The Spurs 8 Keys to Ball Movement

This article was written by Kyle Ohman and originally posted on his site, BasketballHQ.

I hope you can take some points from this article to help with your offensive play.

1. Ball Reversals

  • Make the Defense Move
    • The more times the ball goes from side to side, the more the defense must rotate and closeout.
    • Be down ready on the back side as the ball is swung to you.
    • Attack closeouts that are too close, and shoot the ball when the defense closes out short with hands down.
  • Don’t Catch and Hold the Ball
    • Be thinking one play ahead and be decisive with your moves.
    • Don’t waste your dribbles. Either drive the closeout, shoot, or move the ball.

2. Player Movement

  • Don’t Stand
    • Players that stand are easy to guard and force one on one offense.
    • Sometimes you may need to space, but most of the time you should always be moving.
  • Hard Cuts
    • Read your defender and make the appropriate cut.
      • Back cut
      • Face cut
    • Make decisive cuts.
    • Set up your defender before cutting.
    • Slow to fast.
    • Look to score on every cut.
    • Your cut may open up a scoring chance for a teammate.

3. Screens

  • Set GREAT Legal Screens
    • Use screens to help get other teammates open.
    • Must head hunt on screens.
    • Never screen and stand.
    • Read the defense and offensive player using the screen to determine whether you should roll or space after you set the screen.
    • Slip the screen if you are being overplayed.
  • Use Screens to Get Open
    • Set up your defender before using a screen. EVERY TIME.
    • Read your defender when using the screen and then make the appropriate cut.
      • Curl cut
      • Straight cut
      • Fade cut
      • Pro cut
  • On the Same Page
    • The player using the screen and the player(s) setting the screen must work together.
    • Must have great timing and spacing when executing a screen.
  • Hand Offs
    • Use hand offs similar to ball screens to help teammates get open.
    • If your defender is cheating the hand off, fake it and then make a move.

Resources: Game Situation Hand Off Shooting DrillGame Situation Pick & Pop Shooting Drill

4. Penetration

  • Drive and Kick
    • Great penetration forces the defense to suck in and help, which opens up the kick out pass.
    • Get your shoulders to the basket before making the kick out pass.
      • This sells that you are attacking the basket and makes the defense sink in.
    • Receiver needs to be down ready to either shoot, drive, or swing the ball. Don’t catch and hold!
      • If you catch and hold, the defense can recover and the ball movement is dead.
  • Stay Under Control
    • Don’t leave your feet and open yourself up to charges and wild passes.
    • Don’t over penetrate into trouble.
      • If you get too deep into the defense, there are too many hands to deflect your pass.

Resources: Two Ball Drive and Kick Shooting Drill

5. Passing Angles

  • Receiver Needs to Create Passing Lanes
    • Don’t stand and watch on penetration.
    • Either slide up or down to create a great passing lane.
    • A great time to move is once your defender turns their head to watch the ball.
    • Find the passers eyes, especially when the ball goes into the post.
  • Down Ready
    • Don’t catch the ball standing straight up and down.
    • Anticipate what you are going to do with the ball by how the defender is guarding you; shoot, drive, or swing pass.

Resources: Game Situation Post Skip Pass Shooting Drill

6. Inside Out

  • Post Play
    • Get the ball into the post and then look for kick outs when the defense helps.
    • Find the post players eyes and create passing lanes by moving up or down.
    • Hard cuts on the weak side will be open with a great post passer.
  • Pass Fakes
    • Being unselfish opens up opportunities for pass fakes and keeps.
    • Works great for hand offs in the high post area.
    • Must sell the pass.
    • Use your body to shield the ball from the view of the defender.

Resources: Game Situation Post Entry Relocate Shooting Drill

7. Designed Plays

  • Executing Offense
    • Use set plays to help establish ball movement and player movement.
    • It can be a set play or a motion offense.
  • Read the Defense
    • Don’t be a robot to the play.
    • If the defense is cheating the play than make them pay.

8. Unselfish Plays

  • Extra Pass
    • Turn down an okay shot for a great shot.
    • This type of play will be contagious and lead to better shots for everyone.
  • Set Up Teammates
    • Make a move with the specific desire to set up another teammate for an easy shot.
    • Not just the point guards responsibility.
  • Celebrate Winning Plays
    • Get excited when a teammate makes an unselfish play.
    • It must be all about the team.
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