Watching some NBA games yesterday, caught part of the second half between the Miami Heat and the Atlanta Hawks. We know the Hawks are doing decent following their playoffs from last year. But the Miami Heat have really improved as well, most of it being due to Dwyane Wade being healthy.

I highlighted this specific play not necessarily because it's any better of a play than any other offensive play, but I just thought it showed that if players execute the fundamentals correctly, like setting up your cuts, setting good screens, and using them, any play can work well.

Box Stagger for Corner 3-pointer:

Very basic set play for the corner-wing 3-pointer. Ball at the top of the key, O5 sets a fake screen for O2 to make it look like O2 will pop out to the same side wing. O2 v-cuts and goes baseline instead. O4 and O3 set stagger area screens,

X2 gets stuck out of position from the initial v-cut and fake screen and so O2 has plenty of space to get to the corner-wing spot. O1 dribble relocates to make the shorter pass. The corner-wing positioning is important because if O2 comes all the way up to the wing, X3 probably can switch and cover in time,

Setup your Cuts:

The most important part that makes this play work is the way Daequan Cook sets up his cut. You have to sell the cut with misdirection and change of speed, to fake one way and go the other way. All the great players know how to use these details to gain their advantage,


It's why fundamentals are so much more important than what offensive sets you run. If your players don't understand the basics of basketball, the vernacular, why things work and others don't, your offense will never be any good. You can fake it with good athleticism or skill, but eventually that will catch up to you against good teams.

As for the Heat, I think they could be the Hawks of last year. They could sneak up on one of those big 3 in the East and make a run of it. They have the talent, just need the consistency. My gut feel though is that they're still 1 or 2 years away from being a contender though.

If you're looking for more on getting open and becoming a better scorer, take a look at the Five-star Basketball DVD on getting open and attacking. Coach Bergeron goes through all the basics of cutting as well as flashing to the post and dribble penetration. Head over to the X's and O's Basketball forum to discuss this and many more of your favorite basketball topics.