The San Antonio Spurs have played just seven regular season games so far in their young 2016-17 NBA season. While team and player statistics can dramatically increase or decrease from night to night because of the small sample size early in the season, game film can stay pretty consistent and show a glimpse of some sets the Spurs will continue to use down the road.
One such set that’s been used a few times to get the Spurs’ traditional power forwards (LaMarcus Aldridge and David Lee) some good efficient looks, has been a post entry from the Horns set.
The Horns set is used when the two bigs (4 and 5) each start the possession near the elbow area. I diagramed the action of the play below.
Using this type of post-up possession has its advantages instead of just having a guard bring the ball down the floor and dump a pass into the post. For one, there’s more player movement involved, where all five players on the floor have to complete an action in order to make the play effective.
Second, the play doesn’t always have to start with a point guard, as any of the players playing around the arc can initiate the actions and complete the passes, which means it can be used within two possessions from anywhere on the floor, if needed.
Another benefit is that when the wing player with the ball (3 usually) gets to the left side of the arc, there is now enough spacing to run an Angle Clear Pick-and-Roll, which was described in the piece, Film Analysis: Four Spurs Pick & Rolls vs Warriors.
This type of possession can also cause mismatches to happen if defenses aren’t fully focused and instead of going around screens, they might make the mistake of switching a guard onto one of the bigs who is about to get the post-up.
Lastly, this type of set can get better position closer to the rim for the post-up player, and if executed correctly, the right spacing around the arc can allow for a 1-on-1 matchup, and in the event a double team is brought on by the defense, the post-up player can kick out to a shooter or cutter.
Here are the Spurs running the play in action early through this season.