The Read & React: Celtics’ Offensive Offense

Submitted by Rick Torbett of Better Basketball

Are you ready for the shift that’s happening in coaching? Do you know the one key that is developing many of the top offenses in the country? Hint: It’s not more creative set plays.

The NBA community is in a fight. It’s a struggle against an enemy that almost everyone has fought at one time or the other: TRADITION. And there’s no better place to read about this battle than right here on the Celtics Blog.

TRADITION says the coach should call the plays from the sideline – just like good ol’ American Football! The players should execute the play and the contest should go to the coach with the best plays and the players who can best execute.

Yeah, right – if you’re playing basketball in 1918 instead of 2018!

This enemy (TRADITION) carries a lot of pressure with it: peer pressure, media pressure, fan pressure, etc. “This is how we’ve always done things; this is the lens through which we understand basketball, so don’t rock the boat, Coach!”

But the skills and athleticism of the players have evolved in my lifetime. Defenses have evolved so much that rules like “3 seconds on defense” had to be created. These changes have created a dilemma in the hearts and minds of the new generation of coaches. These Neo-Coaches (for lack of a better term) can sense that TRADITION is not getting the most out of the BEST BASKETBALL PLAYERS IN THE WORLD!

The Neo-Coach might be thinking:

“Why would I take the highest skilled players with the highest basketball I.Q. and force them to be little robots who carry out my micro-managed possessions in the form of Set Plays? The game is fast and quick; decisions must be made and changed in a split-second based on multiple defensive factors. Shouldn’t I be able to get MORE if I allow the players to make the moment-by-moment decisions while I (the coach) GUIDE them based on our strengths and weaknesses?”

The short answer is “Yes!” (This is why I developed the Read & React Offense)

But, Enemy #2 will raise its ugly head in the NBA: Player Buy-In. Players have to provide the effort and must acquire a “Next Action” attitude when playing Read & React.

In the article, Coach Stevens elaborates:

“We have to play harder on offense. You have to run to your spots in transition, you have to screen, you have to cut. You can’t just watch, you can’t just pound the ball. You have to move with a purpose.”

This new flow that players need to learn can completely transform your offense and it’s amazing to see how much more effort your players will put forth when they are able to play with the flow of the game.

Quote from the article:

“Stevens’ read-and-react offense is predicated on players taking advantage of every decision that a defense makes. With or without Kyrie, those little moments where a player sets a screen or decides to zig instead of zag make a cumulative difference.”

That’s an understatement! The cumulative difference the Read & React makes for our Tribe of coaches at Better Basketball is an extra 20 points per game above what they’ve been scoring! That makes it WELL worth the battle!

If you’re that new breed of coach, hang in there! I have even more guidance via the The Read & React Offense headed your way!

And guess what? They aren’t the only team running a Read & React system. Teams like the Denver Nuggets have transformed their offense with it.

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