All Forums > Hoops Dynasty Basketball > Critical News > Compendium of HD Offenses
12/27/2007 7:10 PM
I am putting together an explanation from a real life X & O perspectice of how exactly each offense in HD works, what the actual breakdown of the offensive options are, and how it applies to HD.
Feel free to sitemail me with any questions or meaningful additions, I will be more than happy to amend it or include additional information.
Remember: I do not claim to be a WIS expert. I have no national championships, and one final four to my name as a WIS coach. I do have experience in college basketball, and am trying to shed some light on to how I see the real offense translating to WIS. Obviously do what works for you.
General Thoughts:
When evaluating an offense, you have to weigh the possibility of the offense against the difficulty of the offense. Essentially, the number of options vs. the number of reads.

This would make motion and flex the polar opposite offense.

Motion has unlimited options, but also unlimited reads...almost anything can happen and it is pretty much correct. But this is why great motion teams usually are senior lead. When teams get great at motion, they are very difficult to defend, but until then, it is not an easy offense to run.

Flex however has limited options, but also limited reads. It is a very easy offense to run, but also very easy to defend, because without improvisation, it is not an extremly difficult offense to defenend.



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12/27/2007 7:10 PM
Flex:
Theory: In flex, there are limited reads (I will get into that in a minute)...which is supposed to make it simple for players with a relatively low bb IQ. Now that being said, if you ever go to a junior high game, 75% of the man to man offense is flex. It in theory, does not require a great post presence (though Maryland with Baxter and Wilcox proved that it can be run with great post players), and does not require the best ball handlers. However, it requires athletic guards who can shoot, though shooting is more important than athleticism, if your players are willing to set a good screen. Passing is also a must have since there are a lot of longer passes, where while the reads are simple, they can sometimes be trouble spots.

The set up:

5 runs to the block, 2 to the near corner, 4 to the far corner, 1 with the ball dribbles to the high wing, with 3 on the opposite wing.

The offensive action:

There is a pass from the 1 to 3, which signals the "flex action" Flex action is as follows: There is a back screen from the block to the corner (known as a flex screen). Basically, the 5 screens for the 2, the 2 cuts over the top hard to the opposite block for a quick post or to receive a pass. The 1 who just passed the ball to the 3, sets a down screen for the 5 man, who just screened for the 2. Now, we have the same set up on the opposite side. The 3 & 5 are at the top, the baseline (corner, post, corner) is 4, 2, 1. The pass is made back accross, the 2 sets the flex screen for the 4, then the 3 down screens for the 2.

This actions continues non stop. It is very basic, yet very effective action if the players execute well. Now you might ask, what are the options we are looking for.

1)The quick cut. Obviously, if a screen is set well, there will be seperation between the cutter and the defender. If he is open, the passer must hit him. This is the most basic option, and the option completed most often.

2)The screen the screener curl: The passer can choose to throw back to the cutter who would most likely curl off the downscreen for a 3 or a long 2. Now, if the defender goes under the screen (to the inside), the cutter might flare the cut out further away, to increase the separation between the defender being screened and the potential shooter. However, the idea is to hit the cutter off of the down screen for the jumpshot.

3)The screener pop: The player setting the downscreen must then go to the opposite corner...often times, if the screener's defender helps on the downscreen, there is often space for the screener to slip the screen (meaning purposely leave before the screen is executed because it will surprise the defense), or pop out quick. Basically, the pop happens because of the man to man principles of jumping to the ball. (Meaning the defenders are a couple of steps to the ball side, in support of the possible drive)

4)Post up: While posting isn't a primary option of the flex in theory, there is always the possibility of a mismatch, or a solid seal (the post player has his defender securely on his back, in good post position, allowing for a safe entry into the post). Then the post man would have the opportunity at a scoring attempt, or if the defense sags, there is great spacing for a kick out attempt. With good ball movement, there should be an opportunity at the 3.

