It was a long day for me today as we wind down for the Christmas break and so I didn't get to watch a lot of action tonight. I caught the end of the half of the Cavs game against the Lakers and the Cavs ran this 1-4 spread isolation play that I thought would be good to show. With the attention that Duke is getting with their spread offense, and the dribble drive stuff that Memphis uses to go along with NBA teams like the Suns and Warriors, these kinds of iso plays are certainly showing up in more and more playbooks that's for sure. Though it would seem that there is a lot of standing around by the off-ball players, I like the offense because it spreads the defense and allows great penetrating players like a Lebron to attack the gaps. In fact, Lamar Odom talked about it in his half-time interview with Cheryl Miller about getting spread out and then LeBron attacking the net, he said they needed to adjust by packing it in and forcing LeBron to be a jump shooter. Watch the video and read my thoughts below,

1-4 Low, Spread PNR:

It's a 1-4 low set to start. This automatically means that the defenders must be aware of their checks below them. The 1-4 low set is a great set to use in 1-on-1 situations because it forces the defense to spread low. You can bring a forward to come and ball-screen and then your primary scorer can attack the basket. Because the other offensive players are playing low, it makes it very easy for the driver to find the open man underneath when the defense helps, which they always do.

I thought the Lakers tried to defend it as best they could. You have to come help because it's LeBron, if you don't he dunks it on you. We played a team last year with a kid that averaged 30+ ppg, they ran a lot of wing iso's and it was similar, if you didn't help, he would dunk it on you.

By spreading the defense, you will create large gaps where your great slashing guards or forwards can attack. By attacking the gaps, you create open shots or layups underneath. In this modern age of basketball where every little touch is called a foul, dribble penetration is king. The key though, is that you have to have quick guards that can drive and attack the rim, and shooters that can hit outside shots.

For some info on your players can improve their 1-on-1 perimeter skills, check out Phil Martelli's DVD on becoming a better 1-on-1 player. It has a lot of great drills you can use to help develop those slashing skills that these offenses require. To discuss this and other basketball coaching topics, head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum.