corners of the NBA (and NBA Twitter) to pile on Irving has started the talk. Whether those rumors are just smoke or there’s some fire there depends on who you ask.

It was ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith who brought the topic to the forefront again on First Take.

Just as a refresher, anything Smith says should be taken with a full box of Morton’s Kosher salt. His job is to stir things up. That doesn’t mean he has no connections.

Nets center Jarrett Allen did an AMA on Bleacher Report and shot down the idea Irving is a bad influence in the locker room.

He acts like a normal teammate. People say that he has mood swings, but that’s a complete lie. He wants to see us succeed and do well if anything.

Allen added this when asked to compare playing with Irving vs. D'Angelo Russell.

They’re kind of different. Kyrie can score from anywhere, even without me setting up the pick-and-roll. DLo…we worked well; if he didn’t score, he’d kick it to me to score.

The Nets are a franchise inhabiting a strange space this season. First, this ultimately is Kevin Durant‘s team, but he doesn’t really get the keys until he can play, which almost certainly means next season. That makes Irving an interim Alpha on that team, but that’s an unusual dynamic.

Second, this is a Nets team that has rebounded from as low as it can get in the NBA to being a place Irving and KD wanted to play by establishing a culture, an identity. This is a lunch pail group of players who were selfless and bought into the team’s ideas and concepts. Nobody was a superstar, it was team first. Except, in come two superstars who bring their own ways of doing things — and the Nets can’t mess with that. There are compromises that need to go on for both sides, with Irving/KD bending to the Nets some, but the Nets giving them superstar treatment.

All of that creates friction that is going to rub some people the wrong way. Plus, Irving is a unique personality who is going to do things his way, and that will bother others. Some of those people will talk to the media, but that doesn’t mean everyone — or even a majority — feel the same way. It’s usually people who feel aggrieved who want to vent.

How all this plays out in Brooklyn is going to be something to watch. But the ultimate test is next season, not this one.