In Wednesday’s NIT quarterfinal game between Lipscomb and North Carolina State, head coach Casey Alexander drew up a simple and effective baseline out of bounds play. As you will see below in the clip, Lipscomb ran a play to set a screen for the inbounder, Matt Rose (#12) to get a shot in the corner. There was then a timeout to review a foul and in that timeout, Coach Alexander made a brilliant adjustment to get an easy layup. Obviously, the read made by the inbounder is fantastic, but the spacing created by Garrison Mathews (#24) on the weak side was the key. He was making everything he shot and forced the defense to play him tight, which opened up the lane for an easy pass and layup.
Maryland executed this great set at the end of the game to take the lead @ Michigan. As the ball is entered into the post, Maryland is able to keep great spacing on the floor. Anthony Cowen Jr. takes his man to the weak side of the floor to clear out any help side defense. Because he changes his speed, his defender must honor him as a cutter, which takes him out of his help side responsibilities. Darryl Morsell relocates to the corner to give Michal Cekovsky room to make the pass. Kevin Huerter does a fantastic job of setting up his man and exploding off the down screen set by Joshua Tomaic. Huerter gets his feet set and makes a great shot to take the lead. Unfortunately for Maryland, they would foul on the next possession and lose to Michigan on a pair of free throws.
*Another option is for the 4 to slip the screen if the defense tries to take away the shot at the top of the key.
(Video clips below)
In the first two games of the series between Milwaukee and Toronto in the NBA Playoffs, Giannis Antetokounmpo has only been used in 32.5% of the Bucks ball screen offense. As a team, Milwaukee is averaging 0.93 PPP in their ball screen offense. I'm curious as to why Jason Kidd doesn't use The Greek Freak more often as he is averaging 1.38 PPP in ball screen situations.
As I watch film of games 1 & 2, Toronto struggles with match-ups and how to guard Giannis. When he is the ball handler, the Bucks typically have a guard (Brogdon or Dellavedova) setting the screen. Because of Giannis' length and the ability to pick and pop, defenses are unsure how to guard. In the clips below you can see Giannis take advantage of these matchups. When the defense tries to switch, he hesitates and attacks the rim. When they try to "ice" the ball screen, he is too fast for the big to contain on the sideline. If they sit back and guard the paint, he has a great mid-range game to pull up.
The Bucks also do a terrific job of spacing the floor when Giannis is the screener. Again, defenses must honor the guard attacking the rim, but this allows Giannis to find a window in the paint. Khris Middleton is always spacing the floor and taking his defender with him. With his shooting ability from outside, the defense is forced to make a choice - guard the 3 or help on the roll man.
For was well as the Bucks execute their ball screen offense with The Greek Freak, I'd like to see them do it more often the rest of the playoffs. Giannis' ability to exploit match-ups in the ball screen is incredible and could be the difference maker the rest of the way. I'm interested to see if Jason Kidd makes this adjustment because I don't see the Raptors being able to consistently guard this action.
Purdue executed a simple BLOB two times in their game vs. Northwestern on February 1, 2017. In the video below you will see the high/low action with Caleb Swanigan & Isaac Haas. With two dominate bigs, Purdue is able to execute the timing perfectly and get position under the basket for an easy shot. (There are two BLOBs in the video and a diagram below).
Ethan Happ gives a textbook example of how to run the floor in transition. After securing a defensive rebound and making the outlet pass, Happ puts his head down and sprints right down the middle of the floor. He beats his man down the floor, but when he doesn't receive a pass in stride, he initiates contact with his defender at the elbow to hold his position. By doing this, he allows Zak Showalter to get a better angle to make an easy post feed. Because Happ kept his defender on top, he was able to leverage great positioning and make a quick move to the basket.
HOW TO SHOT FAKE
Villanova's Kris Jenkins utilized the shot fake to perfection over the weekend during their game vs. Notre Dame. As you'll see in the video below, he was able to get two points and a free throw simply because of his ability to use a shot fake.
FEET SQUARED, LEGS REMAIN LOADED
On the catch, Jenkins does everything the same way he would as if he were going to shoot the basketball. His feet are ready and his knees are bent, exactly like they are when he shoots. The defender must respect his shooting ability because Jenkins gives the impression that he is going to shoot. When he performs the shot fake, he keeps his legs loaded, ready to explode. Many young players will extend their knees, which takes away their ability to drive. By keeping his legs loaded he is able to quickly go past the defender.
GIVE THE DEFENDER TIME TO REACT
But before he can go past the defender, he must get him in the air. He accomplishes this by executing a patient, but crisp shooting motion. His fake takes approximately 0.3 seconds, the amount of time multiple studies have shown is needed for the human mind to react. His eyes stay focused on the rim giving the impression that he is locked in. Everything looks exactly like he is going to shoot, which gets the defender to bite and leave the floor.
As he drives, he executes a great jump stop and gives another quick shot fake. Just like the earlier fake, he keeps his legs loaded with his eyes on the rim. The fake takes just long enough for the defender to react before Jenkins initiates contact and gets the And 1.
5 SPOT CLOSEOUT
This is a great defensive closeout drill that also works on explosiveness to level off, shooting, and conditioning. Anytime we run this drill we expect our players to pay great attention to the details through fatigue. Here's how the drill works:
Follow along using the hashtag #DefenseWeek!
2 v 2 FIGHT FOR VISION
2 v 2 Fight for Vision is a great drill to train players to see ball & man while being in a constant state of relocation & movement. As you can see from the diagram below, there are 4 progressions you can go through to work on various phases of defense.
To start out, have a coach or manager remain stationary at a spot with the ball. Give the offensive players freedom to cut whenever they want. Your defenders must find a way to "fight for vision" the entire time. This drill will help your players awareness as they relocate constantly. Read the descriptions in the diagram to get a better feel for how the drill works.
