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NBA 5-Out Offense: Delay Flare
Time to return to the 5-Out offense study before the season starts to dive into more specific actions that teams run! Previously I looked at some of the spacing, common actions, and sets out of “Wide” series and touched on “Delay” - all of those links and more can be found in the “5-Out” section.
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Mike D’Antoni & Origins
The reason I call this “Delay” is I got the term from a former NBA coach who told me that is what the staff called it and took the name from Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni has obviously revolutionized the game of basketball with space & 5-Out offense but even he didn’t use this action as a primary offense until his time in Houston. Majority of the time this Delay action was used as specials for sets and concepts out of timeouts.
Another example below of the Knicks running basic Delay action from the 2008-09 season.
The setup of this is pretty simple, bring the ball up in 5-Out and enter the ball to the player in the middle of the floor. I mentioned above that this is designed to pass the ball to a big in the middle (what I call the sweet spot - thanks Bill Self), and then run actions after that with the big as the primary playmaker.
Previous Breakdowns in the 5-Out Offense study:
Part 1 - NBA 5 Out Offense: Spacing
Part 2 - NBA 5-Out Offense: Wide
Part 3 - NBA 5-Out Offense: Wide Dribble
Part 4 - NBA 5-Out Offense: Wide Elbow
Part 5 - NBA 5-Out Offense: Wide Specials
Part 6 - NBA 5-Out Offense: Delay
Having a big handle the ball is not always the best option, there is a considerable difference between passing to Draymond Green or Andrew Bogut than there is passing to Mason Plumlee or Mo Bamba. With the evolution of modern bigs handling, passing & shooting this has become a more prevalent option.
A good example of using Draymond as a playmaker here:
An example of when it is not the best playmaker:
In the Delay breakdown, I mentioned how some teams call 5-Out offense “Open” to play and make reads out of. This is more common now, but I found the original (well, the first one I caught anyway) call from Brad Stevens in 2015-16 for “Delay Flare.”
The Delay 5-Out setup that is triggered by an entry to the big in the middle of the floor, with the other players spaced outside the 3 point line.
Once the ball is passed the player from the strongside corner sets a flare screen for the passer.
This can allow the player coming off the flare to catch and shoot or create an advantage to attack closeouts when the defense plays this with conventional coverage.
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Delay Flare Slip
NBA teams have started to switch actions more and more often so the Flare screen is a great counter that opens up slip opportunities.
The reason the Flare/Slip action is hard to guard is that when teams switch this they are automatically on the high side where the screen is set.
When you switch you are taught to “Talk, Touch, Take” so when the Flare is set it typically results in miscommunication or blown switches since the only place to “take” is opposite of the basket.
Big Initiates Delay Flare
The ability to play random and run these actions out of 5-Out offense without calls is key in today’s NBA. What teams like the Warriors, Nuggets & Celtics do is use players like Jokic & Horford to initiate the offense and bring it up the floor, running these actions in the flow of the offense.
Delay Flare DHO
Another action that teams flow into if the defense doesn't switch is to have the player who sets the flare screen then go right into a dribble handoff.
When the Flare screen is set the player defending the flare screen typically will hesitate to allow the handoff to be cleaner.
Delay Flare Side Hand Off
The Warriors run a set that uses the Delay Flare Slip action then flows into an empty side handoff. Once the player sets the flare he continues to the other side of the floor with some weakside action, and when normally run for Steph the pressure he puts on the defense makes this action tough to guard.
Delay Flare Slip Runner
Another counter from the Warriors, this one is predominantly an After Time Out set with Steph setting the initial Flare screen. Steph slips into the lane and then continues running opposite off a pindown.
Delay Flare Slip Top Chicago
It wouldn’t be a proper 5-Out breakdown without a Mike D’Antoni counter, one he used during his time in Houston. The Rockets use the Flare Slip action as decoy, then go the other way for Chicago action for a drive downhill.
Delay Flare Slip Triple
The Clippers also used the Flare Slip action as Decoy, but then have the other 3 players set a triple screen for the player they initially set the Flare for Kennard.
Zipper Delay Flare
A rare sideline out of Bounds into Delay Flare action, the Trailblazers used this action often to set up splits between Dame & CJ by flowing into 5-Out after the Zipper cut.
If you liked this breakdown feel free to share it & if you have any other scenarios, plays, or thoughts on any future breakdowns let me know in the comments below!