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Friday, December 21, 2018

Basketball: Getting Extra Possessions

"Money is the mother's milk of politics." Extra possessions are the mother's milk of basketball

Possession and possessions informs key principles. Success relates to our use of this possession and our ability to get possessions. 

"What do you mean extra possessions?" After scoring, possession changes. Let's find ways to get extra possessions, starting with the less obvious. 

1. Increase pace. Only Phoenix and Cleveland have fewer possessions per NBA game in 2018. Defensive intensity (including pressing), transition, and identifying open shots earlier during possession increase pace. 

If you increase pace and offensive efficiency (without losing defensive metrics), you get...Milwaukee. Milwaukee increased its effective field goal percentage from 53.3% to 55.3% and takes almost seven more shots per game. 

That translates to about four more points per 100 possessions for the Bucks. 

And the Bucks have reduced their points allowed per possession from 1.067 to 1.022! So they score more and allow fewer points per possession. 

2. Hack-a-Shaq. The NBA implemented rules to limit strategic fouling but it's still a viable strategy outside those conditions. Knowing your opponent helps with strategic fouling. 

Every NBA coach knows the worst free throw shooters. But only three players 'average' less than 1.1 points per two free throws. 


3. Held balls. In youth basketball, held balls can account for significant possessions. Teaching players how not to get tied up saves possessions and having players create tie balls adds possessions (without fouling). 

4. Unofficiating. Some coaches teach players to automatically take possession after the ball goes out of bounds. Players point the direction to "help" the officials. It's up to the officials to correct the possession. 

5. Turnovers and violations. Forcing turnovers and violations usually relates to better ball pressure and better off-ball denial. We were taught to yell "pinch" when the ballhandler lost the dribble with automatic denial for other defenders. 

6. Taking charges. We take few charges, a great play that changes possession and adds a foul to an opponent. 

7. Rebounding. Defensive rebounds finish possessions and offensive boards offer second chance points. I've read that an offensive rebound has a fifty percent point of scoring and a second offensive rebound increases that to nearly eighty. That's less believable for youth basketball. 

Don't forget the role of personnel. Deploy superior rebounders, a pressure team, and a come-from-behind squad when extra possessions are especially needed. Going with "offense-defense" solutions occasionally is a difference maker. 

Finally, remember your timeouts. I like to save three (of five) for the final four minutes, but sometimes they're necessary to stop runs, give rest, make substitutions, or setup an ATO play. There's no Holy Grail for time out use. But they make lousy Christmas presents. 

Lagniappe: via Chris Oliver @BBallImmersion 

"Great offense means multiple actions." 
Continuing a recent theme, watch double downscreens into a dribble handoff set up a weakside backdoor cut. 

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