04 October, 2022
14 May, 2023
11 Siim-sander Vene (JLM), 6 Itay Segev (JLM), 23 Afek Amsalem (JLM), 80 Or Cornelius (JLM)
Diccon Lloyd-Smeath's Champions League Insider
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Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem - Post to Post

 MIES (Switzerland) - Things are really starting to take shape for Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem. Since they lost at home to MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg on the 19th of October, something seemed to click. They are now 9-2 in all competitions since that game, including a road win at Maccabi Tel Aviv and now getting revenge in Germany against Ludwigsburg.

Zach Hankins has clearly been a driving force in that dramatic turnaround. The American has averaged 18.3 points in the BCL since the start of November, whilst also shooting 76.4 percent. Speedy Smith has also had a big hand in flipping the switch for Aleksandar Dzikic's squad, after averaging 9.6 assists in the BCL during that same period. However, the turnaround has clearly been a full team effort. Jerusalem have the third-best Assist Ratio in the BCL since the start of November, with over 21 percent of their possessions ending with an assist. If we use a different metric to measure the way they are sharing the ball and look at the entire season, Dzikic's squad is now recording an assist for 72 percent of their made field goals. Elite level sharing of the ball.

Post to Post

One of the clearest examples of this team really clicking was the way their bigs shared the ball with each other in that pivotal win over Ludwigsburg that took them to the top spot in the group. Getting assists from big to big is often a very good indicator of a healthy offensive system that is functioning at a high level. Mainly because they almost always result in a wide-open shot at the front of the rim but also because the space and time are so limited in those tight areas in the paint, so the chemistry required between teammates to find each other is no small feat. Against Ludwigsburg, Jerusalem produced four assists from post-to-post. 

Spacing and making the right reads were the key to the first one. Watch #80, Cornelius, on the weak side. Often you would expect a shooter to be in the corner but Cornelius is lifted to the wing, bringing his defender with him, and leaving the space that Hankins eventually took advantage of.  Then, notice the read that Hankins makes when his defender helps on #2, Randolph's pump fake. Instead of staying put, he drifts to the rim. #5, Mejeris, already knew where Hankins would be before he caught the ball. This is what chemistry looks like on offense.


The second was a beauty of a wraparound dump-off by Oz Blayzer. The lack of defensive rotations might not make for the most enjoyable watch for Ludwigsburg in their film sessions but Jerusalem won't care. These are the type of passes that build trust between teammates and it was by no means an easy pass to make.


In this third clip, Hankins is the creator and returns the favor for Mejeris. The patience and timing of the cut from Mejeris was the key here but first watch #4, Speedy Smith notice that Ludwigsburg had switched the ball screen and directed Hankins into the post. This forced Ludwigsburg to send a double on the baseline with Mejeris' defender. 


Another well-timed cut and unselfish play from Mejeris and Hankins on the final post-to-post play. Ludwigsburg blitzed the pick-and-roll between Smith and Hankins, which resulted in an automatic short roll pass to Hankins.  Notice how Mejeris has already started his cut before Hankins even receives the pass. These are well-drilled, automatic reads, with crisp execution. Saying that Hankins could easily have been forgiven for still choosing to shoot himself. The player helping off Mejeris is #23, Justin Johnson who is a solid defender but at 1m 99, he was unlikely to have much effect on any shot Hankins took that close to the rim. The fact that Jerusalem's center chose to turn down a good shot for a better one - especially in such a pivotal game with the score so close - is a great window into the mindset of this team at this point in the season.



Finally, we end up with a set that Dzikic and Jerusalem ran to start the game. The first clip in the video below was the very first action of the game and had clearly come straight off Dzikic's tactics board. Notice the patience to not force a shot when they don't get anything from the first staggered screen into the pick-and-roll. Also notice that we see the same spacing with Cornelius lifted out of the weak side corner when Randolph drives and dumps it off to Hankins. Then, in the second clip, Hankins reads the Ludwigsburg coverage on the pick-and-roll very early and slips into the short roll. Again, he could have chosen to finish over 1m 91 Polas Bartolo but instead made the right decision to find Cornelius for the three-ball. 


Diccon Lloyd-Smeath

Diccon Lloyd-Smeath

Diccon is a basketball coach and analyst living in Madrid. Constantly digging in the crates of box scores and clicking through hours of game footage. Diccon is on the hunt for the stories within the stories. If you like to get a closer look at what’s going in the Basketball Champions League, you have found it.