Post cutter opens up the wing shooter
When a ball gets entered into the post, a cutter through the lane presents many options for the offensive team. A cutter in this situation will open up one of three things – himself (if nobody picks him up), the post man or the opposite wing (if the help defense guards the cutter). This will depend on where the cutter comes from and who the defense chooses to guard but you will often see one of these options open up.
Let’s pick up this Cleveland State play part of the way through the possession, as the ball gets entered into the post and a cutter comes from the top of the key after the entry pass.
The cutter can come from either the passer or the top of the key (see green arrows). It depends on a few factors, including – the preference of the team, the strengths of the players relative to their positions on the floor and the positioning of the defense.
Since the defender, Troy Tabler (#3), digs on the post, this triggers the cutter to come from the top of the key. The initial passer needs to stay in the area to be an outlet for the post man, since his defender has left him open when he left to dig the post.
Jeremy Montgomery cuts from the top of the key through the paint shortly after the pass is made. It looks like he clogs the lane and doesn’t give the post man room to operate, effectively killing what looks to be the start of a nice post move, but what he does do is open up a teammate.
The help defender steps up to take away the cutter and while it clogs the lane with defenders, it opens up the opposite wing. This leaves Tim Kamczyc wide open on the opposite wing, as his defender is entrenched in the paint. Watch Kamczyc smartly relocate on the floor to get in the vision of the passer and lose his defender when he tries to close out.
If you watch the defender closing out, he takes the first two steps toward the corner, where he thought the shooter was. Instead, Kamczyc had relocated to the wing, which buys him a few extra moments to get the shot off. With the defender forced to be in the middle of the lane to defend the cutter and the relocation of Kamczyc, it gives him plenty of time to get the shot off.
Even though the cutter takes away any chance the post man had of scoring, it opened up the rest of the court by drawing the attention of the defense. Aaron Pogue does a good job of not getting tunnel vision toward the basket as he starts his post move and seeing Kamczyc for the kick out and the open shot. This play shows one of the several ways a cutter off the post entry opens up the floor.