Defending the post: Pre-entry pass
This is the first in a two part post looking at how to effectively defend the post. It’s not always easy, especially going up against an opponent with good footwork. It’s a team effort and everyone can do a part to help defend the post.
Pressure the Pass
Post defense starts with the man guarding the ball, as pressuring the pass can help his teammate. By putting pressure on the pass by closely guarding him or putting a hand in the passer’s face, it can lead to several things: the ball not being able to be entered into the post, the offensive player catching the pass in a bad position (as he has to adjust to get the ball or catch a poor pass) or give the defensive player time to recover.
In the above clip, Shannon Brown does an adequate job of pressuring Daniel Ewing. His hand is up and is likely obstructing Ewing’s view. Ewing takes a brief look in the post and with Brown right there takes a 3 point shot (most likely ill-advised) that comes up short.
I think some of the credit has to go to Brown and his perimeter defense. If his hands are at his side, Ewing might try to fit that pass in to Shelden Williams. Ewing does make a poor decision to take that shot but I think his decision was helped by the solid D Brown played.
Front the post
Fronting the post can also be a viable defense against the entry pass. This involves the defender between his man and the ball and is often used by smaller defenders. It is risky because if the ball is thrown over the top of the defender, the offense can have a wide open dunk if the help D does not come in time.
Due to a switch, Jason Gardner is left guarding a much bigger man. He fronts the post and forces a tough catch away from the paint. Now he does have help behind him which caused his man to take a pull up jumper but the fact that he forced the offense so far away from the paint before the catch was enough to force a positive outcome for Arizona.
Like I said, this can be dangerous if help D is not in position. If Channing Frye would have stayed hugged to his man, Notre Dame could have made a bit of a better entry pass toward the basket for an open layup. Gardner’s front of the post, with help D in proper position made this defensive possession a success.
3 Quarter Defense
This technique is the most used by post defenders. It consists of the defender on the shoulder of the offensive player, with a hand in the passing line to deflect the ball away. He is not completely behind the defender or in front but on the side of the offensive player.
Focus on Channing Frye (#45) in the following clip:
Although the ball gets dumped into the post he made his defender work hard and the offense run the shot clock down. Watch how he is switching shoulders based on where the position of the ball. Frye is an active defender, who is making it difficult to give a good entry pass into the post.