Strategy: To create a position-less, rules based offense that is easy to teach and learn while being effective against different defenses. Ideally the concepts can be used across different teams (town, travel, AAU) and hopefully year over year as coaches and players move around.
This Offense is based off of a system designed at St. Joe’s of Maine and used by many others.
General guiding principles: No set plays, No dribble handoffs or screens (to start). Positions are fluid and all players should develop ball handling skills. Goal is to play with pace and get lots of movement to confuse the defense. Confused defenses make mistakes, mistakes should lead to quality shots. Ideally, the ball primarily moves via the pass and the only time players are dribbling is to attack the rim and create.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The ultimate goal on offense is obviously to score. Players should understand that the rules below are designed to give them the space and opportunity to attack the rim and create good shots.
Principle #1. Player positioning i.e. "Spacing" – We want to create space between players so defenses are forced to defend the entire floor and reduce the ability to double team or play proper help defense.
RULE #1: Players always maintain 15-18 foot spacing. No more, no less. Avoid crossing paths and never bunch together. The base setup is 4 wide (top, wings and corner) and 1 “dunker”. The dunker spot is baseline low block, ideally opposite side of the ball and never in the lane. The exception is when facing a zone where the dunker should be used on the foul line to attack the belly of the zone.
vs Man to Man
Principle #2. Organized movement – Every player should be constantly moving, with purpose, in an organized fashion. The ball should not stay in one place for more than 2-3 seconds. We want to get the off-ball defenders attention away from the ball handler. This creates driving opportunities with no help OR drive and kick to open shooters.
RULE #2: On any pass, the passer cuts to the hoop and everyone rotates to replace open spots. RULE #1 needs to be maintained.
RULE#3: All players move on any drive. Drive left – Move left, Drive right – Move Right. If a teammate drives at you, back door cut. If a player is driving to the hoop, we do not want our man to help. If they do, we should be open for a kick out or a back door cut.
Good diagrams in this article.
Principle #3. Ball handling – We always want to be under control and in the attack position with the ball. This allows court vision and maintains the triple threat options (pass, shoot or drive). Players should be able to fend off a single defender using pivot techniques and ball fakes. Passes should be made as a player is coming open and not after their defender has caught up to them or is in a position to intercept.
RULE #4: When receiving a pass, face the hoop first in the attack position before using your dribble. Use the pivot action to create space for yourself to make a good pass or set up a drive to the basket. Do not “turtle” with the ball and allow the defender to pressure you.
RULE #5: Only dribble TOWARDS your hoop. Not backwards, not in place for no reason and not sideways (unless to create movement),. Unnecessary dribbling allows the defense to recover and/or attack. You should always keep going to the hoop until you score or someone stops you. If double teamed you should be able to find the open man if our spacing is maintained.
RULE #6: Do not hold the ball for more than 3 seconds. Emphasis is on ball movement. Either pass or drive within that time period so the defense cannot recover and reset.
RULE #7: No lob (read: lazy) passes. Lob passes are slow, easily stolen and give the defense time to recover. Crisp chest pass and/or bounce passes that should be 12-15 feet given our spacing rules.