5)Penetrate (Isolation also follows in this category) Note: I am not talking about improv and create penetration, but a designed mismatch: Normally, we think of penetrating and isolation in two ways: 1-4 low (where the ball handler who can create his own shot is at the top of the key, and all his teamates are spaced along the baseline to give him room to create) or the 5 out isolation (often seen in the NBA). With respect to flex, The University of Tennessee runs the penetrate and isolation part of the flex about as well as anyone. Basically, instead of running a 1-4 low, they run a 2-3 set, where the 3 on the bottom run the flex screening action, and essentially try to lull the defense to sleep and get a good post or pop action, while the 2 at the top (currently All-American candidate Chris Lofton) and whoever the other is essentially throw the ball back and forth and attempt to create their own shot. While this is happening, they must also see what is going on along the baseline for any scoring opportunities. Tennessee does not run pure flex, because they rarely set the downscreen, though they will do it at times, as part of their offense. However, for what they are trying to do, it works very well.



Part 1: The guard to guard pass and the flex cut. (In flex, the numbers are interchangeable, usually only the 5 matters...I am of the belief that the odd number guards should start up top, but in transition, it usually wouldn't matter)
Part 2: Hit the cutter, or the curl off the downscreen.
If you search flex, you will find a lot of other plays and variations. Every coach runs it a a little differently, so it isn't too predicatable. Feel free to discuss anything you might find. I just wanted to show a visual of what I described before.
Meaning for WIS:
First of all, it is important that all 5 of your players have speed, and all 5 can pass. While it is not as important, if you have one or two Post players with LP ability, it can be used, though it is not as necessary. However, your guards must have PE ratings. While if your guys have enough Speed, Athleticism, and Ball Handling, they will be able to create, it is still important to be able to shoot.
If you are starting with a team, and want to evaluate who your best players are, or to see the effect, I would start by giving everyone the same distribution, and then adjust based off of efficiency. However, I watched a game where Claflin played, and Claflin (who is very well coached by the way) ran primarily flex, where one player was clearly their best. They ran flex, and ran it, and ran it until they could get this one player coming off of a screen and open, and he must have taken 25 shots in a college game. That being said, if you have a dominant player or two dominant players, feel free to give them a disproprtionate amount of distribution, and as long as you don't select uptempo, they should run the offense until one of your high distribution players gets a good look. That would sort of be the same as what Tennessee does.
12/27/2007 7:11 PM
Triangle:
Theory:

From a philisophical standpoint, and if you want to see it executed, watch most NBA games, though the Lakers are known for it. The idea of the offense is to create great spacing not by great athleticism or screening, but by having a low post threat, and shooters which means that if you don't help on the low block, you will get hurt in post scoring, but if you help, a good post passer will find open shooters who can really fill it up from outside.

Further, there is always the option for a pass to the weak side wing, and because there has not yet been enough time for the cuts to be made, the weak wing can catch and drive essentially to open shooters, or drop for the post player.

In the NBA, the triangle is usually a dominant low post scorer, a dominant guard, and a secondary guard who is still very good. Look at the Bulls during their reign...they had Jordan and Pippen, then one of their white shooters spaced away, they had a serviceable post who could score like Horace Grant, and then they had a stiff white guy who could knock down the 15 footer. Understand that in the NBA LA and Miami are probably the two best examples of the triangle offense, but almost every team runs some sort of triangle principles.
Set Up:
5 to the low block, 3 to the strong side wing, 1 high slightly to the block side, 2 off side wing, and 4 is at the opposite high post, usually just off of the elbow.
Basic Action:
Step 1:
1 passes to the 3, then cuts to the near corner. There is then the initial triangle set. The initial option is for the low post man to get good position, and then seal. (get his defender on his back and create a good post passing angle) The ball can either be directly entered from the 3, or the 3 can pass to the 1 and the ball can be entered in from the corner.
Note: If the ball can not be entered because of backside help, and the post being denied, the post should try to seal his man high, the 4 should pop to the top of the key, and ball should be swung around the perimeter, and attempt to have the 5 release his seal and catch a quick post entry to finish.
Step 2: Once the post is entered, the passer needs to cut through to the opposite side wing position. The cutter can cut off of the 4 in hopes of a quick pass option. The cut's purpose is to prevent a possible double down in the post. Upon the cut, the other players on the perimeter need to fill into stronger post positions. The post is first trying to score, but if he can not, he needs to pass the ball back out to the perimeter.
Sometimes, the opposite post at the elbow will fill to the top of the key, allowing a dive angle for the opposite guard, and allowing the opposite post to have an open shooting position (Basically, every famous Robert Horry shot). The passer cuts past the post to prevent a double down in the post...if the defense would double off the passer, the passer would be wide open on the basket cut. There is the possibility of the 4 man cutting to the high post for a possible high low, while this is done in only certain instances because it does run the risk hurting spacing, or the 4 can set a flare screen for the weakside guard and essentially creating weakside action, and possibility of a skip pass to the guard, of hitting the screener.
Step 3: If the ball is passed back to the perimeter, the ball needs to be reversed to the opposite side of the floor. The 4 would dive down to the block (some coach's might have the 4 screen for the 5, to keep the 5 on the low block, but for the sake of argument, lets assume) and the 5 would cut to the high post. When the ball is then reversed to what was previously the weak wing position, the corner man would cut along the baseline to the opposite corner, creating the same formation, on the opposite side of the floor, creating either a 4-2-1 triangle, or a 4-3-1 triangle, (In triangle, you denote the triangle positions by post-wing-corner...so in a 5-3-1, the 5 would be on the low block, the 3 on the wing, and the 1 in the corner) with the 5 in the opposite high post, the the other perimeter player in the weak wing spot.
Meaning for WIS:

