Setting the Pick and Roll

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

What’s not to love about the Pick and Roll?  Turn on the NBA playoffs and you’ll see a ball screen just about every other possession.  While there’s nothing like pacing and spacing to rev up an offense, ball screens and the actions they create, like rolling, popping, or slipping, force the defense to do something.  And that’s when an offense can truly be effective by responding to how a defense attempts to play.  We’ve talked about them before in Snaking the Ball Screen and Sex and the Pick and Roll, but teams in the playoffs continue to advance in their creativity in utilizing ball screens.  As the complexity grows and filters down to all levels, however, learning and teaching ball screens remains a basic fundamental that none of us should ignore.

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Losing the Low Post Tradition

Jeff Hanisch/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

As we shift focus to the NBA playoffs, I’ve been catching up with my hometown Milwaukee Bucks and have witnessed a transformation that most of us in the basketball world have noticed happening for quite some time – the vanishing low post (We took a closer look in 2013 with Christmas & Post-Ups). Gone are the days of Milwaukee’s Lew Alcindor hitting sky hooks and drop-stepping from the block, but we have welcomed in two other seven-footers in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greg Monroe wheeling and dealing from the elbow.  They’re still posting up with their back to the basket, but they provide evidence of how the game of my youth has changed and it reminds me of the struggles going on within the church of today. Continue reading

Settle Down With A Horns Set

It’s become one of the most common sets used in all levels of basketball. It’s simple and easy to understand, but puts pressure on the defense from a spacing standpoint and can be the starting point for a variety of actions from the simple to the complex.  It’s called the “Horns” set and chances are if you sit down to watch a few games this week, you’ll see some form of the Horns set being used.  For our team, it’s become as comforting as grandma’s meatloaf as we use it to settle down in the midst of chaos.  It’s a simple, comforting way to get our team back on track and it never fails to remind me how much our team needs that, but also how much I need a settling horns set in my own life! Continue reading