Any defensive system is an adaptation of its principles plus the personnel’s level of effort, communication, and connectivity.


For the 1st time in my career – player or coach – the defense of choice will be built around preventing the ball to puncture the middle of the floor.

10 Pre-Season Takeaways Installing “No-Middle Defense”

  1. Number one priority is the angle of closeouts & on-ball defense: force sideline
    • Biggest breakdowns happen during scrambles
  2. Ball pressure is paramount (should be universal for any defense)
  3. On-ball defense is expected to absorb the drive as much as possible
    • Have to win the lane-line battle – make drive finish outside the paint!
  4. Off-ball principles depend on coaching preference on-the-line or off-the-line
Screenshot from On-The-Line-Up-The-Line Defense from Jordan Sperber (hoopvision68)
  1. Weakside help must confront drives outside the lane line
  2. Strong side stunt must be early in recovery to takeaway corner 3
    • NBA trickle-down concept, but really it’s just a common overhelp
  3. There are a lot of rotations required & a step slow costs points
    • Same side post drops to stop baseline drive
    • Empty post depends on opposite low-man
    • Quick help-the-help & active hands for deflections
    • Zone opposite to take 1st pass & scramble!
  4. Post defense is 3/4 to deny reading the location of the ball for positioning
    • If the ball is 1st hash or below, then fight for the baseline angle to help on drive
    • If the ball is above the 1st hash, then 3/4 to deny on the top side
  5. “Ice or Down” ballscreens on the side are consistent with principles

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