- Commit to proper positioning on the floor. Always be in great GAP and help position.
- Make sure that defenders head is always on a swivel, fighting for vision to see ball and man.
- Focus on their communication with each other. Vision is often times strengthened when our other senses (such as hearing) are stimulated.
- Urge the offensive players to make hard cuts and to make it difficult for the defense. The harder the offense works, the better the defense will become.
Follow along & contribute your insights on Twitter using the hashtag #DefenseWeek!
MAN IN THE MIDDLE CLOSEOUTS
This is a simple closeout drill that not only focuses on proper closeouts and on-ball defense, but it also allows offensive players an opportunity to focus on ball security and passing.
The drill begins with 2 passing the ball to 1. x1 immediately closes out to 1 as if he were a shooter. In our pack line defense we always want our players to closeout with an angle to take away a baseline drive. After x1 traces the ball and practices jumping up/back, 1 will pass the ball to 2 and then become the "new x1." He will proceed to closeout to 2 and the rotation will continue as such. Make sure to rotate your players from right wing, to top, to left wing, so that they get an opportunity to practice at various spots. Below are some teaching points and a diagram of the drill.
- Sprint to closeout into 3-4 short, choppy steps.
- Closeout with angle to take away baseline drive.
- Make sure to have high hands. One or two hands is up to you as a coach.
- Keep legs loaded; ready to move and explode on dribble penetration.
- Encourage offensive players to be strong with the ball and make game like passes.
POINTS OF EMPHASIS
- Perform each skill at game speed.
- Expect lots of communication & voice pressure.
- Practice from different spots on the floor (corners, wings, top).
Make sure to follow @CoachWingreen & #DefenseWeek on Twitter to see various insights and drills of our pack line defense!
Here is a great sidelines out of bounds play executed by Wisconsin out of the timeout to win the game. Coach Gard had two options coming out of the timeout and the play was executed to perfection. Take a look at the video clip and diagram below.
Coach Rick Byrd, Head Men's Basketball Coach at Belmont, has always been a great X's & O's mind. Every season he seems to have some of the best BLOBs that are executed to perfection every time. In the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament last week, Belmont ran this brilliant BLOB out of the timeout and caught the Austin Peay defender sleeping. The false action on the opposite side of the floor allow the Belmont offense to take advantage of the poor defense. See video clip and FastDraw diagram below.
This play was executed at the end of the Iowa vs. Minnesota game from 2/14/16. This is a simple set that requires the defense to make a decision on how to guard the back screen. Minnesota does not switch or hedge, which opens up a wide open dunk for Iowa to seal the game. Please take a look at the clip and FastModel diagram below.
Texas executed this simple, yet brilliant, set vs. Baylor's 1-3-1 zone defense. You will see in the clip that Connor Lammert (#21) sprints up as if he is setting a ball screen on the top guy of the zone. Instead of setting the screen, he pops out to the open window on the wing and receives a pass from Isaiah Taylor (#1) and knocks down the huge shot. Notice how Taylor sets up his man like he's coming off a ball screen, which draws the middle defender away from the shooter. Texas keeps great spacing which forces the Baylor defenders to make decisions on who to guard. The spacing also leaves Texas with several options to move the ball to the open man if the initial pass is unsuccessful. Take a look at the clip and diagram below!
This play was drawn up by Coach Tom Izzo on January 23, 2016 in a must-win game for Michigan State vs. Maryland. Izzo called a timeout with just under 1:00 remaining in the first half with the ball on the sideline. The play was executed to perfection and contained multiple actions that were hard to guard. Take a look at the video clip and diagram below to see what happened.
Wisconsin pulled off an upset of #4 Michigan State on January 17, 2016. The Badgers were down by four with 31.5 seconds remaining and possession of the ball. After a timeout by Wisconsin head coach, Greg Gard, the Badgers were able to win the game over the course of the ensuing three possessions. Here is a simple breakdown of how Wisconsin was able to get the victory.
Immediately after the timeout, Wisconsin runs a simple BLOB in hopes of getting a quick basket. Michigan State switches all screens on this play allowing Wisconsin to inbound the ball fairly easily. Initially, Denzel Valentine takes away the shot with a high hand, but then gives a step to take away the drive. Matt Costello defends the post well to discourage Bronson Koenig from making the post feed. As soon as Valentine backs off and puts his hands down, Koenig knocks down the big three to put the Badgers within one point.
Wisconsin is prepared to put immediate pressure on the inbounds. Instead of fouling, the Badgers elect to trap and try to force Michigan State into a turnover. Khalil Iverson does a great job of baiting and keeping the ball into the corner while Ethan Happ does a fantastic job of trapping as soon as the ball handler turns his back. Bronson Koenig and Zak Showalter take away the sideline and reversal passes.
After forcing the turnover, Wisconsin inbounds the ball from the sideline and set up a simple, yet effective pick & roll play. The Badgers maintain great spacing, allowing Bronson Koenig & Ethan Happ to execute with patience and precision. This play would ultimately turn out to be the game winner for the Badgers.
This sideline out of bounds play is from the Indiana vs. Ohio State game on 1/10/16. Indiana takes the ball out in the deep corner of the sideline and sets up this diagonal stack. You can see there are a few options they could go to, but their players make fantastic reads to get an easy layup.
Kansas ran a great baseline out of bounds play in the first overtime of their 3OT game vs. Oklahoma on 1/4/16. The shot did not fall, but you can see a great action drawn up by Bill Self to get a look to win the game.
From the Virginia vs. Ohio State game on December 1, 2015. Ohio State is in-bounding the ball on the sideline after a timeout. This is a great action that allows the offense to react to the defense and make a read for the best shot. Here is the clip.
Here is a look at the diagram from @FastModel