Offensive and defensive assumptions behind Blitz Basketball

Last week, I re-formatted the diagrams in Blitz Basketball to make it available through Amazon Kindle. It was the first time that I had read the book since I wrote it in 2008 (originally in 2006, with the second version completed in 2008).  Read more

Coaching Frosh Basketball – Week 3.5

Finals are finished, and we lost two more games. After reflecting on the first loss (I missed the second loss with a final), and the previous two games, we’re losing due to some little things. First, and foremost, my philosophy is hurting us right now. We lost to two teams that run the Flex and take advantage of the lack of a shot clock to run the offense over and over until a defender makes a mistake. Our offense is often disorganized. If we ran something like the Flex, we would probably fare better because players would know exactly what to do: pass, screen down, etc. I am more concerned with players learning to find spacing, learning to move in relation to the dribble, learning to run a pick-and-roll, etc. We have the outlines of an offense, but no true structure. This hurts us competitively right now because we have to learn to play with each other and read each other. It’s a process, and a slow learning process right now. Read more

Offensive Rebounds Lead to Free Throws

Nothing destroys the heart of a defense more than relinquishing offensive rebounds. After playing 10–30 seconds of solid defense, an offensive rebound gives the offense another possession, forcing the defense to exert more effort and hiding the offense’s poor shooting. More to the point, offensive rebounds lead directly to free throw attempts.

Maybe it is a coincidence; possibly it is evidence that aggressive teams get offensive rebounds and aggressive teams get to the free throw line; or, it is no coincidence, and offensive rebounds lead directly to free throw attempts.

reboundIn the 2002-03 NBA season, Golden State led the league in offensive rebounds per game (15.7) and free throw attempts per game (29.0). New York shot the fewest free throws per game (19.8) and grabbed the fewest number of offensive rebounds per game (10.3). Numerous variables affect this comparison, but aggressive teams get more offensive rebounds and aggressive teams shoot more free throws.

Teams who protect their defensive backboard surrender fewer free throw attempts, adding more substance to the argument. Portland surrendered the fewest free throw attempts per game (20.2) in 2002-03, and finished tied for fourth in fewest offensive rebounds allowed per game (11.1). On the other side, Chicago’s opponents shot the most free throws per game (29.2), and the Bulls relinquished the fourth most offensive rebounds per game (13.6).

Offensive players who get an offensive rebound have an advantage on the defense; if the defense were in good position, there likely would be no offensive rebound. As the defender attempts to recover, fouls occur. Offensive players must look to score immediately and take advantage of this opportunity.

When going for a rebound, a player should jump small and tall, extending as high as possible to reach the ball. When they land, they should be big and wide, taking up space and landing with a solid foundation that lends itself to better balance. This strong, wide position aids the offensive player as he attempts to go through the arms and bodies and shoot the put-back.

A strong base allows the offensive player to land and make a head fake, getting defenders off-balance to create time and space for the follow-up opportunity. The offensive rebounder must keep the ball high when he lands; if he brings the ball down, he wastes movement and time and gives defenders a chance to get a hand on the ball and deflect the put-back.

Great offensive rebounders –Elton Brand (4.6 ORPG) and Ben Wallace (4.0 ORPG) – use quickness and anticipation. More than anything, however, great offensive rebounders actively pursue every ball and assume every shot is a miss. These players put themselves in position for follow-up opportunities and free throw attempts.

University of Tennessee Women’s Head Coach Pat Summit says: “Offense sells tickets, defense wins games and rebounds win championships.” A team cannot be a complete team without rebounding: offensive rebounds enhance an offense and counter-balance poor shooting, and defensive rebounds finish good defensive possessions. Championship teams make all the plays, and that includes rebounding.

By Brian McCormick
Director of Coaching, Playmakers Basketball Development League

A drill’s true purpose

The University of Washington was the worst free throw shooting team in the nation last season, but is improved this year. They credit “the ladder.” Read more

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