What Defenses Give Us the Most Trouble?

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series FAQs

We have faced a variety of defensive strategies over the last three years of running R&R offense.  One team in the last three years really gave us trouble and it’s because they were bigger, faster, and stronger at every position.  They were going to give us trouble no matter what offense we played or what defense they played.  They probably had 10 scholarship athletes to our 0. They were just flat out better than us.

Other than that, our offensive struggles are directly tied to our ability to put the ball in the basket.  The teams that don’t guard us are the ones that we struggle against most.  Because of the constant pressure that we put on the lane through the use of the dribble and the pass, many teams dare us to shoot from the outside.  We get open 3’s and jumpers almost anytime we want. We aren’t the world’s best shooting team.  So if we don’t make shots, we’re probably going to struggle. We still want to probe these kinds of defenses until they break down, and we get a high percentage shot attempt.  It’s pretty tough to pass up on a wide open three though when your defender is in the lane when you catch it.

Wide open

It is hard to see in this picture, but the ball is in the corner. This is the first possession of the game we made one pass.  We are the visitors in the dark jerseys.  There isn’t a white jersey outside the lane.  We can get open shots regularly. It’s a matter of whether we make them or not. If teams try to come out and guard us, we’re going to get the ball in the lane, either off the dribble or the pass.  If they sag off of us, we’re going to get open shots.  In either scenario, the question is can we put the ball in the hole.

Whether it’s a sagging man to man or zone, a lot of teams don’t try to guard us.  They try to keep the ball out of the post and clog the lane to prevent dribble penetration.  Teams who actually try to guard us, don’t usually do so very successfully.

We’ve played against high pressure defenses.  We’ve played against every zone and junk defense you can imagine. Sometimes we’ll face 5 or 6 different defenses in one game.  Our players don’t flinch.  They just follow their rules and play basketball. They work within the rules of the offense and use the concepts we teach them to find scoring opportunities.

When we first started running this offense, I thought about how I would defend us. As much as I like aggressive man to man defense, I was hesitant to play that way with the constant pressure on the lane and the rim.  I wouldn’t want to play zone and a sagging man to man isn’t much better.  In an effort to keep the team off balance, I thought that changing defenses as much as possible to try to keep offense from getting in a rhythm might be the best way to go.  The more I think about it, the more I think that might actually help us.  It may be better to stick to one defense and hope we get too comfortable and relax.

I wouldn’t want to guard us.  And with the last few teams we’ve had, I probably wouldn’t guard us either.  I would probably keep 5 people in or close to the lane and dare us to make outside shots.  If we could find one or two players who could make open shots consistently…..

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