Permanent Post Players: Where Do They Go?

This entry is part 3 of 11 in the series Post Play

The last post talked about Permanent Post Players vs. Temporary Post Players.  We can’t really talk in detail about Temporary Post Players until we talk about Next Best Actions.  Before we discuss next best actions and screening, we should talk about the basic action of throwing the ball to a post player. This will likely be part of any offensive attack for teams that have a permanent post player, though it certainly isn’t required.

We will generalize actions related to post passing to all post players, but I want to discuss having a permanent post first. If you’re planning running things from a 5 out alignment, this post may not be very useful.  If you’re thinking about playing in either a 4 out 1 in or 3 out 2 in alignment, I hope it helps you. I guess it’s possible that you are playing with a permanent post player that you will never pass to. In that case, I guess you can move on.

So the question:  “Where does the post player go?”

The answer is anywhere you want them to go.  Either you’re ecstatic that you have that freedom or mad as a hornet that I didn’t give you anything specific. So to help people in both categories make a decision, I will describe a few options and discuss some of their advantages and disadvantages.

There are 6 posting areas that we talk about in the Read & React.  The short corners on each side, the mid post on each side, and the elbows on each side.  See the Diagram below.

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We will start the discussion with a traditional 4 out 1 in alignment.

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This is what a lot of coaches probably think about when they think about one post player with 4 perimeter players.  If you’ve got somebody in the post that you want to get it to, this is the most conventional way to do it.  This is what most players understand.  This alignment creates a lot of good ball side screening opportunities, from ball screens, to back screens, and flex actions.  It also creates the typical laker cut scenarios off of the entry to the post.  However, it can cut down on the driving opportunities.  Also notice that if 2 shoots the ball right now, the theoretical best rebounder is on the ball side. Most missed shots end up on the other side of the basket.  This may be a tough rebound for your post player to get.




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You might ask, “Why would I want my post player away from the ball?”  Well, it opens up a nice driving lane.  It creates off ball and weak side screening opportunities.  It puts your “best rebounder” in weak side rebounding position.You might say, “I want to get my post player the ball.”  Well you can. Your post players can post up from this position.  You may have to train them to do so.  You will have to train your guards to look for them.  You will have to train them on how to make the different kinds of passes that will be required based on this player’s position.  You would be surprised how effective this position can be.




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This may seem a little unorthodox but it can be especially effective to help stretch a zone. However, this opens up driving lanes.  It may also put a post defender in a bit of an uncomfortable position while putting the offensive post in a comfortable scoring position. Rebounding out of this position may not be as strong, but if your post is good at pursuing the basketball, then this may be a good position for them to do that.






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Again this is one is a bit unorthodox. It’s probably best used against zones, but it’s going to put man to man defenses in some uncomfortable positions as well.  It will force them to guard flash cuts as well as account for weak side rebounders in space.  There is an immediate outlet for the wing player on a baseline drive. It also sets up an interesting basket cut opportunity on a middle drive from this position.  A help-side defender can easily lose track of this offensive player in the short corner because of the spacing this position creates.




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Most of us don’t have dominant back-to-the-basket post players. They may be undersized, but they can make a 15 foot jumper. Many of them can catch the ball at the elbow and attack the basket from there.  This position also generates a variety of good screening opportunities and opens up the basket for cutters and penetration.  If your post player is a competent passer, this is a good location for them as well.





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There are so many off ball and weak side screening opportunities out of this weak side high post location.  This player also becomes a great option as a high ball screener after one pass.  You may have to place extra emphasis on this player to rebound since they aren’t as close to the basket. However, there are a lot of good options that be executed with the post player in this location.






So which one do you pick?  My recommendation is to put your post player in one location and then let them learn to play from one spot at a time. They don’t have to worry about moving except to rebound.  They can learn to find opportunities to screen.  They can learn where their teammates will be when they catch the ball in that spot.  They can learn how to generate scoring opportunities for themselves and others.  By playing in one spot, they can learn how to play on the ball side and the weak side because the ball will naturally change sides of the floor.

I would recommend that you pick the spot where your post player can be most successful.  If you want them on the ball side most of the time, I would say put them on the right side.  If you want them on the weak side most of the time, put them on the left.  I wouldn’t tell them to stay on the weak side or the ball side, because the ball can end up moving so fast that they can’t be effective.  Obviously as they learn , they will see other opportunities to take advantage of flashing and switching sides on the court.

There are a lot of different looks that can be created with one post.  A second post creates even more possibilities.  For now, let’s work with one post player and go from there.

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