Right Play Wednesday: Collins Beefs with Trae, Clarkson Evades Giannis, and Portis Stops a Three.

This Week’s Right Play Wednesday includes Collins snapping at Trae Young, Clarkson evading Giannis, and Bobby Portis with a great closeout. Make sure to check out all our previous Right Play Wednesdays:

Collins Still Displeased with Trae Young

In early January, reports came out about Collins being upset with the way that Young was running the offense. Clearly, these feelings haven’t left as Collins ends this possession unable to contain his disappointment. 

Let’s start at the beginning though. The action begins with 18 seconds on the shot clock where the sole purpose is for Capela to get Young the ball back. Capela has literal tunnel vision from the moment he catches the ball: he only intends to get Young the ball.

Once Young gets possession again, he drives directly towards Collins who started posting up. By the time Young decides that he can’t create any sort of advantage, he throws a pass way outside of Collins’ shooting pocket. For a brief moment, you can see Young angry with himself, but it’s clearer to see Collins twice showing his disgust with the possession. – Cody Houdek

Clarkson: Master of Time and Space

Clarkson’s layup against the reigning MVP Giannis is a masterclass in acceleration manipulation, using your body as a shield, and weird shot-making. Admittedly, Giannis isn’t a great 1-on-1 defender particularly when squaring off against quicker guards, but he still has a solid 9 inches (closer to 1,000 when considering wingspan) on Clarkson. To combat this, Clarkson relies on guile. 

His first gather step helps launch him into Giannis’ chest. The second exaggerated step fools Giannis into leaping too early for the block. Giannis is still able to contest the shot with his length, but Clarkson creates just enough space to reach wayyyy back to flip in the shot. – Cody Houdek

Portis with the Boring but (nearly) Perfect Closeout

Closing out, the fundamental skill you learned in middle school, is one of the most difficult skills to master on defense. Close out too hard and you risk fouling a three-point shot or opener yourself up to being burned. Stop too short and it’s an open triple. (Earlier in the season, I wrote about  and podded about Zion struggling with this, but some further discourse on Twitter points towards the possibility that I need to revisit his defense). 

During the Jazz’s offensive clinic against the Bucks, newcomer Bobby Portis showed off an impressive closeout on the perimeter. The key to his staying in front of O’Neale is three-fold: 1) he fakes like he’s going to jump for a contest; 2) he stops in the perfect position to prevent a jumper; and 3) he ends his closeout perfectly balanced and ready to move laterally. Should his steps be a little choppier to slow his momentum? Maybe in an ideal world, but at NBA speed, being able to make these moves on the fly is all the matters. – Cody Houdek

Point Thad

Yes, I am writing about Thaddeus Young again.

The Bulls are 4-4 over their last 8 and steadily hovering in the play-in race, even with numerous injuries impeding their success (Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter Jr., Wendell Carter Jr. just returned against Indiana).

In that stretch, all the games of February, Thad Young is averaging 13.4 ppg/6.4 rpg/4.5 apg on slightly above a 2:1 A:TO ratio.

Thad is setting the table for much of what Chicago does; this bullet pass sets the Pacers all over the place in rotation and is just gorgeous. As long as Thad Young is playing, I’m going to highlight the little things he does that impact winning and great team basketball.

This is the way. – Mark Schindler

Jarred Vanderbilt vs. LeBron

Jarred Vanderbilt has one of the most active motors I’ve seen from a 21-year old and already is one of the better energy players in the league. Pair that with his 7’1 wingspan and budding basketball IQ, and Vanderbilt is one of the young players that I’m most intrigued by in the NBA.

Last night the Wolves took on the Lakers and actually gave them a great contest, led by a career night from Anthony Edwards. However, Vanderbilt’s defense on LeBron James to close the game really caught my eye.

Vanderbilt’s so quick laterally, has a fairly strong base, knows how to use his length, and makes quality reads off-ball. He can overplay a bit with his energy, but this stretch in the fourth quarter was fantastic. As he continues to develop and hone both his footwork and decision-making…. man.

He has a lot of strides to make to become a more viable offensive player, but he’s flashing things on the defensive end that 20+ teams in the NBA are searching for, including the Denver Nuggets.

Keep Jarred Vanderbilt on your radar. – Mark Schindler

Kenny Hustle Hustling

Kenrich Williams is a joy to watch. He’s the grit and grind grizzlies morphed into one player, always fighting through screens, diving for loose balls, and doign the dirty work for his team.

He can pretty comfortably play minutes guarding 2-4, can handle a litte, rebounds better than his size (8.8% Offensive Rebound rate in 2020-21, 100th %ile among forwards per Cleaning The Glass), and his shot has fallen well this year albeit on low volume.

He’s on a three-year deal that was inked in November, although the last two years are non-guaranteed. Williams is the kind of player who has a spot on any team, rebuilding or contending.

I just really enjoy watching Kenrich play. If his shot falls at a solid clip, think 35% or above, he’s a rotation player pretty much anywhere. If you haven’t watched much of the Thunder play this year, check in if only to see Williams grind on defense. – Mark Schindler

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