I watched a pretty good game last night between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Detroit Pistons in Detroit. I was disappointed to not be able to watch Lebron who sat this game out, but I was impressed with both teams. They both look primed for a major run again in the East this coming season and give Boston a run for their money.

I took this clip from the first quarter because I just admire the simplicity. Here, the Cavs play a little 2 man game. Mo Williams and Zydrunas Ilgauskas run a PNR, but they're patient. Z rescreens, the defense gets temporarily discombobulated, and Z pops out for the open jumper which he knocks down,

Initial PNR:

It's just a straight up PNR. Mo is handling the ball up top, Z comes and screens an area. Mo guides his defender into the screen. Billups goes underneath because as the announcer says, he's worried primarily about the drive,

I would've been alright with Mo just shooting it here, because he is actually open. But I guess Mo isn't 100% confident in his shot. So no worries, have patience,


Sometimes young players don't know what to do when a play doesn't quite work out the way they want. Just go with the flow, if it doesn't work the first time, just run it again. Here, Z just rescreens this time from the other side,

Wallace gets sucked into trying to help Billups on defending the dribble drive threat of Mo. Z pops to the high right elbow and Mo hits him with a perfect catch and shoot pass,


Basketball is supposed to be simple. I always try to remind myself of that when I'm coaching or practicing with players. It's like when I used to coach football, I was mostly a defensive coordinator but when I was the head JV coach one year and ran the offense, I started out with this elaborate offense. I chose to run the split-back veer and planned out a bunch of different counters, reverses, double-reverses incorporating some zone blocking elements throughout. We began the season 0-4. We were a very talented team and obviously there was some head-scratching going on. After practice one day I asked our quarterback/captain why he thought our split-back veer offense was doing so badly, he responded by saying, "What is a veer?" At that point, I realized what the problem was. The kids weren't the problem, I was the problem. Too complex, too much jargon, too many options. Keep it simple stupid. I threw out the playbook, drew up 4 quick running plays out of the I-formation, the fb dive, off-tackle, sweep, and reverse. On passes which were less than 30% of the time, the split-end who was the fastest+tallest kid on the team ran a fade route. We ended up 8-5 and went to the playoffs where we lost in the Championship game. So I guess the lesson is, keep it simple stupid.

One of the best and simplest PNR offenses I've seen is Billy Donovan's Spread PNR Offense. It's designed to be a transition style offense using a flat screen, it's a very fast and flowing offense. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to talk hoops with other coaches.