I'm a big fan of motion offense, so it's no surprise that I enjoy watching the Utah Jazz play as they are one of the few (maybe only) teams that run a motion-styled offense in the NBA. They run a lot of basket cuts and backdoor cuts and all of their players are accomplished passers. It's a great way to play the game because it's a very difficult kind of offense to prepare for. Here are just a couple of sequences during the 3rd quarter of their win over the Mavs tonight,

In the first clip, you'll see Deron Williams, then Mehmet Okur just do basket cuts one after another. Then they clear out to the perimeter and allow Ronnie Brewer to drive to the net.

In the second clip, it's just a 3-man game with Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer and Deron Williams that results in a give and go backdoor basket cut by Williams for the easy layup,

As you can see from the picture above, the reason why the backdoor cut is so reliable and never fails is because the natural position for the defense against a moving player is to turn your back to the ball and face your check. By doing so, the offense has the advantage of making a quick move to the basket and receiving a pass for an easy layup. It only takes a brief second of a defensive lapse for the offense to take advantage.


I know most teams, especially NBA teams, don't have the patience to run a Princeton motion type offense, but I'm convinced that it really is the most team-oriented way to play. I don't think it's possible to over-value the backdoor cut, even against teams that prepare for it, it will still be effective due to natural defensive tendencies that cannot be changed overnight.

There are plenty of notes on motion offense principles but I would highly recommend taking a look at coach John Carrier's notes, he does a great job breaking down the many options out of a 4-out 1-in, he's a guru of the offense. You can find them in the downloads section. For video instruction, one video worth taking a look at for sure is Jay Wright's DVD on Breakdown Drills for the 4-out Motion Offense.