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How to coach and teach the equal opportunity basketball offensive swing plays (Part 2)

On this option it is extremely important that the strong-side forward (4) go to a position behind post-player (5), foregoing his cut to the basket. Otherwise, there will be two offensive players cutting into the same spot at the same time. Make it a rule that the forwards are not to cut to the basket unless the weak-side guard goes outside the weak-side forward and continues to the baseline.

No pattern offense will be successful if made up of set-plays that must be re-set each time you fail to score. Instead, each play must be part of a general flowing pattern consisting of several plays, each evolving from any other.

As I previously stated that our Equal Opportunity Offense basic swing is a series of pre-planned reactions to man-to-man defensive moves. Many opportunities for high-percentage, close-in shots open up as we run one basic pattern I have used in teaching players to “read the defense” be sure you understand that earlier article before you even try to install this half-court basketball offense.

However, we cannot restrict ourselves to these opportunities alone.  In other words, we cannot isolate any particular series in our offense either from other patterns or from options off the same basic pattern. To do so, would result in a slow-down type of basketball which hurts me to watch. As you shall see, the Backdoor Trap pattern evolves smoothly from the “Opportunity Offense” and visa-versa, without any break in offensive action. The Backdoor Trap Pattern is as follows:

Backdoor trap basketball pattern play right sideBackdoor trap basketball pattern play left side

Backdoor Trap Basic Pattern

The success of this play in the backdoor series depends on the success of Forward #4 setting up his man for a pick by the Pivot #5. Teach your players to walk their man back toward the Pivot before faking and cutting to the basket. Once the defensive man on #4 commits himself in response to the fake, the Forward breaks opposite that commitment. When the play runs perfectly, #4 is able to go baseline as illustrated the following diagram on the left. #4 makes the only change from the swing set-up.

The keying of the play is left to #1 who has the ball. If #1 passes to #3 and cuts around him to the baseline, the play is signaled. #4 must see #3 continue to the baseline before making his own move. Upon seeing this, #4 walks his man into #5, fakes up court then cuts shoulder to shoulder off #5 and take a quick pass under the basket from #3.

In the event #4's defender cannot be faked away from the baseline, #4 can elect to cut above #5 rather than baseline. You should always teach your players to react to the defensive moves and try to take advantage. No matter which direction the defender of #4 commits, he should be forced into a pick by #5, freeing #4.

Since no play can be run perfect every time, there is a possibility that #3 will not be able to make the feed pass into #4. In case of this happening, the players do not stop their movement, but continue in the positions shown in the next diagram. Study this diagram closely, if you wish to understand the flip-flopping motion of this continuous offense. Notice that #4 now occupies the pivot position on the opposite side while #3 becomes the strong Forward and #5 moves out to become the weak side Forward. #2 take the release pass from #3 and we are ready to run the same play from the other side. Meanwhile #1 is coming back outside, prepared to start the whole thing over again should the play miss the second time. It will take six complete shifts before all players are back in their original starting position.

Simple in operation, this continuous offense can be bewildering to the defense. I'll guarantee there will be a defensive mistake at some point during the cycle of six shifts. The aim of it all is to have one of your big men take advantages of that mistake.

You must emphasize that the guards, making the first pass, must cut all the way to the baseline. This prevents his defender from sagging on the feeder. You don't want the strong side clogged up by a sagging guard, especially if the situation calls for the Strong Side Forward to cut high instead of going baseline. For example, if #1 sees that #2's defender is sagging, then #1 should pass to #2 to bring that defender back out before the play begins. #2 should return the pass and the play continue as diagramed on the previous page.

I know from experience this basic play will score once or twice before the defenders sense what you are doing and a good team will adjust to stop any set pattern. Therefore, you need a few surprises and this pattern offers many. This pattern would be my choice of a total offense if I were coaching, today for the following reasons:

1. It's simple with a great deal of player and ball movement.
2. The shuffling of positions gives the appearance of a complex offense.
3. There are a variety of quick options that most players I have seen enjoy running.

Sometimes, as the basic pattern flip-flops from side to side, the weak side guard will notice the defense is beginning to overplay to the outside. This happens when the defender on the weak-side guard begins to sense the movement of the play and concludes that his man always cuts outside the weak-side forward after passing. Against such an overplay, the weak-side guard passes to the forward as before, but cuts quickly down the middle executing the give and go (#2 Play) down the middle for a quick return pass and a lay-up.

Many factors, such as the offensive talents, and instincts, of your players, and defensive positions of your opposition, determine what patterns will be used, or changed. Effective continuity of the opportunity offense is mainly the responsibility of the two guards. They have the best floor position from which to determine the defense and take advantage of any weaknesses.

First and second cutter opportunity play options

Used as a quick hitting attack, as the guards bring the ball across the centerline, the three other players get into position and the instant the ball is worked into the strong-side position, the weak-side forward keys the plays by cutting to the outer-half of free-throw circle as illustrated in the following diagrams.

Diagram 8 - First Cutter Options (last shot play). 

The weak-side forward (3) keys the play by cutting to a high post position, taking the entry pass from the strong-side guard (2). Usually the defender on the weak-side guard (1) will look at the ball and (1) executes a cut toward the basket, expecting a handoff from (3), or he curls around a double screen as (3) dribbles to his right, then passes to (1) for a shot over the shoulder-to-shoulder double screen set by (4) and (5).

This is an excellent play to execute in the closing seconds of the first half or at the end of a close game.


First cutter, second cutter, in basketball play diagram 8

First cutter, second cutter, in basketball play diagram 9

Diagram 9 - First Cutter Options (hand-off).

 This is the first option off the weak-side guard's first cutter play. (3) hands off to (1) who dribble drives to the basket.


Diagram 10 - Second Cutter (strong-side guard as second cutter.

 (3) fakes a hand-off to (1) as he cuts past, instead passing to (2) who follows (1) around the post. (2) dribble-drives to the basket.


First cutter, second cutter, in basketball play diagram 10

First cutter, second cutter, in basketball play diagram 11

Diagram 11 - Post keeps and drives.

(3) fakes a hand-off to (1), rolls and dribble drives to the basket.


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