Our game is filled with big men that have all of the size and ability to become very good players. The problem is something happens along the way. I don’t know if its too many games and not enough work, or too much work and not enough game situations to simulate what they were taught. For whatever reason we have hundreds of players with size every year that don’t develop into serviceable big men and underachieve. I’m not talking about players that are necessarily going to be NBA players it could be big men at any level of basketball. As I travel around the country as well as watch hundreds of hours of film a year it is evident that big men as much as any position needs a lot of work.
Why is this happening?? Why is it such an issue now when back 15 years ago or so players with size developed at an alarming rate. People can be quick to say AAU basketball is to blame or bad coaching. I’m not so quick to asses blame to one establishment. What I do know is that there is an issue that needs to be fixed sooner than later.
All I can do is work with as many big men as I can and try to develop them in the simplest way I know how. In this article I will share some of the subjects that are covered when I get in the gym with big men to work on offense
1.) ESTABLISH POSIITON- This is a must, first off big men really need to try to establish position as deep in the paint s they can. There is nothing worse than having a big pushed all the way out to the 9-10 foot range, there’s nothing wrong with big men that face up and are a threat from that distance, but it takes away a lot of the advantage that they have for being that size. When you establish your position its very important to give a good target. Have both hands up with your elbows bent with your hands by your ears. This will make sure that you are giving your passer a good target.
2.) SLOW DOWN!!- Before any move is taught I always put in their head to slow down and don’t be in a rush to make a move. Always try to give the passer time to cut through, this is a good strategy because the passer also takes his defender with him allowing the big man more space to make their move and not worry about a quick double team.
3.) USE MOVES WITH A DRIBBLE AND WITHOUT- I try to work on a no dribble hook and jump shot first with no dribble right around the block area, and even move out a step trying to develop range on their jump shot as well as their hooks. Obviously moves off the dribble suck as the dribble jump hook, and dribble drop, spin move, rip through etc are encouraged.
4.) GO OVER BOTH SHOULDERS- Whatever they can do with their right hand, they should be able to go over their left.
5.) ALWAYS BE ACTIVE- Even if a player isn’t a great post scorer they can have an effect on the game by running the floor. First thing a big should do when making the transition from offense to defense if they are the first big down the floor right straight down the floor to the rim. Every big should get 4-6 points a game just on running the floor. Also on screen roll they should spring hard to the rim when they roll opening up scoring opportunities for them or forcing defenders to bump them and leaving shooters open. Always play with energy. Activity also means rebounding. Never should a big man play 28 minutes and finish the game with 2 rebounds. A big man needs to be active not only in scoring but also in rebounding. An elite big man can get a rebound in every 4 minutes or less. So At the end of the night take your minutes and divide them by your rebounds and see what number you get. If its 5 or less that’s pretty good. Over 7-8 and you have an issue.
6.) KEEP THE BALL HIGH- When rebounding or catching in general always keep the ball high this keeps defenders from stripping it as well as allows them to get the offensive rebound putback quicker.
7.) ALWAYS BE AWARE OF DOUBE TEAMS- As a big, like every position you need to keep your head up when making moves you need to see if defenders double off their man to you this will open up open shooters and cutters. You cant be tunnel visioned and worry just about scoring that will not only lead to a lot of turnovers , but it hinders your value and ability to get better as a big man. Being a passer is what separates big men such as Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol, and Joakim Noah from the rest is their ability to not only score but pass the ball as well.
8.) DEVELOP A BACK TO THE BASKET AND FACE UP GAME- Don’t be one dimensional as a scorer. Learn not only how to create space with your strength and back people down , but also how to face up and shoot the ball and/or drive. Some players can be good enough players to step out to 15-17 feet , and some 7 feet. That’s fine there’s no harm in having limited range, but open your game to that it will do nothing but help you.
9.) DONT FALL IN LOVE WITH THE JUMP SHOT- Just because you can make shots don’t just spot up around the perimeter. You need to have a low post game. Doesn’t have to be extensive, but it needs to be something. Even if it’s a one dribble hook, or a jump shot from the block over your right/left shoulder. There’s nothing worse than a 6’10 power forward/center that all they want to do is shoot the ball from the perimeter. There’s nothing wrong with having range, but you need to establish your game inside then out.
10.) MORE ISNT ALWAYS BETTER- You don’t have to have 20 moves. That’s nonsense. Try to have 3-4 moves in your arsenal that you can rely on maybe a counter or two. Nothing worse than a big man that practices 20 moves and never masters any of them. Just have a few that you are comfortable. Even the best big men in the league have 3-4 that they master and then maybe use a couple of more on occasion. Always have your bread and butter.
Here is some video on Tim Duncan. It just shows some of the different things he’ll do in the course of a game. Could be low post scoring, facing up, screen roll/slip/pop, being active, and passing. Tim Duncan knows how to play the game as well as he knows how to play the game slow. Every big man in the world can pick up a thing or two from him