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Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills
 

Defence
Kevin O'Neill


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1
Kevin O'Neill man-to-man defence

No easy baskets, no open threes, contested twos. Three guys get back in transition right away (3 first goes to the foul line), sprint the first two steps. Games are not won on with offensive rebounds but in defensive transition. When in doubt, recover to the help, get to the midline. Shrink the court on defence, stretch it on offence.

In the halfcourt, inside the arc is the scoring area, don't play outside it (but adjust to a great shooter). Deny to the arc, do not deny non-penetrating passes.

There are three shrink positions, the first is with the ball out top. X1 is arm-length away, heel-toe, shoulder to shoulder, active hands, keeping the ball out of the paint (no blow-by). The other defenders cover elbows and blocks. X2 and X3 have one foot in the paint, X4 and X5 are above and inside their man, keeping contact with an arm bar but feet away from his.
 
Lawrence Frank - the Celtics want to force one contested mid-range shot, they protect the paint first. X1 has a weak-hand no-paint stance (contain, don't invite a straight-line drive, no blow-by), X3 and X2 are in shrink, at the elbows. See Defending - Procopio 3 on 3 shrink.

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2
The second shrink position is with the ball on the wing. X2 has a no-middle but no paint stance, feet parallel to the sideline. If 2 starts to go middle, force him to the top; if he goes baseline, X2 shows his hands and takes it on the chest.

X1 is on the elbow, X3 and X4 are in the middle of the paint (on the midline), X5 reds the post, stepping over top to front and calling "red" so that X2 pushes up hard into the ball. Red the low post only one time.

Play butt to the baseline in the halfcourt (except when doubling the post), pistols out, head turning. Defenders move down as the ball moves down (line of the ball).

Close out with high hands to take away shot, get a deflection, but no blow-by, active hands. Sprint, shuffle-shuffle. Recover hard to contest all shots, which means changing the shot. Defending a great shooter, don't help as much, fly right by him to contest, then turn and sprint to get back in the play (no leaking).
 
Lawrence Frank - on a pass from 1 to 2, X2 closes out (no middle, no paint, influence to the corners outside the pro lane), X1 sprints to the elbow and has X2's back (as soon as a pass is made from top to wing or wing to top, it's a sprint to the elbow - sprint to the ball, you can never be wrong). X3 has X1's back. The Celtics deny
- passes to the elbows
- corner entry vs. corner filled
- hi-post flash when fronting the post
- pass back to the same-side wing when fronting the post
- reversal pass when big man is the trailer and is the passer.

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3
The third shrink position is when the ball goes into the low post. If 5 gets the ball with X5 behind, X5 has a no-middle stance, with his baseline hand on 5 (hand on) and his top hand up (hand up). If 5 comes middle X5 takes it on the chest. X5 forces 5 to turn baseline, then switches to have his baseline hand up and top hand on.

All three perimeter guys jump to the ball to shrink the court, but don't dig with a hand until 5 dribbles, then recover to their own if 5 picks up the dribble.

Don't red if a low post moves out, "gold" from the high side, force him baseline.

coachesclipboard.ca - with the international lane, many teams will defend a low-post attacker from behind because fronting is very vulnerable to lob passes.

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If 5 gets a lob pass when X5 is fronting, X5 forward pivots on his top foot, X4 comes over to trap, X3 and X1 sink and fill, and X2 digs in (positions shown).

Swarm the ball any time it gets to the paint.
 
See Defending - Fratello 4-player close-outs (Lawrence Frank).

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5
Allow no splits, help and recover on drives, not double-teaming. It's always one-pass help, if help has to come from two passes away (e.g., when defenders deny one pass away) there's a wide-open three or a dunk.

However, on a baseline drive, trap the box, outside the paint. X2 and X5 trap, X4 comes over to take 5, X3 sinks and X1 fills. X3 must have a physical presence on big 4.

If X5 gets caught on 5, weakside X4 would trap with X2.

On a pass out of a trap, all defenders recover to their own (not full rotation).

Also see Defence - Kevin O'Neill ballscreens.

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