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The triangle offense off a 1-4 set.

The Triangle Offense offers a variety of strategies and rotations against all kinds of man defense. It enables us to use a three-man rotation to post up a player in the power triangle, to use a four-man rotation to post up a player who has a mismatch, and to go into a five-man post rotation that will give everyone a chance to operate on the post as well as afford good perimeter looks off down screens.

As you can see in the diagrams, we like to use the 1-4 set to get into the offense because of its early backdoor opportunities and because it enables us to create options against defensive overplays.

Diag. 1 illustrates how a post entry can set up good backdoor options. When the ball is entered to a wing [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 2 OMITTED], it can open up one of three rotations (3-man, 4-man, 5-man).

The diagram shows how a 3-man rotation may be initiated. When the ball is entered to 2, post man 5 clears to the opposite side and 4 breaks low off 5's backside, rubbing his man off the cutter.

Upon reaching the weak-side box, 5 sets a screen for 3, who has already made a backdoor cut on the entry pass. After throwing the pass, 1 rotates over to the weak-side.

Obviously, the direction of the entry pass will determine which wing enters the triangle, enabling us to keep our tallest players in the post areas, where they can create defensive mismatches.

If 3 does not have a shot, he continues around and up to the high post for the reverse pass from 2 [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 3 OMITTED]

Whenever the ball is at the high post area, the two baseline players (4 and 5), will always flash for the ball [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 3 OMITTED]. This will force the defense to play them on the high side in order to prevent a post entry pass down low.

When the high post man (3) recognizes the defense in this position he will throw the ball to a wing, who has V-cut into position [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 4 OMITTED]. As you can see, 5 can now seal his man high.

While at the high post, 3 has a lot of options. He can shoot, pass low to a flashing player, dribble hard into the gap for the 3-on-3 opportunity, or reverse the ball to a wing.

Whenever the ball is thrown to a wing, the three-man game can continue [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 5 OMITTED]. As 1 receives the ball, 5, in his isolated post position, will look first for the pass. If it isn't there, 5 will screen across the lane for 4, clearing out the area for the wingman 1 [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 5 OMITTED].

Meanwhile, 3 sets a well-timed down-screen vs 5's man, allowing 5 to flash over and up to the top. If the shot does not materialize, the ball can be reversed again, through 5 [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 6 OMITTED] and the same high post shot, pass, and drive options exist.

If 5 reverses the ball to 2 [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 6 OMITTED], the offense will continue with 3, who has posted up low, screening across for 4, and 5 setting a down-screen for 3, who once again will come across to the high post. ([ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 7 OMITTED] shows him at the top}.

The four-man rotation of the Triangle Offense will allow us to screen a man out of the Power Triangle and enter another man into it, possibly creating a defensive mismatch. If, for example, we want to enter one of our wings into the Power Triangle, we will simply have him set a screen for the screener.

Diag. 7 shows how 2 can enter the triangle and set a screen for the screener (3). 3 can then pop out to the wing while 2 establishes a post position.

The continuity of the offense continues [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 8 OMITTED] with 2 screening across for 4 and 5 setting a down-screen for 2, who comes over it on his move to the high post. Note: We let our wing (2) know when to screen down and when to remain at the wing.

The five-man rotation uses the same basic concepts. Whenever the high postman screens down (5 screening for 2 in [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 9 OMITTED]), the wing man (1) sets a down-screen that will release 5 to the wing and leave 1 at the low post.

When the ball is reversed from 3 to 2 to 5 [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 10 OMITTED], 1 screens across for 4, as normal, 2 sets a down-screen for 1 [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 11 OMITTED], and 3 sets a down-screen for 2, releasing 2 to the wing and leaving 3 at the low post.

As the offense continues in this fashion, all five men will eventually become a wing and play the post.

The 1-4 set and Power Triangle offer numerous options for specials plays and designs. For example, to prevent our movements from becoming repetitious, we will give our ball-side low post the option of screening across the lane or setting a back-screen for high-post 3 [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 13 OMITTED], who will cut off the screen, look for the ball, and then continue over to the opposite low post to screen for 5.

Another good option for us is called "Special" [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAG. 14 OMITTED]. On l's entry pass to the wing (2), the opposite wing (3) breaks backdoor, where he receives a double screen from the high-post players. If he doesn't break loose, he will cut over the top to the middle of the lane. If the area has been evacuated, 3 will be assured of a good look at the basket after the pass from 2.

With a lot of practice on the timing and recognition factors, the Triangle Offense can pay huge dividends, especially with a flexible post and the exploitation of defensive mismatches.

Here is a review of the basic concepts of the Triangle Offense:

1. You can keep from three to five players involved at the post either by keeping your larger post players in the Power Triangle (3-man rotation), or by utilizing down-screens by your wings to release men to the perimeter and post others up (5-man rotation).

2. When the ball is reversed from the wing to the high post, the baseline players must always flash.

3. Wing players must recognize and capitalize on the natural clear-out opportunities offered by the offense (Diag. 12).

4. Screens and down-screens must be well-timed to keep the offensive continuity smooth.

John Pretzer, Basketball Coach, Edmore (ND) High School
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Title Annotation:Edmore High School basketball offense
Author:Pretzer, John
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Date:Aug 1, 1998
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