Monday, May 4, 2015

Film review: James Anderson and elevator doors

The Sixers don't use it often, but this might be their most beautiful offensive play.

Film review: James Anderson and elevator doors

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In many ways, the last week has been a microcosm of the Sixers’ up-and-down season thus far. The victories, such as the one in Portland on Saturday, have often come in thrilling fashion. The losses, like on Monday to Minnesota and Tuesday to Cleveland, have generally been downright ugly.

Along with the team’s porous three-point defense, Brett Brown’s offensive creativity remains one of the few constants. A few weeks ago, we did a post detailing Brown’s pet plays (specific, favorite sets) for Evan Turner, James Anderson, and Spencer Hawes.

Today, we’ll take a look at one of the other sets that Brown has incorporated into the Sixers’ offense: the Elevator Doors.

This action was made popular by the Golden State Warriors and their dynamic shooting duo, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. For my money, nothing tops this play from an aesthetic standpoint. When executed properly, it’s absolutely beautiful to watch.

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“Elevator doors” requires a three-point shooter adept at running off screens, like Curry and Thompson. James Anderson is really the only player on the Sixers’ roster with that particular skill set, so a majority of these bad boys are run for him.

The Sixers’ variation of “elevator doors” starts out somewhat similarly to one of their main sets, “loop.” The point guard, Tony Wroten, dribbles toward the strong-side wing, Hollis Thompson, who “loops” toward the top of the key, where he receives the pass from Wroten.


Where the play starts to differ from “loop” is on the weak side. Notice that the weak-side wing and trailer, James Anderson and Brandon Davies, have shaded toward the middle of the floor from their normal spots. In fact, Davies moves all the way to the strong-side elbow. After passing, Wroten flares off Davies’ screen to the weak side.


Wroten’s cut is completely meant for misdirection purposes, as Anderson is whom the play is designed for. The ensuing double screen, set by Davies and Daniel Orton, mimics, you guessed it, elevator doors. In the first shot below, they’re open. As soon as Anderson darts between them, they’re closed.


Here are a few examples of the set in real time:

While totally awesome, this play is only a small wrinkle at this point for the Sixers. I’d guess they usually run it once or sometimes twice per game.

Rich Hofmann Jr. can be contacted @rich_hofmann.

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About this blog
Bob Cooney has been at the Daily News for more than 20 years, working in the sports department for the past 15. This is his third season on the Sixers beat. He has covered just about everything, but mostly college basketball, where he was the La Salle beat writer for six seasons. E-mail Bob at and follow him on Twitter.

Bob Cooney
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