You need at least one post player with high LP. A key part of the triangle is a low post player, and one of the more consistant scoring options. It would help agreat deal if he is a good passer as well, though if you are a lower level school, I would go for LP first. PE for wings is very necessary since it is an offense where because of the inherent spacing of the offense, there are shooting opportunities.

I believe that speed is more imporant that athleticism (you will need both on D, so don't ignore either), but heres why. I have always defined speed as one dimensional movement (a straight line) and athleticism as the ease of three dimensional movement (explosiveness, going around people, creating). Because there is inherent spacing, It is not as difficult to create, simply catch & drive. Athleticism boosts Speed, but I think Speed is far more necessary, since many of the plays in triangle are simple basketball plays.

Your choice of tempo will work either way depending on how skilled you are and how deep you are. My belief is that the game is not going to take terrible shots simply because you speed up the tempo. You may not get as good of a shot as you would simply because you are asking for more possessions, but just because it is uptempo doesn't make it bad. That being said, as would seem intelligent, play the tempo you feel is right for you.

Basically, the triangle is usually determined by 1 post player being very good, and 2 perimeter players no matter the number being good. Personnally, I usually set my PG dist to 1 is because in recruiting, I have found that my best impact pg I have been able to get have a high ath/spd/def, but a near 0 PE, which of course sounds backwards, but if they have the other 2 parts, they can usually drive and kick. If they have high BH & Pass, not to mention the athleticism and speed, they will generally get easy baskets. They won't be jacking up jumpers, but will get some good looks.

In theory, your triangle should be a point guard, a 3 man who can drive and shoot, and a 5 who can really score, and spaced away you have a 2 who can catch & shoot, and 4 who can either dive, post opposite if the pass into the 5 is denied (they would swing the ball around the perimeter until they could enter it into the 4, and then the guards would fill).
I would suppose that as long as one gives at least 3 players within 20% of the distribution of one another, and probably 75% of the overall distribution among those 3 (on the floor at one time...though it could be heavier), the triangle will work. Now, I frankly wouldn't see the problem with giving all 5 players equal distribution if your players were good enough. That would be the best way, because it would make your team the toughest to guard. However, we must opperate under the assumption that you can't recruit 8 studs at one time compared to your competition. Thus, you have to focus your efforts on your 3 or 4 best players, and maybe 1 or 2 key subs.

Basically, the triangle, like motion, flex, the swing etc is a continuity offense. It relies on its own principles to continue running the offense. It is not a set play, but merely a series of cuts and reads which is made.
12/27/2007 7:11 PM
Motion:
Theory: In its inception, the motion offense is designed by using an determined group of cuts and screens to allow not only solid offensive opportunities, but make it unpredicatable to the defense. Unlike flex, triangle, and a variety of other offenses, the set up of motion is determined on a team to team basis. Further, the purpose of the motion is also determined in the same way. It can range anywhere from Dick Bennett's "Mover-Blocker" offense which is a 3 out-2 in, superslowdown offense where the 2 big men do nothing but screen, mostly away from the ball so that the perimeter players can use those screens to their advantage, and the posts can slip and quick post randomly, to the (University of) Memphis "Dribble-Drive" offense, which uses a 4 out-1 in set, where 4 perimeter players using good spacing largely dribble penetrate attempting to use great spacing a superior athleticism to create scoring opportunities. In this offense the post usually plays opposite the ball, and is welcome to set both random ball screens and iso ball screens. The difference between the two is a random ball screen, like its stated is very random and is usually performed on a balanced floor, wheras an isolation ball screen is performed where the non-ball side of the floor is overloaded, and the ball handler can either use the ball screen and penetrate, or refuse the ball screen and use it as an isolation opportunity. The Memphis offense, due to its superior athleticsm is usually ran at an extreme uptempo.

