This post is a combination of two articles written by Brian Anglim
Synergistic Offensive and Defensive Philosophies
Earlier this week I was reading some clinic notes from Mike Dunlap and I came across an idea that I liked -“does your defense compliment your offense?” I liked this concept and immediately tweeted it (I am trying to be more active on twitter) and further asked the questions “Does your offense compliment your defense”. A coach on twitter (@CoachDWarriors) asked if I would expand on this thought and give some examples. Twitter is great for quick thoughts, but not for big answers so I figured I would blog on the topic. Basketball can not be broken up into two sides of the ball like you can in football, the demands you make on one side of the court effect the execution on the other. We also coaches want to develop our offense and defense to work synergistically. Different combined offensive and defensive systems revolve around three factors – depth, talent, and coaching philosophy.
If I have a team with a lot of depth, I want my defense and offense to maximize pressure on our opponent so conditioning becomes a factor. For example, VCU has an up tempo offensive and defensive system. Their defense leads the NCAA in turnovers forced with their full court “Swarm” pressure. This defensive system is married with an attacking/up tempo offensive attack. With constant offensive and defensive pressure they wear down an opponent physically and mentally and utilize that depth.
Teams that don’t have great depth cannot play a high energy type of offense and defense. I have heard Dick Bennett (and now his son is emulating his father to some extent) talk about how he ran the Blocker-Mover offense to slow down the tempo a keep their players fresh. With this thought in mind, they play a Pack Line Defense which does to extend beyond the 3 point line, thus conserves the energy of their players.
Certain coaches are offensive coaches while others are defensive coaches. With this in mind, they will focus their time and energy on one side of the court at the expense of the other. This translates that I might teach a simple offense so that I can focus on my defense or visa versa.
An example of this is Gary William’s Maryland teams, he ran a simplistic offense known as the flex so that he could have the time to perfect his half court man, half court zone, full and ¾ court pressure systems. He was known as a pressure defense coach and he really emphasized the flex as an offense because he believed it got the ball inside that lead to his team getting to the line. Thus he was able to set up on full court pressure defenses. An example of an offensive team would be Notre Dame, I have been watching All Access Notre Dame Practice with Mike Brey and the vast majority of their practice time is spent on their motion and teaching offensive concepts. With this in mind, they run very simple man and zone defenses without much attention to detail. This offensive focused team philosophy works to the skills of the coach and his players.
By personnel I mean the type of players that make up a team. Some teams might be smaller in size with a collection of guards, thus they cannot expect to rebound the ball as well as some teams. Their defense might be tilted toward forcing turnovers and their offense might look to take advantage of the driving and shooting ability of these guards. An example of this might be the 4 guard teams that Villanova teams of several years ago. Bigger teams, might look to have a more controlled offense that looks to minimize their bigs touching the ball in high turnover positions so that they can focus on their rebounding advantage, while their defense would looks to challenge shots and own the boards.
Shot selection – A philosophical examination
Before we can plan for the upcoming season, we need to define a vision on how we want our program to perform. We cannot develop a strong plan for the future without having a clear understanding of what that future might look like. A great exercise in defining a vision is to answer the question what are the top five shots you are trying to find within your offense? I think one of the most important and difficult jobs as a coach is to define what is a good shot to our players, the exercise helps us define that for yourself and your players.
Theses top shots are determined by you as a coach through the lens of your coaching beliefs, filtered through the talents of your players. I brainstormed some different types of to helpful spark some inspiration in defining your offensive goals.
• A transition layup – this is key for up tempo teams and particularly pressing teams, that layup lets teams flow easily into their pressing positions. Louisville lives on theses.
• Offensive rebound layup – if you don’t shoot it well, getting multiple attempts is huge. It has been a staple of Bob Huggins.
• Uncontested “3”
• Uncontested jump shot
• Post move in the paint
• Transition paint touch – something you would see with teams that run secondary breaks.
• A late shot clock uncontested shot – for teams that look to burn clock, like the UVA men’s program.
• Corner three – the most efficient field goal attempt in the NBA.
• Free throw – can be achieved by many ways. Team’s like Indiana and Duke take tremendous pride in making for free throw’s than their opponents take
• Transition “3” – for the up tempo team a great shot as I think it is an easily reboundable shot
• Penetrating shot inside of 5 feet which is a cornerstone of the dribble drive offense.
• Backdoor cut – key for teams playing in a league of pressure defense and a must for balance for the classic three point shooting team. Speciality of Princeton teams.
• A good shot for your star player – a good shot for your star might be better than a long 2 for an average player
This question can be posed on the defensive end as well. What are you willing to give up on the defensive end? A uncontested long “2”, a challenge “3”, a driving layup at the rim contested by your bigs? What are the type of shots you don’t want to give up? Offensive rebounds, transition buckets, or the NBA favorite – the corner three? By defining your goals on the offensive and defensive end, you can develop a plan to make your vision a reality. One final thought, don’t keep this vision to yourself. Let your players know your formula for success.