Half Court Offense
Our half-court offense, which we term as Space & Attack, is an extension of our transition offense. When we get into the half-court our pace doesn’t slow down. If no advantage is created in transition we still arrive with the floor spaced in one of our base alignments looking to create an advantage that leads to a high value shot. To get that advantage, we can flow directly into principles of play within Space & Attack or can trigger alternate actions (Quicks) with automatics or calls that connect to our spacing alignment.
Space & Attack Principles of Play
Having a base structure is important to help the players on the floor be connected to each other on how we want to play. Many coaches talk about motion offenses as giving players freedom to “just play”, but without any principles of play, it can turn into five players running around without any connection to the whole. Freedom and creativity is best derived from a base structure.
Our two primary ways of creating advantages in Space & Attack is to open space (primarily through cuts that create gaps) for our players to attack via dribble penetration and getting the ball to the post to trigger coordinated action. Understanding, creating, and keeping space is the most important element in our offense. When a gap opens and a player drives the basketball, our penetration reaction concepts (push-pull-hold) are utilized by players off the ball.
On a drive if a player comes to a two-foot stop or a Barkley, that triggers a series of second cuts and actions.
If we enter the ball into the post, we have a series of concepts we can play out of that begin with a post split with the two players closest to the ball. That split has an array of options from a cutting standpoint, and a secondary action that we like and use is a “dribble up” where the post dribbles toward half court into a pitch for a player involved in the split action. On the weak side, we encourage a flare for a shooter or a cut to the rim with a replace.
A big part of our role as coaches in coaching a conceptual offense is to help players understand their strengths and where they can be most effective within our concepts. For example, there are certain players we want stopping and posting on their cuts more often. On second cuts, some of our players are better suited to automatically cut to the rim, where as others are better suited to move to a window on the perimeter. The other part where the coach can provide aid to their players is understanding when your players need to utilize different actions through Quicks to attack or exploit certain elements of the opponents defense.
Quicks are set actions that connect directly with our spacing. We can use Quicks as automatics flowing from transition to the half-court. The main automatics we use that don’t need a call involve the trailer setting a drag or the handler reversing to the center and us getting a screen action on the weak side. If we are in a “Power” alignment w/ a post (no strong-side corner), we can throw it to the post and immediately play off of that as well.
Other actions can be called after made shots when the defense is more likely to be set or they can be called as the ball is coming up the floor and we know there isn’t an immediate advantage available. One of our most common used Quicks is what we call “Snap”, which involves passing to a teammate and then immediately sprinting off of them (this is sometimes referred to as a Get).
If we don’t get an immediate advantage off a Quick, we don’t stop and reset, we’re right into Space & Attack principles.
Playing w/ Advantage
Our players know our objective within the offense and the actions we run- to create an advantage and turn it into a high value shot. It’s important they have the ability to recognize when an advantage has been created and then are able to react and use that advantage accordingly. Our two biggest tenants when we have created an advantage is to maintain spacing (penetration reaction) and “no hold” mentality (shoot, drive, pass decision on the catch).
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