Key Takeaways:
  • Preventative Post Defense
  • 45 Degree Bump & Release
  • “5 Strong” on Weakside Help

Post touches are scoring threats beyond making a move to score; it tends to force perimeter players to sag or ball watch which leaves the threat of basket-cutters or inside-out shooting. So, the best post defense is preventative in nature – doing your work early to keep the ball from ever entering the post:

  1. Ball Pressure
  2. Owning Real Estate
  3. Denying Entry via Angles & Arms

Depending on the defensive philosophy of the coach post defenders are encouraged to play on the high-side or baseline side, possibly fronting or playing three-quarters to deny. Either way, once the ball is established in the post, Coach Del Harris talks about breaking contact with the body of the offensive player. Post-play is all about intuitive reads and dependency on go-to moves. The decisions to score often are based on “feeling” where the defender is applying the most pressure and countering the opposite direction to take advantage of the most space available. Therefore, by breaking contact with the offensive player it forces them to show their hand first – making a move to initiate contact. At this point of contact, the defensive player can “wall-up” with a strong wide base showing two-hands high and center the offensive player with their chest to neutralize the threat.

Defending Cutters

The best defenses are the ones that can establish the physicality without the foul. Setting a tone for disruptiveness via activity and physicality establishes a mentality thwarting drives, diverting cutters, and inciting poor decisions.

Using the “45 degree technique” teaches defenders how to bump cutters without picking up an off-ball foul. The intent is knock offensive players off of their path to prevent easy baskets or clean angles providing enough space for shooters to come off of screens with a line of vision and comfort to catch-and-shoot. By using a 45 degree arm angle defenders are using their inside forearms to dictate the direction of the offensive player’s cut as oppose to simply conceding space. Two things have to happen to avoid fouls:

  1. Do not extend the arm (90 degrees)
  2. Release contact after the bump

“… a bump followed by a release, while maintaining contact, will serve the dual purposeof breaking up the cutter’s route and rhythm and will keep the defender in a good position in front of the cutter’s body.”

Being Strong on “Weak Side” Responsibilities 

“Good weakside defensive techniques are critical to a successful team defense.”

  1. Preventing an easy ball reversal.
  2. Giving secondary help to penetration when defending two passes away from the ball.
  3. Rotating to open men in scoring position, whether they are shooters, drivers, or swing passers.
  4. Going for blocked shots when they can get an angle.
  5. Rebounding.

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