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The role of offense and defense in 80/20 basketball (part 2).

Players must not panic with the ball in their hands; by panic, I mean transform into a ball hog for fear they'll never see the ball again in a particular offensive set and so they'd better shoot every chance they get. That's not good basketball on any level.

Great 80/20 offensive players must:

1 Exhibit Patience When Receiving Screens / Picks. When players are the recipient of screens and picks, they must exhibit patience. They should help walk their defender in toward the paint to help set up the screen, and, in conjunction with the screen, jab step and then pop off.

These slight yet sudden changes in momentum will provide enough room to get open for a pass. In other words, a successful screen is as much the recipient's effort as it is the player setting it.

2 Finish Their Routes in Set Plays. Coaches design set plays with a reasonable expectation that each player will run his or her route correctly. There's no excuse for a player not to run his designed route when a failure to do so will break down the offense.

3 Develop Savvy for the Game. Savvy is an intangible like heart and hustle; some players are willing to sacrifice their bodies and dive for balls while others are content to watch them roll harmlessly out of bounds. Savvy is best described as a sixth sense of court awareness.


The players who have it possess an almost supernatural awareness of where both teammates and opponents will be split seconds before they are, and they make appropriate adjustments early enough to take advantage of the future matchups.

Thus, many players understand the intricacies of the game, but few capitalize on them. Those who can capitalize on the intricacies have developed an extreme savvy that's a pure delight to witness.

4 Understand that the player who sets the screen / pick often has an equal if not better chance to get open than the player who receives the screen / pick. Player A passes from the top of the three-point line to Player B out on the right wing. Player A then screens for Player C just above the left post block. Player C flashes to the high post. Player A pivots on his right foot, bringing his left into and across the paint and flashes low. Immediately his defender is on his back.

Setting the screen and then sealing one's defender will often get one open much more so than the player who received the screen.

5 Be Prepared to Receive a Pass Properly. In a perfect mathematical world, each player will receive every fifth pass. To make the most of each reception, players must receive passes properly. This means approaching the ball low and athletic with hands out to meet the pass.

This means landing properly in a triple-threat position, keeping the defense at bay. Will you pass, drive or shoot? When a player receives a pass, he should appear as a threat to the defense to score first, drive second and pass third.

Receiving the pass, as one can see, is more than simply catching the ball; it's catching the ball in such a manner as to allow the offensive player to dictate the next movement from the triple-threat position.

Great 80/20 offensive players display patience and an extreme understanding of the following fundamentals: setting screens, receiving screens and receiving passes properly.


Defense is heart. Defense is "want to." Defense is purely a state of mind. Defense is rarely glamorous. Defense wins championships. Solid recognition of the first four traits of defense is rewarded by the fifth statement: Defense wins championships.

Finding players who want to shoot and score is easy; finding players who want to shut down an opponent's offensive weapon is difficult. Why? Read the box score. Great defenders aren't fully recognized in the box score the way offensive players are.

Box scores highlight rebounds and blocks, but rarely publicize how many charges were taken. More importantly, only close observation of the game can detect truly outstanding defense, for there is no box score category for cutting one's man off at the baseline.

There is no category for impeding a player who is trying to cut in front of your face and gain position.

Great 80/20 defensive players must:

1 Understand They Are Providing Help Regardless of Man-to-Man or Zone. Every coach in the world emphasizes the value of help defense and teaches a million strategies on how to position oneself to provide help for teammates who get beaten.

A teammate getting beaten is expected, as is the second line of defense appearing in a help mode. How this helps the defender recover to the next pass is often the key to a successful defensive stop.

2 Position Themselves Properly. Man-You-Ball: Point and be able to see both with peripheral vision. Man-You-Basket: You're guarding the ball and keeping sure you are between him and the basket.

Throw into the equation that you're now two passes away. What's the strategy? Do you have one foot in the paint and one out? Are you at the midline? Now the ball is cross-court at the wing (above the free-throw line) and you're on the opposite low box but your man is popping out while the ball shifts to the opposite corner (below the free-throw line). Are you at midline? Posing hypothetical situations forces you to understand your team philosophy and your role in it.

3 Impede Cutters Across One's Face. Be it man-to-man or zone, offensive players cutting across a defensive man's face should never happen. There is no advantage to the defensive player at all, for the offensive player is dictating the flow of the game.

Size or speed mismatches can be easily exploited by the offensive man if he's allowed to simply cut in front of his defender and get him on his back.

4 Perform Assignments Relative to Team Philosophy. Head Coach to Assistant Coaches to Team Captain (and to Managers, if necessary) must be on the same page when it comes to defensive philosophy? Are you switching on screens? Are you fronting the post? Are you forcing and trapping on the baseline? Are you playing man or a 2-3 on inbounds? The choice is easy: either everyone executes on the same page or turns into a chaotic mess as a defensive unit.

5 Keep Feet Moving. It's imperative that great 80/20 defenders have active and quick feet. Practice "quick feet" and stamina drills every day. Quick feet enables a defender to front the post more easily, to open up and let a teammate through during a screen, to recover to the wing, etc. It's hard work to keep active feet while staying low and athletic.

The best defensive teams always give themselves the opportunity to win games and championships.

Great team basketball is taught with the idea that, like the five fingers on a hand, everyone must work together in order to accomplish an object.

Be it offense, defense, or special teams--inbounds, free throws, etc.:

Each player must know his role and his teammates' roles.

Each player down to the 12th man must endorse the team's philosophy on both sides of the ball.

Most importantly, each player must realize that for only 20% of the game, he will either have the ball in his hands or directly guard the ball, leaving ample opportunity for him to prove his mettle away from the ball.

By Stuart Kantor, Editor
COPYRIGHT 2004 Scholastic, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Basketball
Author:Kantor, Stuart
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Date:Sep 1, 2004
Previous Article:Don't let the offense dictate the coverage.
Next Article:A new approach to attacking zones.

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