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How to Take Your Team to the Next Level

Are you looking for ways to make your team better? With a few simple drills, you can make it happen for your team. In this article, Golden State Warriors Assistant Coach Ron Adams is going to take you there by giving drills and pointers to use in practice.

Adams has been an assistant coach in the NBA for 26 years. Long ago, he started with the San Antonio Spurs, but has now been with the reigning NBA champs since 2014. For the Warriors, he is the chief defensive strategist, but for the league he is the top assistant coach.

The coaches and players who work with Adams on a daily basis refer to him as a teacher. And in this article he is going to teach you the basics of transition defense and the best cutting drills to improve your team’s game.

Cutting Drills

Here are three cutting drills you can use in a game to penalize defenses...

Drill #1

Starting Positions

    • 4 players on the perimeter
      • Player 1: Point at Top of the Key
      • Player 2: Right Wing
      • Player 3: Left Wing
      • Player 4: Left Corner
Starting Positions


Actions

    • Player 1 drives directly to Player 2 who back cuts and relocates to opposite corner
    • As this happens, Player 3 and Player 4 are rotating up to fill open spots
    • Player 1 passes the ball to Player 3 at the top of the key
    • Player 3 swings the ball and starts dribbling at Player 4 who back cuts then posts up on the low block
    • Player 3 continues towards the corner and dribble handoffs to Player 2
    • After the handoff, Player 3 relocates to the corner
    • Player 2 comes off the handoff penetrating to the goal then kicks out to Player 1 who has relocated to the corner for a shot
    • After passing, Player 2 cuts back out to the perimeter

Passes from Coaches

    • Coach passes to Player 2 who cut back out to the perimeter
    • Coach passes to Player 4 posting up on the low block
    • Coach passes to Player 3 in the corner

Drill #2

Starting Positions

    • 4 players on the perimeter
      • Player 1: Point at Top of the Key
      • Player 2: Right Wing
      • Player 3: Left Wing
      • Player 4: Left Corner
Starting Positions


Actions

    • Player 1 drives directly to Player 2 who back cuts and relocates to opposite corner
    • As this happens, Player 3 and Player 4 are rotating up to fill open spots
    • Player 1 passes the ball to Player 3 at the top of the key
    • Player 3 swings the ball and starts dribbling at Player 4 who back cuts then posts up on the low block
    • Player 3 continues towards the corner and dribble handoffs to Player 2
    • After the handoff, Player 3 relocates to the corner
    • Player 2 comes off the handoff and takes a few dribbles then passes to Player 4 in the post
    • After passing to the post, Player 2 goes to screen for Player 3 in the corner
    • Player 2 screens the cuts to the basket and Player 4 passes the ball for a lay-up
    • Player 3 comes off the screen to the wing spot
    • As all these actions are happening, Player 1 relocates to the opposite corner

Passes from Coaches

    • Coach passes to Player 3 on the wing
    • Coach passes to Player 4 posting up on the low block
    • Coach passes to Player 1 in the corner

Drill #3

Starting Positions

    • 4 players on the perimeter
      • Player 1: Point at Top of the Key
      • Player 2: Right Elbow
      • Player 3: Left Wing
      • Player 4: Left Corner
Starting Positions


Actions

    • Player 2 steps up and sets a ball screen for Player 1
    • As Player 1 comes off the ball screen, Player 2 rolls to the basket
    • Player 1 passes the ball into Player 2 in the paint
    • Because of defense, Player 2 kicks the ball out to Player 4 in the opposite corner
    • Player 4 makes a quick pass to Player 3 on the wing
    • As this happens, Player 2 follows the ball and is now posted up on ball side low block
    • Player 3 passes the ball to Player 2 in the post
    • After passing, Player 3 goes to set a screen for Player 4 in the corner
    • After screening, Player 3 cuts to the basket and catches a pass from Player 2 for a lay-up

Passes from Coaches

    • Coach passes to Player 2 in ball-side corner
    • Coach passes to Player 4 on the wing
    • Coach passes to Player 1 in the opposite corner

Defensive Transition

Be ready to stop the offense with these defensive transition tips...

    1. Defensive transition starts on the rise of the shot. When a player rises to shoot the ball is when your defense should start heading to the other end of the court.
    2. As the ball is shot, 3 players should be getting back on defense. Ideally, your defenders getting back are your guards, but there are times when it may be one of your bigger players.
    3. Turn and sprint back on defense keeping your eye on the ball. Instead of trying to backpedal to the other end, it’s quicker and more effective to turn and sprint. The entire time you’re sprinting you have to know where the ball is on the court.
    4. Players who get back on defense first must protect the paint. The first ones back have to protect the paint first and foremost. Once the other defenders have recovered and are in position, the players can then leave the paint to guard their offensive player.
    5. If you’re behind the ball in transition then look to tip it away from the ball handler. The ball handler will not have eyes in the back of their head. The defense should try to take advantage of this when they are sprinting back and try to get the ball loose for a turnover.

An easy way to remember these 5 tips are: PAINT, PROBLEM, MAN

    • PAINT: You have to protect the paint.
    • PROBLEM: Stop the problem.
    • MAN: Then think about finding your man.

Drill #1


Starting Positions

    • 4 offensive players and 4 defensive players lined up across the free throw line

Actions

    • Coach passes the basketball to an offensive player
    • The defender guarding this offensive player has to go touch the baseline
    • As soon as the offense catches the ball, they take off to attack the other end
    • As soon as the offense catches the ball, the defense sprints back to get in position to defend.
    • The defense is going to be trying to defend a player short until the player touching the baseline recovers.
    • The offense is going to be trying to take advantage of their extra person and try to score the ball.
    • If offense misses their shot attempt or turns the ball over then it's still live and you play it to the other end.
Mar 01, 2019 Coach Chris

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