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The Tribe

Putting Pressure on the Rim

The Read & React Offense applies North/South pressure on the rim with almost every layer. Because any initial attack on the rim must be addressed by the defense, often it is the secondary attack (when the defense is out of position) that leads to the score. Clip 1: Dribble Penetration by the wing puts pressure on the rim. It requires help defenders to stop the drive, but Circle Movement places the receiver in the best passing window.

Most coaches are control freaks (I am). That’s why we invented plays – so that we can position players exactly where we want them and have them move exactly how we want. The problem is that defenses can play by principle, adjusting quickly to anything the offense does. And, like I said in the previous article, a coach’s predetermined sequence of actions (a play) prevents the offense from being able to adjust to the moment-by-moment actions of the defense. If that is the case, how do you counter a defense playing by principle? The answer is easy to say, but much harder to do. You must turn your moment-by-moment hunting of scoring opportunities over to your players, while maintaining control of the larger themes of the game (momentum, large adjustments by the defense, etc.). To say it another way: you need to control players and situations through the offense rather than with it.

Last night, the streets of Indianapolis were quiet, essentially vacant when you consider what they were like after Saturday night’s Final Four games. Butler’s Cinderella run fell 3 points short from being the perfect story. Regardless of the loss in the finals, I can’t look at Butler’s season as anything but successful. You almost couldn’t ask for a closer game. Only the scoreboard can separate the difference between these two teams; one shot, one pair of Free Throws, one turnover early in the game, one made or missed put-back, one call by the officials. Coach Brad Stevens has a great future ahead of him. And congratulations to the Duke team and Coach Mike Krzyzewski! What a fun team to watch all season long. When I consider Duke’s team, the word balance comes to my mind. Which is stronger: their defense or their offense? Everyone on their team rebounds on both ends of the floor. Their offense has a nice mix of dribble penetration, passing, post play, and screens. You can’t concentrate on stopping just one aspect of their offense or stopping one particular player. Coach Mike Krzyzewski continues to build his legacy as a legend in this game. But these are not the things I want to draw your attention to. I want you to forget the rest of the tournament and only consider the last three games – the Final Four and the Final.

Players are smarter than coaches on a moment-by-moment basis. That ought to get your attention! Here’s what I mean:
  • Players should know when they’re being over-played without the ball and can go back-door.
  • Players should know when their defender is out of position and can be beaten by forgetting “the play” and ripping the ball to the goal.
  • Players should see slight openings in the defense that a coach on the sidelines can’t and take advantage of them.
I could go on with this list (just like any coach could). So, when I say smarter, I mean more informed from the standpoint of the immediate read of the defense.

Zone Attack, Staggered Screens, 45 Window, Why You Finish Cuts, Curl the Puppy-Dog

Clip 1: Here’s why you “Hook & Look” when you Pass & Cut against a Zone. Notice that it was the second cutter through the seam of the zone who receives the pass. Clip 2: Here’s an example of the Post Player changing interior spots after the cutter goes through. It’s the same looking for the ball that perimeter cutters should do as they go through the zone. Hunt the spots. Hunt the seams.

Using Post Players, Zone Attack, Etc.

Clip 1: The 3out Double High Post morphs into a 4out Mid-Post formation. (See Flowing on the Read & React DVDs.) This is followed by a good example of the Post Passing Layer – specifically the X-Cut. One small correction for the screener: when #21 Kachine sets the X-Cut screen, she should then cut to the basket for 4 reasons:

  • If the cutter off her screen is not open, then the post needs another passing option.
  • One of the premises of the Read & React is to always, with every action, apply pressure to the rim. Make the defense guard North-South as well as East-West; set the X-Cut Screen and then cut to the basket for a lay-up.
  • When Kachine vacates the spot, it initiates movement from the other two perimeter players (they must fill the open spots).
  • If the shot is missed, Kachine will be inside to rebound.

Random Mix of Read & React Layers

Clip 1: This looks like a simple drive to the basket – and it is. But it also illustrates an important point about the flexibility of the Read & React. There are no set plays or set actions. She’s not required to use the ball screen (like she would be in a set play). So, when the defense crowds her and overplays her, she’s free to take what’s given to her – in this case, a lay-up.

7 Ways to Use Your Post

“The only thing that is required of Post Players in the Read & React Offense is that they react correctly to Dribble Penetration. Otherwise, the coach can do anything in terms of where they are positioned or how they are used. This enables the Read & React Coach to have all kinds of flexibility and freedom. With only a few adjustments to Post Player(s), almost any major basketball action can be created using only one system of play: the Read & React.” - Rick Torbett -
Clip 1: The first way to use your post: As a Back-to-the-Basket Scorer. #50 Gabby Machado begins as a high post passer and screener. Then she uses the actions of the Read & React to post up at the low post when least expected and when help defense is following cutters out of the lane.

The Pareto Principle (also known as the 80-20 Rule) is the law of the vital few, which states that for many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Pareto noticed that 20% of the pea pods in his garden produced 80% of his peas. Other examples:
  • In business, it’s been noted that 80% of sales come from 20% of clients.
  • Most people wear 20% of their clothes (their favored clothes) 80% of the time.
  • We spend 80% of our time with 20% of our acquaintances.
I’m ready to add another 80-20 to the list: 80% of your offensive actions will come from 20% of the Read & React layers. Why point this out?