Film Analysis: Early use of high-low passing between Spurs’ frontcourt


The quintet of LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, David Lee, Dewayne Dedmon, and rookie Davis Bertans currently make up the San Antonio Spurs’ frontcourt this season. When looking at how those five players are developing chemistry when on the floor together in lineups of two, the high-low passing sequence might be a good indicator of when players are getting a knack of finding their teammates in solid position right under or near the rim for a dunk, layup, or post-up attempt.

For those that might need a reminder of what the high-low passing sequence involves, it’s traditionally when one big (4/5) is trying to establish position in the low block on either the left or right side, meanwhile, the big (5/4) who will make the high to low pass is usually standing above the 3-point arc or above the middle of the mid-range area, as illustrated below in the play diagram.


Through 15 games together, the two main bigs who have really found a connection with the high-low passing are Aldridge and Gasol – the Spurs’ two starting big men (as well as Lee to Aldridge on a possession).

Aldridge is the Spurs’ second leading scorer with averages of 18.4 points per game on 47.3% shooting. When digging deeper into how Aldridge is shooting when he attempts shots in the restricted area, he’s made 39-of-66 looks in that area (59.1%), which is 2.6% better than the league average. Going further into the data, you’ll find that on nine of Aldridge’s made baskets this season, it’s been Gasol who has fed him for those nine baskets, which ranks Gasol third on the team in assists to Aldridge.

But, it’s not just Aldridge and Gasol who have developed the early chemistry with the high-low passing, as the clip below will show some evidence of Aldridge returning the high-low pass to Gasol on a possession, then Lee finding Aldridge, Gasol finding Lee, and lastly, Lee finding Dedmon.

While the Spurs’ bigs all have their own unique skills in how they score baskets, the high-low passing sequence is one way to see early chemistry forming between their frontcourt through 17 games of the season.


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