To go into every type of motion would be futile, because every coach does something different. Bobby Knight's principles are not nearly the same as Billy Donovan's ball screen weave motion. As a general rule, you want all your perimeter players to be adept as handlers, passers, and shooters, and you would prefer to have at last one scoring big man. It helps if both can pass. It is very difficult to break down any specific options because it varies from team to team. As a general rule, motion is usually run from either a 3 out-2 in set, a 4 out-1 in set, or a 5-out set. Most motions are ran with the majority of the screens off the ball. However, like in both Memphis and Florida's case, they use a healthy dose of ball screens.
Application for WIS:
Here is what I would suggest to run these motion formations:
3 Out, 2 in: For allignment set, I would usually have 3 (any combination of PG, SG, SF), and 2 Posts (PF,C). I would generally give a larger distribution to 3 guys. In motion, you need to balance it out as much as possible. However, a post who can defend, rebound, and pass...even if he can't score, is very usable. He would hypothetically be a screener, rebounder, and one of my best players at Colorado College in D3 never had a distribution above 2 (most of my starters were in the 7-15 range). He had a great athletic ability, and great rebounding ability. He got a top of put backs, and dunks. Hypothetically, those are off slips.
4 out, 1 in:
I would have a PG, SG, SG, SF, C allignment.
The center must have good distribution to ensure that he will get post up opportunities. In this case, you must be very good all around the board skill wise. Since there will hypothetically be driving opportunities, athleticisim and speed help as well.
5 Out:
I would have a PG, SG, SG, SF, PF alignment, whereas the PF must have very high PE, or very good perimeter skills. I think this is very difficult to run, because of the 2 position penalty imposed on players in WIS. Realisitically, the offense would probably have 3 SG and a SF, and you would play very uptempo defensively.
However, all skill rules still apply.
I know this is very vague, but it is the nature of motion. It is vague to explain in this sort of detail, because it is a very broad subject.
12/27/2007 7:11 PM
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12/27/2007 11:11 PM
hey coach, ages ago when the system we were running was some kind of version of the flex, I was a 3 and a big part of the scheme was me running "v cuts" out to the foul line extended and then down to near the baseline.....got darn tiring running those, even in practice.....is that some other variant of the flex?
12/28/2007 12:32 AM
On the triangle there is also weakside action going on as well. The post not involved in the triangle is either setting a screen for the opposite wing to get an open look at a three or cutting to the high post to go high low with the post in the triangle.
12/28/2007 12:40 AM
Quote: Originally Posted By metsmax on 12/28/2007
hey coach, ages ago when the system we were running was some kind of version of the flex, I was a 3 and a big part of the scheme was me running "v cuts" out to the foul line extended and then down to near the baseline.....got darn tiring running those, even in practice.....is that some other variant of the flex?
The short answer is the flex is based off of principles and variety of cuts which is based around the flex screen followed by the down screen. Many coaches, to keep the defense occupied both on the strong side and weak side, will have players randomly cut and screen to empty areas, simply to keep some level of activity.

One thing that especially happens when teams run flex against the zone, is the cutter will accept the screen, and then cut to the high post before cutting to the low post. It is most likely a variation.
1/2/2008 10:59 AM
ahausla, great and useful post. Keep it up.
1/2/2008 11:11 AM
Quote: Originally Posted By roguedog on 1/02/2008ahausla, great and useful post. Keep it up
Ill try...if I ever get some time, I'll put some other common offenses in the post that aren't HD offenses, in hopes that someday...we may have additional options...though I am very happy with the game as is.
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