Featured Clinic Series – Concepts in Cutting

Posted on Dec 15 2020

The November/December period has been a busy one for coach development nationally, with the a host of the state and territory associations conducting clinics, courses and development opportunities for coaches of all levels of the sport. This ongoing commitment to supporting and developing coaches is credit to the states and territories, as well as many local associations who continue to invest in supporting their coaches.

Over the summer months, Basketball Australia will share notes and video from some of the “Featured Clinic Series”  and would like to thank all the people who not only made these clinics possible, but were willing to share the resources for coaches nationally.

This first set of notes is from a clinic conducted in Cairns, with support from Cairns Basketball Incorporated and Basketball Queensland. Presented by Basketball Australia Director of High Performance Coaching Peter Lonergan, the clinic focuses on cutting.

Introduction – 

  • The increase prevalence of ball screens and hand-offs in modern offence has come at the expense of cutting
  • The ball screen is AN offensive element, not THE solution
  • Teach young players cutting prior to screening

Spacing & alignment –

  • Game has morphed from the “high and wide” alignment to “high, wide and deep” – use of corners key element for spacing
  • Early offence – effective lane running, create width and space on the break to flow into half-court spacing
  • On the kick ahead –
    • Base-line drive to lay-up/floor spots
    • Middle flow penetration to force early rotation
    • Big at the front of the rim, step weak-side “low box” to “open the basket and stretch the defence (heels on base-line)

Define the geography of the floor –

  • Have clear language and be consistent with that language
    • Corner
    • Bend
    • “High out”
    • Nail
    • Block
    • Low box

Establishing space early –

  • 6-seconds corner fill for wings if no kick-ahead
  • Bounce back to the “bend” for entry pass – more realistic
  • If can’t get to the corner, present at the “high out” to start the possession high and wide
  • “Widen the wedge” in the seams to create space
  • Running post – stretch to “low box” opposite to force low help to make a decision – impacts vision for the split-line by positioning behind

Think cut, not always screen –

  • As many cuts “at the front of the rim” as possible – basket cuts, back cuts
  • Cutting is as much about creating space for others
  • Initiate movement through “sacrificial cuts” – back cut to create space and rotation
  • Use of the “45-cut” – pressure the defenders at low and high “I”
  • Weak-side cuts in the ball screen setting – engage the “nail” defender
  • Use of “dribble ats” into the back cut

Cutting in the “drags”/”shakes” early ball screen setting –

  • Tendency for young players to “stand and space” opposite the pick and roll
  • With the prevalence of switching, weak-side screening opposite the ball screen not always effective at the youth level in shifting the split-line defenders
  • “Cut the head” of the high split-line defender – force them to make a decision
  • Rather than exchange weak-side – “cut and lift”, impact helping defenders and create space behind
  • On a “loaded-side”, cut the middle player to create space

Acknowledgements –

Basketball Australia would like to thank and acknowledge the following people for their assistance and support of this clinic –

  • Lennon Smartt – Cairns Basketball
  • Nat Beecroft – Cairns Basketball
  • Basketball Queensland

Our next feature clinic will be notes from Melbourne Boomers WNBL mentor Guy Molloy, presenting on concepts in the ball screen.

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