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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Fast Five: Transition Defense

I expect to have a 'new' team with no experience this fall. Good news! That means a blank slate. Challenge players to keep it simple with necessary detail. 

The defensive priority is NO EASY SHOTS - HARD 2's/ONE BAD SHOT

What are easy shots - transition baskets, layups, putbacks (offensive rebounds), free throws, and uncontested shots.  

I believe that you cannot allow more than 3 transition scores per game. It's unreasonable to expect that good teams won't score in transition, but you see the best teams (post-season) surrender few transition baskets. Have you ever seen a good team that had bad transition defense? 

What are your CORE TRANSITION DEFENSE PRINCIPLES?

1. Get ahead of the basketball. Beat your assignment to half court. 
2. Protect the basket
3. Stop the ball. Delaying the offense means more time to organize the defense. 
4. Shape up (two back "I", three back 'triangle')
5. Communicate 
6. Keep the ball on one side. 
7. Getting back physically is half the battle. Mental engagement is critical

Five Dos and Don'ts. 


  • NO Buddy Running. Beat your girl don't run with her. 
  • Focus. The last play is over. Immediate conversion from offense to defense. Don't look at the bench, the coach, the referee, your friends and family in the stands.
  • Talk "early, loud, and often." 
  • The ball scores. Don't lose track of the ball or the 'shooters'. 
  • Know your assignment. Some teams, e.g. the Celtics under Doc Rivers, emphasized transition defense over offensive rebounding. Many coaches assign both guards back on the shot. 
Five Quotes:

"SPRINT don't run."
"Basketball isn't a running game; it's a sprinting game." 
"Stop the ball." 
"Don't back down." Good teams will "take it to you." Good defenses fight.
"No paint." No paint equals no penetration, no middle, no layups.  

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