All great offense starts with great defense. It's why we run all those transition drills from defense to fast break. It's also why your forwards need to take them seriously and your guards need to reward the big men for running hard. Now the flip side, transition defense is also critical. You make a mistake, make sure you hustle back on defense, but collectively, your transition defense has to work as a unit to always protect the basket.

From yesterday's preseason action between the San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets. On the bad post-entry pass into Yao Ming, Fabricio Oberto pokes the ball loose, runs the floor, and is rewarded with a nice lay in, Yao Ming is late on the take, and his teammates are nowhere to be found to protect the basket, take a look,

Good Defense:

Most fast breaks come off of good defense, either defensive rebounding or forcing turnovers. In this case, Oberto takes advantage of a wayward post-entry pass, poking it away. He does a great job starting the break as well pushing it up the floor, then trailing the play,

Find the Trailer:

On the break, you'll be surprised that its the trailer that is usually the most open. Most teams on a M2M defensive transition will have their lead guard and 2 other defenders pickup the ball and the next 2 players. Which means they probably won't be immediately open. The trailer however, if he beats his man down the floor will almost always be open,

It's tough to say if the Rockets should've done more. Obviously, Yao should've hustled back, but I think his teammates should have done a better job picking up Oberto until Yao got back to bump them back into position.


Ultimately, this all comes down to hustle. Those who hustle will get rewarded. That's why in practice it's important to simulate and make sure guys are playing they do in games. That way, you'll know and can rely on guys in games who you know will hustle. It's that old adage, you play how you practice.

For more early offense and fast break video info, check out Tom Izzo's new DVD on the Numbered Fast Break. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to talk hoops with other coaches.