2013 FIBA Americas: Argentina Cuts
With the FIBA Americas tournament underway in Venezuela, with four 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.
While Canada found their offensive success through sets, Argentina’s offensive profile is built more around a free-flowing style of cuts coupled with quick ball movements. There are still screens but many of them come on ball screens, which lead to the screener cutting to the rim or opening space for a post up.
The opening possession (first play in the sequence below) is a great example of this strategy. Each player is moving and cutting through the lane, while the Argentine players keep the ball moving, with only one dribble during the four passes they make. The play ends with an open shot after Luis Scola finds a wide open Fancudo Campazzo in the corner, after Campazzo cut from the top of the lane and his teammate cut to the strong side baseline.
The rest of the clips show this strategy as well as it manifests itself in different situations. Paraguay went to a zone defense for several possessions, so Argentina had players cut from several different positions on the court to the open space to find areas to shoot as well as free up other players.
Argentina also likes to have their big man post up, so they use cuts to get big men into the post with good position and then have players cut to the rim once the ball has been entered into the post. This opens up the cutter as well as three point shooters as they fill the vacated space.
These cuts serve the purpose of having the cutter find the open area but also to have the secondary player fill in the open area, who often turns into the open player. This offense requires recognition of what the other four players are going to do at any given time, seeing the open space and making good cuts to get open.
Just as important is the ball movement required to keep this offense flowing and effective. Any slow down in ball movement will cause the Argentine players to stay stagnant and bog down the offense. In the clip below, you can see how the point guard keeps dribbling the ball instead of making the first pass to initiate the offense. His teammates are standing still and the possession ends with a long three point attempt.
When the offense is at its best, all five players are keeping the ball moving while cutting off the ball into the open space. This open up opportunities for the post ups, layups off the cuts and three point attempts as players fill in the open space by the cutters. The offense sputters when the ball handler holds the ball for too long or over dribbles.