The primary goal of any offense is to score. Great offenses will create advantages that lead to high-value shots for their players. An offensive advantage can occur when the defense is in rotation, out of position, has a numbers disadvantage, or is mismatched (size or quickness). The offense is in a neutral state when the defense is matched up, in position, and set. We like to say that their “shell” is intact. An offense can be at a disadvantage when the ball is being trapped.
When the offense has an advantage, players make decisive passes or drives until a high value shot has been created. When the offense is neutral, they use an action (cut, screen, penetration, post entry) to “crack the shell” & hopefully create an advantage. If the offense is at a disadvantage, they find the open player to move toward an advantage state.
Some coaches prefer a high volume of sets and/or scripted patterns to generate the shots they want. Our offense is more conceptual in nature where we try to give players core principles, equip them with skills and then empower them to make decisions within the chaos of a game. When players learn to make decisions based on what the defense gives them, offense becomes unpredictable and hard to guard. Every action the defense performs, the offense has a counter.
Key foundations within our conceptual offense include:
- Player Development: There isn’t a more important component of offensive basketball than player development. Without skilled players, regardless of offensive scheme, you’ll always be facing an uphill battle. Every practice we spend a large portion of time developing our players’ skill sets. The overarching mission is to help develop versatile, offensive-minded players who thrive in the chaos of a game. We want players to excel at the things they do a lot (sounds simple, but so much modern player development is spent on things that don’t happen frequently over the course of a game). We also talk about and emphasize being a “joy to play with” frequently. A question we want our players to ask themselves is: “Do other players on the team enjoy playing with me?”
- Space: Having players that are skilled, decisive, and spaced will force tough, “no-win” decisions from the defense. When spacing is lost, the defense is able to guard two people with one defender. A phrase we use often is, “When in doubt, space out!” To us, this means stretching the court higher (toward half-court), wider (toward the sideline), and further away from other teammates.
- Pace: We love to play in transition. Ideally, we are attacking the defense before they get a chance to get set up on every possession. Pace also means that the ball moves quickly (Spurs 0.5 Rule) and that we execute our cuts and movements at a tempo that never allows the defense to relax. A misconception with pace is that we automatically take the first available shot each time down the floor. Again, we want to attack before the defense gets set up, but if the defense is back and in position, we have the ability to flow into continued action to create an advantage.
- Flow: The connection of an offensive possession. Flow is our players’ ability to play without resets or frequent coach interference. Each segment within our offense can seamlessly transition into the next without stoppages. For example, we can flow from transition or a “quick” directly into spacing and attacking through dribble penetration.
- A “quick” is an action that we perform as we are crossing half-court, usually after a make or a dead ball when the defense has their shell intact. It can be a called or it can happen by players initiating the action w/ their movements/decisions. Quicks are designed to be executed with pace to create an advantage that we can attack from.
- Our primary transition offense as well as the offense we flow into is mostly predicated around quick ball movement coupled w/ spacing principles to create defensive closeouts. When we need a change of pace or need to offer a different look to the defense, we do so by playing through the post (or running a “quick”). Generally speaking, fewer and fewer teams work on defending the post & coinciding actions that go along with it. When we enter to the post or we are looking to enter it to the post, the ball slows down- our cuts & actions away from the ball, however, do not. At times, we will get post touches organically through a player cutting & holding their position on a mismatch. Other times we call “Power” and look to isolate a player four around one.
Below is a video that illustrates many of the concepts listed above. Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have: firstname.lastname@example.org.