So here we are 14 games in and it looks like the Horns set is going to be used just as much as 1in-4out in the Magic offense. There has been tons of raving about how spacing for Howard wouldn't work(a proven myth,) and concerns on how our lane attacking pg could operate effectively in a set that didn't use 1/4. These concerns, no matter how quasi legitimate they seemed, have not shown themselves much within the season. There's been bad shooting, high turn-overs- everything but bad spacing and lack of opportunity.
Why is this? Because the horns set's bread and butter is extremely similar to the 1/4's bread and butter(aka the 1-5 pick and roll.) To understand this, you'll first need to understand how the 1-5 pick and roll work in the 1/4 set:
Ok so here's the 1/5 Pick and roll in the 1/4 set. Lewis, Redick, and Richardson man the 3 point line. They can move to allow themselves better passing angles if their man leaves to help, but generally their job is keep the defenders away from Howard and Nelson or bury the open three ball if their defender leaves to help.
Jameer is given the option to either curl around Howard's Screen and streak to the rim or step back from Howard for a Jumper. Which of those he does depends on the defender but are ultimately his decision.
Howard's defender is taught to hedge the shooter on screens, which means stepping outside Howard just enough to stop Jameer from having a straight line to the goal so that Jameer's defender has time to recover from the screen. As soon as Howard's defender begins to hedge, he is expected to roll to the basket. This is the crucial part of this play. Howard(no matter how good the defender is) will be open at some point on this cut if the defender hedge's Meer. This is why you will hear people complaining about Jameer not making the over the top pass, the opening will always be there and if that pass makes it to Howard, look where he is- Super Dunk time. If the defender does not hedge, Meer is supposed to move away from Howard and take his open J off the screen. If any other defender collapses to help, the ball is to be rotated to that defender's man for an open three. After this fizzles, Dwight will set up on the block to work the post for the rest of the clock- Here it becomes a true 1in/4out, with all 4 players besides Howard at the three point line waiting for one of their defenders to collapse. If the defender collapses, once again, howard kicks the ball to the perimeter and either its shot then or rotated to the open shooter as at least 1 of them is short a defender.
Now for the Horns after the Jump:
The "Bread and Butter" Horns play is similar to the 1/5 pick and roll from 1in/4out because Meer is still using a big man screen with an empty lane behind them. The difference is that in the Horns he gets 2 screens to make decisions off of instead of 1- and on the second screen bass will move up and out to the top of the key instead of rolling to the lane like Howard.
Once again Redick and Lewis man the corner three waiting for their defender to leave so they can have the open 3.
Also you'll notice the first motion in the horns set is a 1/5 pick and roll. The difference with the horns set however is options.
Meer's first choice is after the Howard screen, does he curl around the screen, pass or continue. If he curls, it's because his man is stuck on the other side of Howard and should have an easy trip to the Goal until Howard's man collapses. Regardles of Jameer's choice here, Howard will be diving down to the goal after setting his pick, so if Howard's man rotate's off him, once again he throws an over the top pass to Howard for an Alley-oop or a near the basket pass for a post up for Howard(the pass is determined by where Howard's man positions himself after the screen is set.)
If he continues across the top after Howard's screen, Bass is expected to recognize it and immediately step up for the 1/4 screen. Jameer does NOT generally have room off of the Howard screen to slide out for a shot because Bass is filling that part of court, he has to continue into the next screen by Bass if he does not drive. So, Here Meer gets a few choices again- He can curl around bass' screen and drive the lane, Pass to Bass at the top for a shot, or move away from bass after the screen for his own shot. Whats important to note here is how much room Howard still has down low, and how many choices Meer has on the play. The amount of options he has here is what makes the Horns set less predictable than the 1in/4out in addition to having a set to run beside 1/4 making them generally less predictable. From here the play unfolds a little further:
Meer once again has the choice here on what to do. Dwight will move to the middle of the paint and attempt to establish himself for a post up there. If he's successful, Meer will get him the ball for what looks an awful lot like the 1in/4out finished set. The difference is that bass is inside the three line at the top of the key.
After Bass's screen, Jameer has another call he has to make. He needs to force Bass' man to make a decision, either defend him, or defend Bass. If Bass' defender hedges out on Meer, Meer should drive and force Bass' defender down to help. Bass in turn moves slightly away to the top right of the key so that when his man moves he already has enough space to take his shot. Once again the over the top pass can be required to pass over Bass' man to Howard-or the other option: a pass back to Bass at the top of the key(whichever is there.) If Bass's man does not hedge, Jameer should move slightly past bass towards the three point line and take his shot, or closer in if the opening is there- its all his decision. The 2 shooters, in this case Redick and Lewis, slightly adjust their position to create an easier passing lane for Meer or from bass or Howard. If the play fizzles your left with either bass or Meer trying to make the pass into Howard in the paint.
This isn't how every 1in/4out play will act out, or how every horns set will act out. These are the basic, and most common uses of the 2 sets however when utilizing Howard. If Howard sits it changes a bit so that after the fizzle, Bass or Lewis get the ball on Isolation. After seeing whats occurring, its easy to understand why Duhon would struggle to control the offense- everything in the play's development depends on a split second decision from the point guard.
What I believe people should also note is that the Horn's set works just like the 1in/4out 1/5 pick and roll in function. The choices are slightly different, and there is 2 screens at the top instead of 1. But there is still a man diving down(Howard) with 4 shooters spaced out so Howard can't get easily doubled during his post up. And thats how the Magic can transition between the two so easily, the only thing really changing is the double screen to start the play and where the power forward sets up for his shot. It still utilizes the same skills out everyone but the power forward- which is a good thing because Bass is not gonna start raining threes all of the sudden so the Magic needed a set the got the best out of his abilities.
Hope this was worth the read :)