I wrote last week about the Pacers new pack-line defense under coaches Jim O'Brien and Dick Harter. It has been a WIP for the Pacers and one of the major reasons why the Pacers rank well in opponent FG% (fifth) but last in opponent FTA is because they don't take enough charge. NBA referees like calling the charge, in fact the rules needed to be changed to include that semi-circle underneath the hoop so that the league could limit the amount of charges called (to speed up the game and increase scoring as well).

Aside from defensive philosophy, taking charges is extremely important in stopping dribble penetration. In order to effectively defend teams that play dribble drive motion, or other aggressive attacking offenses, you must step up and take charges. 1v1, you won't be able to stop the other team, because the point of a dribble drive is to find the weakest defender and attack them 1v1. You can't just provide help defense against hard dribble penetration, I believe you have to take the charge to be successful. Yes, you may get some blocks called, but you will get some charges as well. A charge is perhaps the most underrated play because not only does it result in a change of possession, but it results in a personal and team foul. In this video, Jermaine O'Neal steps up in their pack-style defense and takes a hard charge from Josh Childress of the Hawks,

Three-Man Take the Charge Drill:

A lot of coaches probably use this drill but I'm going to go through it just in case you don't because it really is a good one.

You need 3 men, and 1 ball. The ball starts with O1 up top, passes to O2 on the wing, does a V-cut to the basket and gets the ball back in the middle of the key. O1 dribbles hard at the basket.

O3 steps up and gets into the proper position with feet set underneath. Contact is made with O1 and O3 should do a shoulder roll to the ground (never with the neck or head). Also teach your players to make a grunt or umph sound for effect.

The Pacers did win the game, and it looks like their defense has really made strides. Their offense has slowed and it appears that they are fast-breaking less. The key stat to watch for the Pacers as the season progresses is whether they can lower the number of opponent FTA, currently at a league high 31.5 FTA.

A great DVD that breaks down the M2M fundamentals is Tom Izzo's Rebounding and Defensive Drills DVD. Tom Izzo is the head coach of the Michigan State Spartans. Head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to get all of your hoops fill.