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Keeping the ball in your best players' hands with a unique 3-man.

Over the past few years, Plato H.S. has never had five outstanding offensive players in any one season. Which meant that we had to look elsewhere for a continuous offense, one that would keep the ball in the hands of our most productive players.

The ultimate answer took the form of a unique stack continuity that enabled us to exploit our players' talents against the opponents' weaknesses.

If, for example, we believe that our post offense is better than the opposing man defense, we will deploy our best post player in the #4 spot (low block) and our point guard on the perimeter, as shown in Diag. 1.

We will then stack our three other players at the opposite elbow - with #3 being a good outside shooter and #2 and #5 being role players.

We will then try to go two-on-two with our post-point combination.

If nothing develops, we will have 2 and #5 set up a double-screen for #3, our good shooter, and have #1 swing the ball over to him, as shown.

#3 can look for the shot, as #5 and #2 break off their screens and move down the lane to set a double pick down low [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 2 OMITTED].

#1 may then cut around the double pick low and #4 come up high, thus moving our strong side to the left - with #3 on the perimeter and #4 and #1 up ahead.

Diag. 3: #3 may choose to pass to #1 down low or wait for #1 to move above the 3-point arc and hand the ball off to him, as shown in the diagram. Meanwhile, #5 and #2 have rolled hack to the weak-side elbow.

After the pass or hand-off to #1,#3 will cut through the middle of the lane to reload the offense [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 4 OMITTED] - either veering out to the strong-side corner or moving up and over the double screen at the weakside elbow.

That will put the players back in their original alignment but on the other side: with the post and point set up on the left and the 2-3-5 stack at the right elbow.

We have several options from our original formation. First, as shown in Diag. 5, is a pick and roll between the post (#4) and point (#1).

A second option [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 6 OMITTED] has the point (#1) hitting the post (#4) in the corner and moving over to set a screen at the foul line. #4, facing the basket, can now go one-on-one against his man or wait for #3 to drive around the triple pick set by 2-5 and 1.

If #3 cannot shake loose, he can veer back over the 3-point arc while #1, after screening, can break over to the weak side for a possible skip pass from #4 or #3 [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 7 OMITTED].

If #4 chooses to pass back to #3 at the top [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 8 OMITTED], we will be able to rotate back into our original set.

Most defenses will try to stop our stack offense by double-teaming down, as shown in Diag. 9. Whenever they do this, we will send a man (#5 in this case) across the lane to the strongside post, then reverse the ball against the defensive double-team.

As shown in Diag. 10,#5 will step out high, get the ball from #1, and dribble to the opposite side, while #3 and #2 set a double pick down low.# 1 will cut around the double-team low while #1 will drive at the baseline and #4 will come over the double screen high, furnishing targets for the ball-handler (#5) on the opposite side.

After passing to #1,#5 will cut through the lane and back up into his regular position in the stack on the opposite elbow [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 11 OMITTED].

The main weakness in the stack offense is getting 5 and 2 to understand and accept their roles: They must hit the boards hard and set good picks while giving up their offensive roles to players with superior skills.

The trick lies in getting them to do their things without grousing or asking too many questions.
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Title Annotation:basketball
Author:Crain, Shannon
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Date:Oct 1, 1996
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