I watched the first half of the Wizards game against the Bulls tonight. Both teams are pretty average, but being in the East the Wizards are in the playoff picture despite a losing record.

One of the things that the Wizards were doing for the whole first half was trapping all high ball screens. This is one of the more effective and safe ways to attack the PNR. Instead of sitting back and letting the other team shoot over the top, or turn the corner with a quick guard, you trap the ball-screen, rotate, and force a tough pass. Here are 2 sequences from the first half,

I watched a high school game earlier in the week and one team had decided to trap all ball-screens as the opposing team used a ball-screen every time to get into their offense. The traps were absolutely killing the opposing team and for the life of me I don't know why the coach did not switch their offense, they kept running the same high ball-screen and getting trapped, then turning the ball over for easy layups. I was so frustrated watching, I felt like calling a timeout, going over and telling the coach to stop running ball-screens, or fake the ball-screen and slip. Do something for pete's sake.

Anyways, end of my rant. Here is a screen shot of the Wizards executing this technique. This play actually works because Joakim Noah goes too far down after the PNR. He needs to setup between the FT line and 3-point line. Instead, Gordon has to make a long pass which is intercepted and Antonio Daniels finishes it for an and1,

Alot of teams run high screens to get into their offense. I think if run properly with good rotation, trapping the high ball screen can be very effective against teams that like to run spread PNR offenses.

If you want to learn more about trapping defenses, take a look at Jeff Lebo's DVD on half-court trapping techniques and doubling down. Coach Lebo is head coach at Auburn and provides a ton of great info on trapping and doubling. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to talk hoops with other coaches.