NBA Defensive Terminology

Some Defensive Terminology used by retired longtime Utah Jazz assistant Gordie Chiesa.

I hope you can find a couple of things to apply to your defensive terminology and system.

Back on the Raise — when the shooter raises on his shot and the ball is released, two opposite defenders are sprinting back to half court in defensive transition.

“Backside Help” — Helpside Defense

Ballside/Backside — Divide the court down the middle. The ballside is where the ball is and the backside is where it is not.

Basketline — A direct imaginary line that illustrates ballside and back side defense.

Beat to Point — When the dribbler gets his head and shoulder by his defender, the defender must pick an angle and sprint to re-establish good defensive position to get the dribbler under control.

Bump & Under — defending cross-screen action, “lock-in” to the cutter, take the cutter to the screen and “release” and go under the screen and meet the cutter

Buying Time — One defender playing two offensive players by “stunting until a teammate can recover to his man.

Circle the Post — the post defender constantly changing post position.

Close Out — A defensive technique of getting Control of your body to contain the dribbler or challenge the shot. This happens when the defender gives help and now is rotating to the open shooter.

Contain — Staying in front of the dribbler, getting the ball handler under control.

Contest — No easy passes or shots, hand up, always challenging.

Corral the Dribbler — Nearest defender in the middle of the floor is in position and directing the defender on the dribbler. He is in a containment mode.

Corral Stance — The defender on the ball’s body position is influencing the dribbler to above the elbow area.

Dig out in Post — Perimeter defender drops to help, then challenges the post player’s dribble in the lane.

Eight Defense — an attempt in the back-court to create an 8 second violation. If the ball is passed to the front court at the end of a game, automatic foul

“Empty” — An offensive player leaves the strong-side area.

Fire – early trap before the screen is set on pick and roll coverage.

Footfakes – Quick step fakes by offensive players. The defensive player takes these fakes by creating space with the back foot to allow proper reaction.

Force Down – Push the dribbler to baseline.

F.U.S.D. — Fake up, stay down, close-out technique.

Get Legal — Regardless of your defensive job you must be legal when you position yourself. “Gold” — Denying the low post.

“Gold 2” — denying the low post, second phase keep denying the post player as he steps out off the block.

“Gold Butt Front” — a denial of the low post in which the defender is driving his feet and using his back and butt to discourage the post entry

“Gold Clamp” — the backside defender rotates across “jams’ the receiver of a lob pass and forms a trap.

“Gold Face Front” — a denial of the low post in which the defender has his back to the ball to discourage the post pass.

“Gold Slip Front” — a denial of the low post in which the defender is shoulder to shoulder with one leg above the post player encouraging the pass to create a steal

“Gold Sandwich” — The 2nd defender is discouraging a post pass by playing behind.

Helps — When one defensive player moves to help another defensive player to stop penetration or challenge a shot.

Heipside — The opposite side of the floor that the ball is on.

Help the Helper — The secondary help defender gives support and “stunts upw to contain the offensive player of the primary help defender until he can recover back.

Hit — aggressive double team on the dribbler both in the front court and backcourt.

Inverted — Regardless of defensive position, keep “Bigs” guard basket area and ‘Smalls” out on the perimeter.

Jam Point — Forcing the outlet receiver to go back for the ball.

Jam Outlet — On rebounds the nearest player pressures outlet pass to delay break.

K.B.I.F. — Keep Ball In Front

“Knock Off” — A big defender bumping out a small defender to perimeter after a Big/Little Mismatch inside.

Late Peel Back — emergency switch where the beaten defender pursues back to a cutter

Level of Ball — In transition, all defensive players must get below the ball in order to be in the Corral Position”.

Line — Imaginary line drawn between the offensive player you are guarding and the ball.

“Load to the Ball” — All help defenders are in position on the strong side and forming a defensive wall.

Lock and Decide — “lock-in” to cutter’s body, stay connected and take the cutter to the screen and
decide to “ride” or “shoot the gap”

Lock and Ride — lock-in” to cutter’s body, stay connected and take the cutter to the screen and “ride
over the top”

Lock Screens — Put chest on the screener to force the screen to be set further up and away from the
basket.

Lock/Trail — Forcing the baseline cutter, and being ready to trail to go in only one direction.

Lock/Trail 2 — defending loop action the defender of the second screener is creating a double team
on the catch on the wing

Most Dangerous Man — In transition when determining who to guard we must get to the most dangerous offensive player first; not necessarily our own man.

Muck — the help defender drops into the lane before the ball is passed to “tag/clog” the paint area Nail — The help position in the middle of the floor across the foul line extended

Open & Through — ‘lock-in” to the cutter, take cutter to the screen and shoot the gap by sliding through between the screener and your teammate who opened up.

Pack It In – A concept in which the defensive players are in a “corral presence” at the elbows or at the pro lane line to shorten different driving gaps.

Plug — The defender at the “Nail position”.

Point of Pick-Up — The area of the court where the defense will pick-up and start defending.

Pre-Rotate — A designated help defender who rotates early to take on the cutter whether rolling or flaring. Protect— Protect the basket area, take away lay-ups.

“Red Dog” — Hard trap action defending screen/roll.

Release — When the big man rotates back to the basket, he releases the protector to recover back to his own man.

Ride to the Backside — “lock-in” to cutter and influence the cutter to the backside of the floor into “tags”

Rotation — A defensive player leaves his own offensive player to stop the ball or protect the basket.

Shade the Ball!Man — The defender slightly angles his body left or right to influence either the ball or man to cut or drive in a less dangerous direction.

Shift— Movement up or down an imaginary line in relation to the ball.

Silver — playing behind in the post.

Sink — help defender drops below the level of the ball to pick up a new offensive player

Split Defender — when doubling the post, this perimeter defender takes the first pass opposite.

Spy — in transition, the defensive point guard “jams” the inbound pass receiver in order to force him to come back and catch the outlet pass.

Step Up and Stick — the help defender stays “at home” on dribble penetration at the ball side corner.

Strong — nearest baseline big man rotates early above the strong side block vs. a wing isolation.

“Strong I” — Imaginary direct line that establishes baliside or is occupied by the backside defender.

Swarm — Intense body pressure with active hands going after the ball is picked up.

Swipe Hand movement attacking the ball usually in pick and roll defense or as a help defender in the post.

Switch and Fight — after emergency switching action, the mismatched defender has to fight off by dpeeling back” looking to steal or getting into a “Gold” (front) position

“Tag” — Help defender steps across chucking/swiping at the cutter usually entering the paint.

“Take On” — Ride/stay on the cutter’s body

Tandem — In transition the two defenders are back in recovery. The top defender stops the ball and the back defender takes the first pass out in a close-out position

Tandem — In transition the two defenders are back in recovery. The top defender stops the ball and the back defender takes the first pass out in a close-out position

Trail – Follow cutters off baseline screens then recover

Trapping — Sending a second defender to trap the ball out on perimeter.

“Turning’ — Making the dribbler change direction usually in the back court.

“Up” — Maximum pressure on the ball.

White — nearest defender corrals and slow traps the offensive threat on perimeter.

Wide — all help defender’s hands are spread out and active.

— Double team in the post.

“X Big” — a double team of the post by the top big defender

“X Cutter” — a double team of the post off the cutter

“X Nail” — a double team of the post from the nail position

“X Switch” — backside screener switches onto cutter

Zoning — The help defender is protecting against penetration by staying in a direct line between the dribbler and the basket.

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1 comment for “NBA Defensive Terminology

  1. coach hutch
    June 7, 2016 at 6:22 am

    Great stuff!!

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