One of the games that I watched last week was The Oklahoma Thunder vs The Brooklyn Nets. One of the biggest things things that both teams took advantage of was the use of fakes before and after drives. It allowed both teams, especially Kevin Durant and Joe Johnson to open up driving lines as well as getting their defender off their feet after the drive to draw contact and get to the free throw line.
Obviously we all know the benefits offensively from using fakes, but what about teaching our teams defensively to stay on the ground. So many coaches work work with their players on close outs and doing a great job staying low and moving their feet defensively. I think sometimes a lost teaching point is to defend against the drive and only contest at the end instead of leaving their feet.
At the very best what a defender will do is alter the offensive player’s shot or get a piece of the ball. Most of the time you see players getting caught in the air and the offensive player make contact with them sending them to the line for either 2 shots or getting an and 1 on the play.
I think all coaches that drill their teams on defense should work on staying on their feet on all fakes before and after drives. I think a good way to build up to this would be the following.
* Point to wing pass defender closes out the offensive player fakes and defender stays down
* Point to wing pass defender closes out and offensive player drives 2 dribbles in either direction and fakes after the second dribble and then shoot. Emphasis should be on good slides staying low and just contesting the shot.
* Offensive player dribbles in transition and fakes the three point shot, emphasis should be on defender retreating and staying on feet on the fake.
* Point guard dribbles from half court changes direction for 2 penetrating dribbles and then fakes, defender points of emphasis should be on sliding with the offensive player defending the change of direction and then keeping in front of the offensive player and contesting the shot and staying on the ground.
There are a million ways to teach and build up to this. The biggest point to get across is for your players to build good habits. The only way they will get these habits is to build them in practice everyday. They need to know that your philosophy is that you dont leave your feet on jumpshots. Sure contest shots all they want and get a hand up, but fouling on a deep contested two point shot or a three point shot happens way to much in our game.
It is easier said then done trying to get players to carry these traits into games as once you add referees and fans in the stands it’s a completely different ball game. Teams spend hours practicing closing out staying low and choppy steps working into the close out. Once the real game starts and the excitement happens when your players are guarding shooters 9 times out of 10 they will run out at them and leave their feet it happens so much.
I think it takes a lot of discipline to stay down and not leave your feet as a player defending a shooter, but it is something that is so important. Great scorers eyes light up when their defender is in foul trouble they know by using any tactic to get them off their feet will increase their chances of putting them on the bench.
I think by drilling it into their heads that it is important to stay down on fakes defensively that offensively they should take advantage of fakes before and after drives. Everything that you teach your players should have an offensive and defensive aspect to it.
Well I hope this helps tomorrow I will share with you something else that I took from this game. Good luck and if there is anything that we can do for you please let us know.