Posts Tagged ‘help defense’
With the FIBA EuroBasket tournament underway in Slovenia and with six spots available for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, we’ll look at some offensive and defensive strategies from this tournament. Follow along on ESPN3.
Slovenia squeaked out a two point win over the Czech Republic in their first EuroBasket game which was punctuated with a big defensive possession up one with 40 seconds left. Their team defense was well organized and forced the Czech Republic into a tough shot which when missed, allowed Slovenia to finish the win.
The offensive set opened with a ball screen at the top of the key. The crucial point to notice in this first frame, and throughout the play, is the off ball positioning of the help defense. Slovenia plays the pick and roll by ‘Icing’ the action, having the screener’s defender sag off the action to take away dribble penetration.
At this point in the play, the ball handler has realized he has no angle and no pass to the roll man. The roll man’s defender has cut off the dribble penetration, allowed his teammate to recover to the ball and stayed close enough to the action to recover to the roll man. These two players have adequately covered the set which has allowed the closest help defender, the player guarding the strong side corner, to stay close to his man to take away the kick out pass to the corner.
If you saw the big road win by Notre Dame at Pitt Monday night, you no doubt know a lot of the win was thanks to the three straight baskets by Ben Hansbrough off the pick and roll. Here they are broken down in order starting with the first basket.
Wisconsin ran a nice play that involves a skip pass from the post to the opposite wing player. It is a simple play but highlights some interesting techniques. The play is often open for a post player but it requires good vision and precision passing to be effective. Wisconsin did a good job of this in their Sweet 16 game versus Davidson in 2008, so let’s take a look at the play.
As the ball gets entered into the post, notice how Brian Butch takes a few steps to his left from the corner to the wing. This is key, as it puts him in the view of the post player and in an open passing lane. The post player, Marcus Landry, is not really even looking to make a move toward the basket but his eyes immediatly go to the skip pass.
*Quick aside: It is called a skip pass because it ‘skips’ the closest one or two teammates to pass to a teammate across the court. Simple, I know, but felt it had to be said in case someone did not know.
With the defense sagging to help in the post, the defender can not close in time, thanks to the pass that allowed Butch to catch and shoot quickly, as he did not have to move his feet to corral the pass. This allowed him to get the shot off in time before the close out from the defender.
Extra pass variation
The second time Wisconsin executed the swing pass, Jason Richards of Davidson saw it coming and closed out quicker on Butch and prevented him from getting a shot off. However, Wisconsin had more options, as Jason Bohannon (#12) was positioned in the corner for the extra pass.
If you watch closely, Richards was initally guarding Bohannon, but read that the skip pass was coming from Landry was going to Butch and jumped the action. However, this left nobody to guard Bohannon and Butch made the extra pass to the corner for the wide open 3.
The skip pass is effective because it gets the defense moving, providing the offense with options: they can shoot before the defense closes, swing the ball to the open man or drive past the defense that is running at you. It also works because it gets the ball quickly to the opposite side of the floor and if the defense is in proper help position, they will have to scramble to recover, which the offense can take advantage of and get an open look.
Wisconsin did a good job here of running a play and then coming back to the well later but having a wrinkle lined up to make the second run as effective as the first. I did not have any games from this season to watch so be sure to look out for it in 2010-11 to see if they are still running this set.
We already talked about how to defend the post before the post man has the ball. Now we are going to look at how to defend the post once the post man has the ball and is ready to go to work. We talked earlier in the post about DeMarcus Cousins (see here) about some of the post moves that an offensive player can have. Now we have to talk about some methods to defend formidable offensive post players.
Post defense starts with scouting and knowing the tendencies of the offensive player: What is their dominant hand? Are they good passers out of the post? What are their go to moves? Knowing some tendencies of a post player will give the defense the upper hand in stopping the offensive moves.
We have talked at length about defense and there is one more general topic (at least) I want to touch on in the offseason. While last week we talked about seeing ball-you- man, this week we will touch on positioning and how it is important in help defense (ball-you-man means little if you don’t have proper positioning, as you will see). Like I said in an earlier post, too many college players (freshmen especially) don’t have the basketball knowledge they need since they relied on their athleticism to get them through high school and in college.
Many players in college have the same athleticism, so playing smart be more powerful than just being athletic. Playing proper help defense is one of those times. It’s inevitable that at some point, a defender will get beat off the dribble and the wing defenders (or baseline defenders) need to be in proper position to cut off the drive.
We have one more post this week on fundamentals of defense this week (see the earlier boxout and closeout posts) before we move back into scouting some players for next season. This post will be discuss the catchphrase I was taught for defense which is ‘ball, you, man’. Basically, those are the three things you should be able to see at all times when you are on defense off the ball. Lose sight of one of these things and a defensive breakdown is more likely.