16 Jul Read & React Offense: Engineered to Absorb Selfishness
In traditional basketball offenses, a selfish player can kill what the team is trying to accomplish. Ultimately, that player will force the offense to break down and lose five-player coordination. This means that traditional offenses are only as strong as the weakest link – a selfish player.
Even your trustworthy “team-player” can occasionally stray from the herd and do his or her own thing with the same results – a loss of teamwork.
This is not the case with the Read & React Offense. Layers 3, 4, 5, and 6 are engineered to absorb selfish player actions and turn them into opportunities.
Example 1: Selfish Player A (SPA) has the ball on the wing and decides not to attack or to pass, but instead, to dribble around the arc to the other wing. This action sends two cutters to the basket with a chance to score and the Read & React gives these two cutters chances to choose from the Next Best Action List: (Layers 7-16). This East-West dribbling action of SPA might have initiated a backscreen, post up, screen for the post, Pin Screen, staggered screen, etc, once the cutters get their feet in the lane (the Decision Box).
Of course, there’s filling action happening behind SPA, which forces the defense to change their positions.
Example 2: Selfish Player B (SPB) has the ball anywhere on the perimeter. SPB decides to drive right, even though there’s no advantage. Layer 4 moves all perimeter players one spot to their right – the opposite of defensive help and rotation. If the formation is 5 OUT, then one player winds up cutting to the hole (the corner position), effectively providing a pass threat on the basket. Others move into Natural Pitch positions, while one player moves in behind the ball as the Safety Valve. If there’s a post player involved, then Layer 5 slides the post out of the way, into pass receiving positions.
Example 3: Selfish Player C (SPC) decides he/she wants a ball-screen to help with getting to the goal. SPC backs up while dribbling (Layer 12 Reverse Dribble) pulling a post out to the perimeter to set a pick on the ball. Traditionally, this is a two-player game at best (a one player game if the ball handler is selfish). But, with the Read & React, the Reverse Dribble signals the other 3 players to get into position on the perimeter and Circle Move correctly (depending on which way the ball goes off the pick). This turns two-player action into 5-player-multi-option action that demands all 5 defenders deal with the ball, the movement of who they’re defending, and the movement of the entire offense. SPC has no choice in the matter. Anything SPC chooses winds up creating 5-player teamwork opportunities.
Of course, the Selfish Player might not pass the ball even if their teammates are open. The Selfish Player might still turn the ball over or take a bad shot by trying to beat 2, 3, or 4 defenders. But the Read & React will not break down into 1 ballhandler moving and 4 others standing and watching (it will generate 5-player movement engaging all 5 defenders every time the ball moves).
On the other end of the scale, though, what would the offense look like in the hands of a great player (especially a great ballhandler from the NBA or WNBA) surrounded with four seasoned Read & Reactors? What would a Jason Kidd, Kobi Bryant, Sue Bird, or Diana Taurasi do with the guaranteed spacing, slides, and movement of the Read & React? What would they do after they realize that the Read & React allows them to know where every teammate is going the moment they choose an action with the ball?
“Perchance to dream, ay, there’s the rub…”