“DOMINATE SIMPLE” After watching countless games from all different levels it is really important to understand how simple the game really is. Sure, you watch the superstars dominate the game with their unreal size, speed, and athletic abilities. If you break the game down and watch the majority of the possessions in the NBA you will see the simple things that they do over the course of a game, week, series, and season.
It is easy to get seduced into working on the remarkable plays that players at a high level make, because players and coaches alike want to play like and build players into being great. You have to understand there aren’t many players on Earth that can live on a steady diet of tough contested shots in our game. This game is all about being efficient and making the easy play that puts your team into position to win on every possession. Taking a majority of your shots contested/isolated will give you somewhere in the neighborhood of a 30% success rate.
Our game today is all about spacing. We want to spread the floor, move the basketball, and force the defense to move and react to drives and multiple passes on a possession until an open shot or drive open up. Very rarely do you see a high level game where the ball sticks and stops for the majority of possessions. Any good team would want their opponents to take that philosophy. What create’s good offense is the following
- Ball Movement
- Straight Line Drives That Lead into 2 defenders guarding the ball to kick to an open teammate
- Great Screening On/Off Ball That Leads to an open shot or paint drive
- Multiple drives in the paint to move the ball from one side of the floor to another
- Cutting To The Basket
- Screener rolling to the rim to force defender to leave their man to bump them opening up a shot
- 80% or more of shot attempts being uncontested
- Make Open Shots
- Transition Baskets
- Get The Ball Into The Paint Consistently (Drive,Screen/Roll, Straight Line Drive, Post Up)
All of these things put your team into good position to win games. The hard part is to have the restraint from the top of your roster to the bottom to not being seduced into holding the ball and taking tough shots. As Player Development Coaches, it is our job not only to work on these winning types of plays, but continue to communicate to our players what types of shots we need from them and what to stay away from.
When watching the greats play it easy to focus in on the unbelievable Sportscenter moments that they do on a nightly basis. But, for the true greats for every fade away jump shot there was a spot up jumper, a straight line drive, a drive and kick to an open teammate, a cut to the rim, or off the ball play like a screen. When working with players, obviously most of the workouts will consist of offense. It is important to have our players hone in on making simple basketball plays. Every player wants to be the Alpha Dog of the team and take all of the shots, the problem with that philosophy is that there only can be room for a so many players taking all of the shots. In the NBA there are about 100 or so players that take 10 shots or more. That means over 400 players have to live on 9.9 shots or less. They have to make the most of their possessions and make simple plays to stay on the floor.
There will be times where our players will need to have the ball in their hands isolated at the end of game and will need to make a play to create separation from their defender. I think it’s important to touch upon a move or two that they will need to get their shot. But, to spend the majority of our time with every player that we work with on live ball moves in an isolation type set only positions your players for failure.
Dominating simple on the defensive end is important as well. Instead of needing to gamble and come up with steals or blocks how about working with your players on being able to close out and stay in front of the offensive man. Being a great position/team defender can really help your team. Instead of making blocks in the paint all the time how about getting in good position to take a charge. Blocking your man out instead of just going after the ball. Having good closeout technique and defensive stance can be very beneficial. Defending without fouling is the key as well as securing the rebound.
Here are some of the “Winning Skill Sets” You can work with your players on
- Sprinting The Floor
- Getting ahead of the ball in offensive transition
- Getting back on defense
- Make Open Shots within their range
- Straight Line Drives Without Traveling
- Stab dribbles to the strong side
- Great Screening On/Off Ball
- Empty cuts force the defense to move and make decisions
- 1-2 Dribble Pull Ups
- Duck In Hooks From The Weakside
- Show Your Hands On Defense, Defend Without Fouling(Defense)
- Blocking Out (Defense)
- Weak Hand
- Keeping Offensive Player In Front of You (Defense)
- Fighting Through Screens On/Off Ball (Defense)
- Set Legal Screen On Ball & Roll Hard To The Rim
Those are just a few things you can work with your players on to “Dominate Simple”. Our game needs players that can make simple winning plays. Once they can earn the trust of their head coach to be able to get and stay on the floor then you can start working on some more advanced skill sets. The more players that we can develop and get on the floor that make simple plays the better the chances our team is in position to win games.