Sunday, October 14, 2012

White Boards, NotePads and Napkins: My Offensive Philosophy

We all know that Defense is the key to championships in basketball and until Auburn had Guz Malzhan as their Offensive Coordinator and Cam Newton as their Small-Forward/Quarterback running their "Fast Break Football" offense I would have said you can't outscore someone to a title. While that is definitely not the nor, it as fun to watch; especially since I've coached in two of the schools that Coach Malzhan did when he was a high school coach. 

Offense is fun. It's what kids like to do. It's what makes basketball greater than other sports. Everyone is a skill player. I have a lot of respect for guys that don't get the glory, like an offensive lineman. I even mention and use them when teaching like in the post on Screens. But there is something promising for a player and sometimes down right frightening for a Coach that every player on the floor has a chance to touch the ball. No "Lineman down field"  or "make him a Defensive Back because he can't catch it". Even baseball understands the power of offense in the American league with the DH. (If you're a traditionalist sorry. I like seeing it. Nothing is worse than a pitcher hitting.)

Here are my 3 points that make up my Offensive Philosophy.

#1 Movement
There has to be movement. Players moving. The ball moving. But most importantly forcing the Defense to move. I coach youth (my sons), High School (my job) and AAU (my free time) brands of basketball. Out of the 3 I would say youth and AAU are the most similiar. Here's why. In AAU, it ends up being one on one with eight other players watching. That is if they are even playing man (Don't get me started on that). Youth basketball is the same becasue of lack of skills. Players standing and watching. 
There has to be movement by all 5 players for any set or continuity offense to work.
Most of us Coaches can think of a really good set play with ball action, maybe a pin down or a flare screen. Here is where I would get you. When and before we install a set, all 5 players have to be moving. If you are only creative enough to get the shot, our team will beat you. We'll pull the weak side so far to the middle you'll be forced to skip it. If you are facing a team that is really good defensively and has Coaches that know how to scout you'll be in trouble.
The ball needs to move. I believe in a 2 bounce max. Our team currently runs the Read and React by Rick Torbett. We recently added a Pick and Pick Offense I developed using most of the R&R rules and layers.
Players have to move, preferably toward the rim. Lastly, the defense has to be forced to be in help, close-out and then recover back to help. ANY TEAM CAN GUARD THE FIRST ACTION; CAN THEY GUARD THE 3RD,4TH,5TH?

#2 Attack Good Defense
A lot of Coaches look for a teams weakest defender to exploit. That's an easy fix for any Coach: either sub or switch him to another man. Eventually they'll hide him or you'll take yourself out of your own system trying to get that guy instead of worrying about getting baskets. I believe you should attack good defense. That's why I love the Read and React and my Offense. You can play perfect defense and still get scored on in these systems. I want the opposing team's players spirits crushed on the defensive end. I want them to know that no matter how great their positioning is they can't stop us. That effects their offense.

#3 Shot Selection
This should be the foundation of every team's offense. Coaches, it is our responsibility to teach what a good shot is. Some players are under the assumption that if it goes in it was a good shot. IT IS A GOOD SHOT ON RELEASE, NOT AT RESULT. I believe that we should never take a challenged shot unless it is at the rim. We shouldn't have to take guarded shots. If we are doing the first 2 points and understand the 3rd we are in good shape.

Lastly, Teams that are successful have success in the areas: Get to the Nail (FT line), Get to the Cup, Get Clean 3s.- Jimmy Dykes

If you'd like to talk offense, trade sets or  just talk hoops hit me up at
One of my great friends Vic Rimmer, is a genius at BLOBs and SLOBs. He's a two time state champ Coach.Check him out. Kyle Gilreath is a mastermind at set plays as well.Learn more from Kyle here at Words on the Bounce.