Why The Warriors’ Supposedly Illegal Screens Are Actually Some Of The Most Beautiful Parts Of Basketball

Many felt the above screen Draymond Green set for Steph Curry in Golden State’s 118-112 win over Miami on Wednesday night was illegal. There’s a whole r/NBA reddit thread with more than 3,100 up-votes calling what he did “the most illegal screen imaginable.” Green does appear to slide his feet so Deng can’t get over the pick, and moving screens are illegal. It was a simple on-ball screen after Hassan Whiteside swatted Dray’s own attempt at a three, but it calls to mind various complaints and theories about how the Warriors get so many open looks when every opponent crafts their entire game plan around stopping the Splash Brothers.

Technically speaking, Dray was moving his feet on the play a little bit, preventing Deng from getting over by him. But, as the official two-minute report notes, Green “gives him room to avoid the contact.”

The same could be said for the double-drag screen Green and Bogut set for Steph’s shot on the possession before.


In fact, that play’s not even in the two-minute report. That’s how standard such screens are in the NBA. Look at this seemingly innocuous screen Nikola Vucevic sets on Klay Thompson in an effort to open up an Evan Fournier curl on Thursday:

Vucevic shuffles along with Klay to give Evan Fournier even more time to turn the corner, but Bogut had smartly nudged Fournier as he came around, and Shaun Livingston was hedging very closely into the paint, so Fournier couldn’t turn the corner like he wanted to because of Vucevic’s slightly moving screen.

There are a couple other Warriors picks we should look at late in the fourth quarter of Wednesday night’s game, because they go a long way towards illustrating how difficult it is to ascertain whether or not a pick is legal if you’re not well versed in NBA basketball. NBA refs might drive you crazy, but you can’t say they don’t watch a whole bunch of hoops, and the league office’s increasing transparency with their officials has cleared up a lot of the discrepancies that used to drive everyone bonkers. Now, people just save most of their spittle for flops.